The Expolite jacket from Craghoppers is a looker, with a tailored cut that isn't overly tight or athletic but sits nicely on the body. This is the type of jacket that can be put to many uses, from a general winter warmer through to a jacket for hiking and camping. Its ideal use is perhaps as an insulation jacket to wear for active and adventurous travel though.
Beneath its good-looking exterior lie some excellent technical touches that make the Expolite warm and breathable as well as comfortable to wear all day long.
ThermoPro insulation uses high loft synthetic fibres to mimic the performance of down but at a much lower price and of course without the ethical concerns of using animal products. Weight of the jacket is also kept to a very reasonable 395g considering the warmth it offers. This isn't a jacket to keep you toasty in a Siberian winter but it will comfortably take the chill off most British winter's days, assuming a decent base layer underneath.
Wearing into the spring is a reasonable assumption as well, we went hiking in the Expolite on a typical spring day and it did the job of insulating in the morning and maintaining breathability once the tempo and temperature started to rise.
Neat travel features are a given with Craghoppers and the Expolite has a few of them, including a hidden security pocket with RFID blocking pocket inside. The two external hand pockets are usefully big and zipped so you don't lose your stuff and there are two further dump pockets inside the jacket.
Like many insulation layers the Expolite can be stuffed into one of its hand pockets, making for a much smaller package and doubling as a handy travel pillow.
Craghoppers are making a big drive towards sustainability, and as well as the aforementioned use of synthetic fibres rather than down, the Expolite uses a PFC free DWR (SmartDry Eco) and the materials contain approximately 35 recycled bottles. As outdoor enthusiasts, quality clothing is important but anything we can do to minimise our impact on the environment should be encouraged, we're glad to see Craghoppers embracing this approach.
Overall, the Expolite features enough design touches to maintain proper outdoor jacket status while retaining creature comforts and looks that make it a perfect day to day or travel jacket.