Claw Gear Melierax Hard Shell Jacket
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- Last updated: 26/01/2017
Let’s face it, if ever there has been a year to scare the cleverest and best of waterproof garment makers, then the winter of 2015 into 2016 has surely been it! With some of the wettest winter months recorded, wherever you might be in the UK has provided the ultimate test for shell garments.
When I spoke to the team at Claw Gear to request a sample of the flagship Melierax jacket for testing, they simply told me that this was the type of conditions they had designed the jacket for and swiftly shipped one over to me. If that’s not confidence in a product then I really don’t know what is!
At just 430g the Melierax is a lightweight and versatile hardshell jacket, engineered to protect you from wind, rain and snow. It’s been designed from the ground up to offer the very highest levels of protection in truly adverse weather conditions. The reduced infrared signature (NIR) makes this jacket applicable for special operations use and the material selection was focused on rugged, lightweight performance fabrics and components with minimal pack size. The cut is modern and ergonomic and the design is excellent, offering high levels of movement and mobility to work in harmony with the user’s body contours; if purchased over-sized it can even be worn over body armour.
The fabric choice is a durable nylon woven three-layer rip stop fabric, which also features a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. This wind blocking membrane offers high levels of waterproofness and breathability (10,000mm hydrostatic head/ MVP 10,000g/m2/d) for optimal moisture management and has a comfortable backer on the inside. The jacket is fully seam sealed to prevent ingress of water and guarantees the best possible protection during use in demanding environments. All the outer zips are waterproof too, including pit zips which aid in mechanical
venting and temperature regulation. The hood is fully adjustable and helmet compatible. Both sleeves feature a sleeve pocket and a hook & loop mounting panel for name tapes and unit/morale patches. Large front pockets allow easy access even when wearing chest rigs or backpacks and there’s a neat inner pocket for keeping small essentials safe.
I’ve been using the Melierax on pretty much a daily basis now for three months and I have to report that the performance has indeed been excellent, even in the heaviest, wind driven downpours. Although the face fabric is light, soft and very quiet for a hardshell, it’s also extremely durable; it’s been used regularly in the woods and I even had it covered in mud when I took a tumble on a wet, flinty chalk path (much to the amusement of my mates!). When I got home and wiped it down it looked as good as new, with absolutely no damage apparent.
The hood design is indeed first-rate, as once adjusted, whether you’re wearing a helmet or not, it moves with you when you turn your head. There are multiple adjustments, so you can get the fit just the way you like it. The sleeve length is very good, with the fabric extending forward over the top of the hand; even if you’re not wearing gloves you can keep your hands dry and out of the wind simply by balling your fists. The hem dips backwards to the rear, giving good overall length, and the fit is 100% right in my opinion.
Claw Gear are becoming far better known in the UK and I can see why this is, as what they produce is incredibly well thought out, beautifully designed with the user in mind, and impeccably put together, using the best fabrics and components.
The Euro price for the Melierax is €299.90 which at the current rate of exchange makes it around £230.00, which is absolutely spot on for this level of performance and offers great value for money.
After another year of tempest-like wet weather conditions and flooding I’m very glad that I received the Melierax from Claw Gear to test, as it has kept me comfortable and protected whatever the weather, and I can only give this superb performance garment my very highest recommendation!