CimAlp Vinson 4H Waterproof Jacket for Men
Product Review & Walking Gear Test
Vinson 4H Waterproof Jacket for Men
CimAlp says:"Hardshell jackets are designed for the alpine: they’re highly windproof, waterproof, breathable, and durable. This is the outer layer you turn to for ultimate protection while backcountry and resort skiing, mountaineering, alpine climbing, and 4-season trekking. The VINSON is numerous mountain guides' favourite in France. This updated version of our most protective hiking and mountaineering jacket, reissued in new colours, features a waterproof and breathable Ultrashell® membrane, as well as Kevlar® reinforcements to last a lifetime.
The fabrics produce by CimAlp are labelled Bluesign®, assuring they are eco-friendly manufactured at every stage, from the fibres and dyes they select, through to the finished products.
This jacket is made in only 299 pieces per color, in homage to the expedition led in 1997 by Henri de Gerlache de Gomery, exclusively dressed by CimAlp during the ascent of Mont Vinson (4,892 m) located in Antarctic."
Features to Note:
- Resistant with its KEVLAR® reinforcements going from the shoulder to the elbows
- Taped seams + waterproof to 20,000mm of water + 80,000MVP breathability
- Ergonomic cut, stretch and light, its size is perfect.
- Large KEVLAR® shoulder reinforcements
- YKK ventilation zips under the arms
- Multiple interior pockets with MP3 passage
- 3-point tightening hood + moldable visor (compatible with wearing a helmet)
- Ergonomic preformed cut
- Thin, stretch and light
- 690g (Medium)
- Breathability of 80,000MVP
- Water resistant to 20,000mm - 20,000 Schmerber.
CimAlp is a French company founded in 1964 specialising in technical, high performance outdoor gear for hiking, trail running, skiing and mountaineering.
Waterproofness: The Vinson 4H from CimAlp is made from 3 layers of 180g/m² woven ripstop polyamide fabric waterproofed to 20,000mm of water pressure (or 20,000 Schmerbers). A waterproofing range between 5,000mm and 10,000mm of water pressure is generally considered excellent for keeping the occupant dry in wet weather conditions so 20,000mm promised to be more than enough.
During my tests I encountered several torrential downpours and I can confirm that the CimAlp Vinson 4H is indeed waterproof and I remained perfectly dry. I could find no evidence of the material 'wetting out' (where it gets overloaded by the moisture) and the raindrops simply bounced off the fabric and ran away.
Breathability: CimAlp state the Vinson 4H has a breathability of 80,000g/m². This the highest level of breathability that we have ever seen in a waterproof jacket. There are also two pit zips under the arms backed by woven mesh. I tend to run hot and sweat readily so jacket breathability is highly important to me. Again during our tests I found the breathability to be highly efficient and I felt comfortable in our tests - though I did have the pit zips open throughout.
The Jacket: The overall cut of the CimAlp Vinson 4H is on the athletic side. Indeed, we ordered an Xtra-Large (XL) for this test but would consider the jacket we received to be more of a Large (L). We also received a pair of Piton 2H - Men's Softshell Zip-off Mountaineering Trousers in Large (L) but would consider them to be more of a Medium (M). The size guide on the CimAlp website does not suggest anything out of the ordinary but this is something to bear in mind. I would definitely recommend trying either garment on for size before buying.
The cut of the jacket offers the standard length at the front but extends at the back to cover your backside to help prevent any unnecessary exposure when climbing or reaching for a hand hold.
The bottom hem also has a couple of cinch toggles which allowed me to get a nice snug fit around my waist.
There is also Kevlar® reinforcement on both shoulders to prevent wear and tear from a backpack.
Zips and Pockets: There is a YKK water repellent main zip. It is two-way so I could unzip from the bottom up as well from the top down. I did find the zip to be rather stiff - and it was difficult to undo the zip completely unless if was perfectly seated at the bottom. There is a small piece of fabric that covers the top of the zip when closed that helped keep me dry. The main zip also has a 30mm wide baffle behind it to further prevent water ingress.
There is a single chest pocket big enough for a mobile phone but not a folded OS map. There are also two hand warming pockets on either side but though these are bigger, they are still not large enough for a folded OS Map. Sadly, access to both hand warming pockets is severely restricted when wearing a belted rucksack. All these external zips are YKK water repellent and are toggled so I could access them with gloved hands.
Internally there is three storage pockets. The zipped chest pocket is large enough for a mobile phone and includes a small hole for an earphone cable. On either side there are two further side pockets behind the external hand warming pockets. These are larger and reasonably deep - but still not large enough for a folded OS Map.
Cuffs: There are adjustable Velcro® tabs on the cuffs which offered plenty of adjustment and elasticated internal cuffs to keep the heat in and the debris out. There is also a thumb hole which meant I could keep the sleeves covering my arms when reaching for a handhold.
Hood: The hood is roomy enough for a helmet and has a moldable peak. A toggle at the back of the hood allowed me to get a good fit around my crown and toggles on either side of the hood allow extensive volume adjustment.
This is a highly waterproof, windproof, breathable jacket that is super stylish, it's just a shame the pockets are positioned without a bit more thought. It may well be aimed at skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, extreme cold and mountaineering but will be just at home in Scotland, the Lake District, Snowdonia, Yorkshire Dales or the Peak District. Just make sure you try one on for size before buying*.
NB. There is a women's version of the CimAlp Vinson 4H available.
*CimAlp do not have physical shops in the UK where one can try its products. However, if your order a CimAlp product that does not fit, they will replace it for one the correct size at no cost. Since this review, CimAlp say they have updated the size sheet on their website to be more accurate.
For more details see: https://www.cimalp.co.uk/en/hiking-jackets/1531-reinforced-ultrashell-jacket.html
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