What can I say about the Chinook jacket other than I love it? Plenty, as it turns out! In many parts of Ireland it can be said that one could experience four seasons in a day. In the south west of Ireland, where I have moved to, one can experience four seasons in ten minutes! I know that when I reach for the Chinook I have a jacket that will perform in a number of ways; it will keep me dry, it will trap a layer of warmth but at the same time is light enough that I will not overheat, it is well designed to allow venting when needed, it is tough, it is very well made but above all else, it is comfortable.
Build with quality materials the jacket features many staples now expected from Palm. Starting from the bottom and working our way upwards the first feature is the waist seal, an extra skirt of material found in all jackets and pants combos to ensure little chance of water ingress should you part company with your kayak. Above this a neoprene waistline can be tightened to fit with a drawstring. The torso has front zipped pockets which are great for storing small items of kit of tucking hands in out of the cold when sitting at anchor waiting for a bite.
The upper torso area features an offset zip which saves a mouthful of zipper when fully closed. Beneath this is a second adjustable collar to fit all shapes and sizes. The hood atop the jacket can be removed, folded into the collar or left out as it is. The hood is generously oversized with draw cords to enable the user to make it as tight or as loose a fit as is desired. This large size will also accommodate a helmet. The wrist seals are latex which eliminate water ingress and have a second adjustable seal fastened with Velcro over them.
Why do I like this piece of kit so much? Its sheer versatility. A couple of days ago I sat at anchor for two full hours with a twenty-five knot wind and sideways rain pelting me; a victim of my own stubbornness and I was not rewarded by the fishy gods for said stubbornness. The jacket kept me dry throughout and made an uncomfortable situation a lot more comfortable. Tucked in underneath the hood I could have taken twice the rain and the wind but I’m glad it didn’t come to that! Despite the weather it was 20° C and once I hauled anchor and started paddling I started to feel the heat. The double adjustable neck is fantastic for retaining heat but it is just as good at venting, allowing me to stay cool and comfortable when paddling meaning I didn’t overheat. This jacket also fits well but still allows for plenty of movement when paddling, I have never felt restricted when wearing it.
Touring paddler, whitewater paddler, angler, or SUP aficionado, I would have no hesitation in recommending a look at the Chinook jacket; two thumbs up from me!