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Sweet Protection - Jailbreak Jacket

posted Sep 6, 2016, 12:41 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 12:42 AM ]
The Sweet Protection Jailbreak Jacket is a long-cut lightweight waterproof hard shell, that unlike the majority of the modern technical outdoor garments, is not designed for a specific activity. Go Out Project has always supported the idea that outdoor clothing, including the most technical one, must be versatile. Therefore, intrigued by the Norwegian all-purpose jacket we decided to test its true performances on our favorite testing lab: the outdoor!

Technical Description

The Jailbreak Jacket is a loose-fit, long-cut, 3-layer GORE-TEX® Active jacket not designed for a specific activity, but rather intended as a multi-purpose garment.

Features:
  • Articulated elbows
  • Adjustable, helmet-compatible hood
  • Water resistant YKK zips
  • Brushed chin flap
  • Asymmetric cuffs
  • Two side pockets laminated with ventilation mesh on the inside
Materials:
  • GORE-TEX® Active 
Weight: 370 g (Size L)

Our Test


We tested the Jailbreak Jacket for more than 5 months over spring and summer primarily for hiking and mountain biking. Our tests were conducted mostly during bad weather conditions (cloudy/rainy and windy with temperatures approximately between 5 and 15 ºC), mostly at high altitude on alpine trailsWe used the jacket in combination with a single baselayer (mid-/lightweight merino or synthetic) or with the addition of a fleece or another insulating layer (either down or synthetic jacket) at lower temperatures.

First Impressions

When you first wear it, the impression you have is that the Jailbreak is a lightweight, comfortable, and protective jacket! Overall, the jacket shows great care in the manufacture (as for the nicely hidden and taped seams) and a good choice of high-quality materials. However, as most hard shells the fabric is rather stiff, plastic-like to the touch, and quite "noisy"... a typical problem of most hard shells, that we dubbed the "cardboard-feeling"! 


Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • "Very light, but at the same time very protective! The cut is so long that even your bum stays dry and protected."
  • "I like the hood: it's very roomy, it fits nicely (even on a helmet) and it never bothers. The high collar and the large visor protect very well from wind and rain."
  • "The fabric is a bit stiff, but the jacket has a loose fit, which makes it quite comfortable and allows good freedom of movement."

Lightness & Packability

With about 370g the Jailbreak is definitely in the lower range of weight for a hard shell jacket. Its fabric is thin and light, but one has to consider that the very long cut adds some extra weight. It can be folded and packed into a relatively small volume (the size L that we had in test can be squeezed in approximately 1500 cm3=1.5L), which might not be the most impressive packing capability, but still make this jacket quite convenient whenever you want to have a protective hard shell handy in your backpack in case of sudden weather changes.

Cut, Fit & Design

The Jailbreak has a loose fit, which allow great freedom of movement. Underneath the jacket there is enough room to fit relatively thick insulation layers (we used it comfortably with a combination of a mid-weight base layer and a Primaloft insulation jacket). The jacket is very carefully designed: the articulated elbows guarantee good comfort and freedom of movement, so that the jacket
never bothers you or pulls when moving your arms
. The length of the jacket, which reaches down to cover your buttocks, is already sufficient to keep the body well sealed and protected from snow, rain, and wind almost down to your legs. The same is true around your wrists, thanks to the well fitting wrist cuffs.
 The size of the hood is large enough to let your head move almost completely freely also when wearing a helmet. The hood adjustment cords are easy to tighten and release, also when wearing gloves. While the central zipper works flawlessly, the two zippers on the side pockets do not slide very easily (a common problem of waterproof reverse coil zippers).

Comfort

The excellent shape of the articulated elbows and shoulders, the loose cut, and the well-fitting and roomy hood contribute to the overall comfort of the Jailbreak jacket. Its lightweight combined with the ergonomic fit make the Jailbreak very comfortable, despite the stiffness of its fabric. No chafing, no unwanted constraints, little bulk, and no annoying pulling anywhere. All the adjustment cords both on
the waist and on the hood, as well as the wrist cuffs, seal very well and no drafts penetrate anywhere.

Breathability

The level of breathability of the GORE-TEX® Active membrane may be a tad better than that of the GORE-TEX® Pro, but don't expect miracles! This is still a laminated jacket with a membrane. During activities of moderate intensity and, with a well chosen combination of base layer and insulation layer, moist condensation is tolerable. However, during the most intense activities, as soon as you start sweating, you will also notice you will need some extra ventilation. Fortunately, some relieve come from the ventilated side pockets.

Weather Protection
Hard Shells are designed to be the most protective garments against rain, wind, and snow. When you are out there exposed to the worst stormy conditions, your outer clothing layer should prevent water, snow and wind from penetrating inside.The GORE-TEX® Active membrane of the Jailbreak does this job perfectly: it doesn't let a
single droplet i
n and it provides a perfect shelter from wind. All the seams on the jacekt are wonderfully taped and the waist, the collar/hood, and the wrists can be nicely sealed. We especially appreciated this shelter under heavy rainfalls, but most of the time, especially high in the mountains, we find it a very comfortable and very effective shelter from wind.

Durability

The outer fabric is relatively thin. However, the most critical parts (elbows and shoulders) are protected by using a different fabric, more resistant to abrasion and tear. Another very important feature for durability is the careful protection of all the seams. No exposed seams means less chance of rubbing and wearing on the most critical spots. The DWR coating, which is generally the weakest feature on a hard shell, has resisted surprising well. We only noticed some weakening around the shoulders, where the backpack straps rub. Overall, the quality of the materials used is very good and this ensures a longer life of the jacket.


Versatility

The Jailbreak jacket has not been designed for a specific use.
However, it is a hard shell and, as any other hard shell, it is designed to provide high weather protection. It is, therefore, a garment destined to be used in bad weather conditions. If used with the proper combination of layering clothes, it can be used throughout the year. The limited breathability, however, limits its use to less intensive activities only. The long cut is nice in many situations, for example when mountain biking, since it protects your buttocks from wind, mud, and rain. Although we haven't had the chance to try it for skiing or snowboarding, because of its long cut and high level of protection from the elements, it can be very well-suited for those activities.

Our Verdict


The Jailbreak jacket is a hard shell: that is a garment you want to have handy in all those situations in which snow, rain, and wind leave no escape. Its most outstanding features are its lightweight and its comfy, long-cut design. Both the loose fit and the long cut contribute to provide a good level of comfort and good freedom of movement. The high quality of materials, coupled with the good design and
manufacture, contribute to the overall durability. If what you are looking for is a top-quality weather-protective shell that you can use for hiking, mountain biking and skiing/snowboarding throughout the year, the Jailbreak is a really valuable choice.

PROS

+ High degree of protection

+ Good comfort and freedom of motion

+ High quality of materials


CONS

- Not extremely versatile

- Limited breathability


 Lightness & Packability   8/10
 Comfort   8/10
 Cut, Fit & Design   8/10
 Weather Protection  10/10
 Breathability   6/10
 Versatility   7/10
 Durability   8/10
 Total Score  7.9/10