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June 2014 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Rain jackets

Earth Sea Sky, Hydrophobia



Our Rating:

The Hydrophobia is a great, no fuss tramping jacket which I found to perform well in all the conditions you’d expect to use it as well as some you wouldn’t.

Its butt-skimming length means you can sit down in the wet keeping nether regions dry but without being so long it flaps around your legs.  

The three-layer Entrant fabric came out in 2012 and was new to me. It’s a robust-feeling Oxford weave nylon. At 630g (men’s, 750g), the jacket is not a super lightweight number but offers reassuring strength and bulk required of a tramping jacket.

The jacket’s fabric has excellent surface repellency. I tested it in a range of conditions in Fiordland; including a kayak trip in wet, humid conditions on Lake Te Anau. Even with heavy sweating I stayed mostly dry inside, demonstrating the breathability of the fabric. No water seeped in despite a wet spray deck pressing around the waist and this, along with its performance when tramping, meant a big thumbs up for me.  

In addition, it’s very comfortable, seam sealed, with a soft, non-clammy lining. One small improvement could be the addition of a soft fabric chin guard.  

The coat has big patch pockets on the front hips with handwarmer pockets built in behind and a good sized breast pocket – plenty of room for maps, hat, gloves and scroggin. Velcro closures at the wrists are simple but functional.

The fully attached hood is roomy and also has a Velcro tag to pull it back from your eyes, strengthened brim and a tidy draw cord arrangement. It all worked well for me allowing simple adjustment on the go. The zips are robust and the generous zip cover also has popper closures.  

This jacket feels like a quality product and performs like one, too.

– Beth Masser