If you plan a trip to Scotland and you think you will be fine without a very good waterproof jacket – think again. No matter what time of the year your trip is scheduled for, you can pretty much expect Scotland to surprise you with weather from all four seasons, sometimes within one day. You might think, I’ll just bring an umbrella – but in that case you have not considered the vicious rain-wind combination so common in Scotland. Your umbrella will most likely break – if you don’t leave it under your seat of the first pub you visit.
When I first moved to Scotland I had bought a brand-new waterproof jacket from a brand I didn’t know much about and sadly it turned out that it was not as waterproof as needed in the Scottish autumn showers. A new jacket had to be purchased and this time I wanted to make sure it would last. Soon after I began looking around online, I spotted a jacket during one of my frequent trips to our local Cotswold Outdoor shop. I kept debating with myself for a few months whether or not to go for it, and finally the decision to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with my dad was the final drop to fill the bucket. I had to have this jacket.
The North Face Loreto Triclimate Jacket
This jacket is exclusive to Cotswold Outdoor* and is only available in their shops (or online). I fell in love with the colour that was on display in our local Glasgow branch – a dark turquoise, although there are several colour options available – an the cut which looked well-shaped but not too tight around the waist or too short like many other women’s jackets.
The inner jacket
The Loreto is different than most triclimate jackets our there. I already owned a good fleece and a super-warm Icelandic wool jumper so it was important to me that my new waterproof jacket would not come with a fleece layer. The Loreto’s inner layer is a leightweight insulated jacket, very similar to a thin down jacket, serving the same purpose: to keep you warm.
I often wear the inner layer on its own and even in the Scottish summer it is hardly ever a bad idea to keep it close to me. Because the jacket is so lightweight it folds down really small and I can easily stuff it in my bag. The pockets are big enough to fit my smartphone (for navigation and photos when I’m on my bike) but they also keep my hands really warm when I’m walking around.
What I love most about the inner layer though is that it is actually reasonably water resistant. It won’t keep you completely dry when it’s pissing it down (see here for more Scottish words for rain) but don’t worry if you are suddenly surprised by a brief shower – it will do the job.
The waterproof layer
The waterproof outer layer of the Loreto is a brighter turquoise than the inner layer which makes you more visible when it is rainy and dark outside. It has a hood which you can fit tightly around your head – perfect for when it’s windy. There are plenty of pockets, again big enough to fit a reasonably sized smartphone, lights and/or gloves.
The North Face has actually developed its own kind of polyurethane coating called HyVent which makes the jacket extremely waterproof and durable, but also breathable. It is similar to what is often used for the soles of hiking boots, and if it keeps your feet dry it can only be good for the rest of your body. Due to all the rain Glasgow often gets a bit sticky in the summer months, so it’s good to have a breathable jacket.
The Triclimate Jacket
The two layers are easily combined with two zippers and three press studs. Worn together they almost replace your need of a winter jacket all together. The triclimate version of the Loreto is so warm and waterproof you can easily wear it on top of a mountain like Mt Kilimajaro – or Ben Nevis.
The jacket is only available at Cotswold shops and online shop. It sets you back £160 but it is definitely worth every last penny of that. I’m well-impressed by the level of waterproofness of both layers, especially since I’ve had the jacket for a year now and it still keeps me dry without ever having to freshen up the waterproof layer.
These days, when it’s hot and sunny one day, and raining and windy on the next, I basically live in this jacket. I wear it when I cycle around Glasgow, when I go camping or hiking in the Highlands, when it’s raining heavily or it’s just a little cold, and I’ve taken it on trip to Ecuador, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Austrian Alps. The Loreto goes where I go.
I often hear people complain about the weather in Scotland. While I understand that unspoiled sunshine makes for better views and photographs than cloudy skies and raindrops on your camera lens, a lot of these complaints come down to the wrong clothes. Obviously when you are cold and wet, you won’t be writing raging reviews about your time here. But if you actually feel warm and comfortable even in the rain, that is a different story. A lot of your experience comes down to the clothes you are wearing to protect you, and in Scotland it is better to come well prepared.
2 layers: a water-resistant insulated jacket (inner) and a waterproof layer (outer)
Large pockets in both layers; fold-away, adjustable hood
The North Face’s own HyVent coating for extra durability, waterproofness and breathability
Available in different colour combinations
The Loreto goes where I go and if you are looking for a waterproof jacket to get you ready for your trip to Scotland, this is one investment worth making.
PS: The Loreto is currently not available, but you can get a similar triclimate jacket from The North Face here.
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.
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