Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood – Climbing Gear Review

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Kasia gives us the rundown on the Skarn Q Hood (Q being the name Haglöfs give to their female specific products)  softshell jacket from Haglöfs. How was it?

Performance ****

Quality *****

Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood - a great jacket for alpine climbing. Summit of Pic De La Grave, Ecrins, France.

Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood – a great jacket for alpine climbing. Summit of Pic De La Grave, Ecrins, France.

 

According to Haglöfs the Skarn Q Hood is a ‘versatile and durable, full stretch soft shell jacket with excellent comfort’. I have to admit after trying the jacket, walking, cragging and climbing in the alps it pretty much does what it says on the ‘tin’.

I’ve been testing the women’s size medium in the ‘Firecracker’ colour. From a technical point of view this jacket is certainly a winner when it comes to comfort. The decent cut (articulated sleeves and dropped rear hem) and 4-way stretch certainly doing its thing. The arms and body being made from the same material meant I definitely didn’t feel restricted in my movement at any point. The stretch factor also meant that when using the thumb loops I didn’t have to worry too much about the jacket riding up. For me the thumb loops are a nice little touch and help to make things cosier when the wind picks up and you want to prevent those draughty gaps which can occur around the sleeves when wearing a pair of gloves.

Another cosy feature is the super soft chin guard which I think is a general must on jackets nowadays and not to be taken for granted. A small comfort I enjoy if the weather picks up when on belay half way up a multi-pitch. You’ll also find an integrated single hand hem draw cord to help cinch things in. Whilst easy to pull the hem tight I sometimes needed two hands to help slacken it off again.

Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood - a great cut for climbing and durable too.

Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood – a great cut for climbing and durable too.

Apparently the shoulders and sleeves are reinforced – I can’t tell how looking at the jacket, but from having worn the jacket climbing and whilst wearing a rucksack, it still looks in great condition. The only place I’m starting to see some slight signs of wear and tear is on the cuffs which have certainly had some abuse when scrambling with the thumb loops on – so a slight bobbling here is only to be expected.

The hood boasts a ‘three-way adjustable, climbing helmet compatible hood with reinforced peak’. Whilst the hood will go over my helmet it didn’t manage to cover the whole thing. So if like me you prefer a hood where the peak protects your eyes even with a helmet on you’ll have to decide if the plus points of this garment outweigh – for me the only downside to this jacket. Otherwise without a helmet, the hood adjusts fine and can sit snug around the face.

Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood - a helmet compatible hood.

Haglöfs Skarn Q Hood – a helmet compatible hood.

The look of the jacket is kept sleek and simple with a hidden front zip. The sleeve pocket on the left arm is a laminated pocket to reduce unnecessary seams and works well for lift passes and other small easy to grab essentials. There are also two mid mounted pockets (accessible whilst wearing a harness) which have a mesh liner to help with ventilation when moving more aerobically. All the zips come with a pull cord which makes them easier to use when wearing gloves.

The jacket is a lightweight outer shell providing a good mix of wind resistance and breathability – down to the Haglöfs non membrane FlexAble™ fabric. It’s not waterproof and doesn’t claim to be, but as the fabric is treated with a PFOS/PFOA free DWR it will shed some light drops of rain – just not a downpour. If it does get wet you’ve got a handy rear hanging loop to hang it from in the drying room!

Overall I loved the jacket. Whilst the hood doesn’t give full coverage whilst wearing a helmet I’ll certainly be taking this on future alpine trips. For me the real plus side is the comfort and wear ability provided, which means I don’t feel restricted when making that awkward climbing move. Besides, it’s also served me well as a light summer jacket around town!

The Skarn Hood is also available for men and there is a Skarn Winter Hood and Skarn Q Winter Hood available for the coming winter season too.

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