Yesterday, I wrote a my review on the Sprayway All Day Rainpant and today I’m reviewing another item which is the Hydrolite II. This is a lightweight, thin waterproof jacket designed to be used as a top layer.

Generally in recent years I have moved away from the thin, top layer waterproof unless I was specifically doing a walk. Why? I tended to find that my event down jacket was great in colder/wetter times and in summer I would usually just wear a soft shell. Not very often I would be out taking photos in the rain anyway, though my waterproof at the time would usually be in my pack. The one time I was more likely to pack a thin waterproof was on a wildcamp, I’d usually take my big down jacket for the night time but if it did ever rain I could get one over the down jacket or just wear it on it’s own.

As a walker, you will probably want to use the three layer system like I used to do. This is a base layer, mid layer which is usually a fleece and a waterproof. The idea is you only wear what you need to but keep all three on you at all times. All three layers need to be breathable to allow sweat to be wicked away from your body and to keep cool.

Here are some of the technical specs about the Hydrolite II

  • 2.5 Layer Print Technology
  • Zip Off Hood With Wired Peak And Volume Adjuster
  • Two Large Zipped Mesh/Map Storage Pockets
  • Front Zip With Waterproof Inside Storm Guard
  • Stuff Sac Included
  • Weight: 560G

The coat uses Sprayways own Hydro/Dry Flex waterproof material rather than a more conventional and expensive Goretex or eVent fabric (they do make Goretex jackets). It boasts a 5,000mm Hydrostatic head and has a breathability of 5,000g/m2/24hours. You will note that compared to yesterdays rainpants it is not as waterproof or breathable which surprises me given the thickness of the garment compared.

As a walker/photographer who demands high quality and expects to be kept dry, I was dubious of using a product that wasn’t Goretex or eVent (I prefer eVent due to its breathability). I fully expected to be let down after a day on the hill with the product wetting out. Fortunately for Sprayway, my predictions were short sighted and can confirm that the product is still performing really well after 2 months of abuse without a single wash. One thing eVent is bad for is that once it starts to get dirty, even if it doesn’t look it, it doesn’t perform as well and needs a quick wash in techwash. However Sprayways Hydro/Dry Flex fabric seems to fair better here. I’ve not once had it wet out, even after heavy days out on the hill and again after 8 hours of abuse in the snow going up to the North Face of Ben Nevis.

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