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Sprayway's Maxen is a solid and dependable everyday workhorse of a waterproof jacket

sprayway maxen jacket op
Best for...
Everyday outdoor duties and day hiking
Overall Score
Solid, dependable performance
Main zip relies on storm flap to keep water out

Sprayway have been making solid and often affordable outdoor clothing since John Hunt and Simon Wright set the company up in Manchester in the mid-seventies. What you will find with Sprayway clothing is reliable dependability, what you might not find is much excitement, but if you're the type that just wants something that works without the razzmatazz, labels or high price of other outdoor clothing then Sprayway is the brand for you.

We've been wearing the Maxen for a few months now and it epitomises this approach. Ours comes in a very subtle black (other colours are available) which looks a little dour but blends in to pretty much any surrounding which makes it more versatile than brightly coloured, go faster stripes adorned alpine wear.

In use we can't find much to complain about. A classic 2-layer Gore-Tex construction makes the jacket very comfortable to wear (not as crinkly or stiff as 3-layer Gore) and the mesh lining adds just a hint of warmth and all but does away with the clammy feeling you get when a 3-layer jacket is in contact with the skin. The Gore-Tex waterproofing has been faultless, and the jacket is cut to be spacious and for good coverage over the wrists and midriff so weathering a storm in the Maxen is no problem at all. It's a similar story with the hood, which is adjustable and sits on the head well, offering decent protection.

On the move the Maxen is fairly breathable, we welcomed the mesh venting pockets for walking in warm, humid but drizzly conditions where you would rather keep the main zip done up but quickly start to build up a sweat. You get two further pockets, an internal stash pocket and a map compatible chest pocket which doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket itself.

While not particularly lightweight in comparison to some of the exotically thin waterproof jackets out there, a weight of 451g is perfectly reasonable if you don't intend on using the jacket for fast and light hiking or bikepacking trips. The ability to pack into its own pocket is very helpful though, as you can compress the size down to a handy package for stowing in daypacks when you're out for a walk.

Overall, a practical and reliable jacket that is subtle enough to be worn everywhere.

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