Coastal walking: The TargetDry Xtreme Element was comfortable, waterproof, quiet and surprisingly warm. One of the main problems with owning and wearing waterproof shells is that you end up having to wear numerous layers upon layers underneath to protect you from the wind. On colder days this can cause some degree of planning, even if you’re just nipping out to the shop. The Element’s added warmth made this jacket much more versatile, and it’s still very breathable – I didn’t overheat at all.
TargetDry has really thought about storage when designing the Element, incorporating two well-sized chest pockets, both with waterproof zips and two fleece-lined pockets for your hands or extra gear. I have to say, having owned and tried numerous waterproofs in my time, that the lining to these pockets is inspired. Adding fleece is such a simple touch, but it’s nice to pop your hands somewhere cosy. The hood is also well designed and actually feels like it was meant to fit your head!
Other quick thoughts:
– Pricing: I haven’t tried a better waterproof for around the £100 mark. The Element does exactly what you want it to do and is a great jacket at a great price.
– Style: It’s not the manliest thing to say, but the Xtreme looks fantastic. My blue and red jacket is very wearable, both with a pair of jeans just for day to day wear as well as for a trip to the mountains.
– Size: The only negative for me is that the Xtreme doesn’t crush down into a small bag, or into one of its pockets like many waterproofs do. But it’s still slim enough to fit into part of your rucksack so it’s definitely not a deal breaker.
Verdict: The Element is comfortable, waterproof (although I would like to give it a real test in a summer storm, or even in the shower) and warm (without making you pour with sweat). The jacket’s styling is great, and I liked that it is long enough to cover my bottom when taking a break on the coastal rocks or sat on a bench, without looking like a jacket my grandad would wear! I know it will probably not be the choice of jacket for people who fancy climbing the Matterhorn, but for us normal mortals who want a jacket that can keep them dry in the rain and warm when hiking through the woods as well as just for chucking on for the walk to work in drizzle, this is a great choice.