If you’ve been looking for a solution to the recent cold weather then this down jacket made by Mountain Equipment might just be the answer. I received one as a present a few weeks ago and have since then had the opportunity to test it when walking in the countryside. The Senja is designed for remote journeys, trekking and mountaineering in cold environments, intended to be both lightweight and warm – lets see how it fairs…
To start off with, the Senja looks good and is incredibly comfortable. I have the “obsidian” version of the jacket which is grey with a beautiful yellow lining but the jacket also comes in an interesting “mango” and rather more boring red, blue and “cosmos” if you’re into those colours instead. It’s reasonably tight-fitting which isn’t surprising considering it’s only meant to allow a couple of lighter layers underneath but this snugness serves to enhance both the warmth and fit of the jacket. It has an insulated collar, a drawcord to adjust the waist, a two-way zip down the front and a fully adjustable hood; I myself find hoods a bit annoying given that my hair often struggles to fit underneath them, in this particular case the hood allows quite a lot of scope, but I doubt that you’d easily be able to fit a helmet or hairstyle of the more voluminous variety underneath. The insulated collar works wonders however, doing away with the necessity of a balaclava and I could find no need to mess around with the internal drawcord as the jacket already fitted very well. I don’t really like or see the need for two-way zips (especially when fumbling around in the cold) but the Senja’s is considerably better than most, zipping up much more easily than they normally do and working quite smoothly.
Moving on to the jacket’s performance I admit it’s quite difficult to fault it. When I wore it most recently the temperature was hovering around zero degrees and I had no problems wearing a t-shirt and light fleece underneath, in fact I had to undo the zip because I was too hot. This may be due to the Senja being totally windproof or its down rating of 700 for fill power… What is fill power? The measurement used to describe how well down lofts (how fluffy the stuffing is), the more space down can take up the more air it traps and the more efficient a jacket can be. In this case one ounce of the Senja’s down will fill 700 cubic inches which, when compared to more pedestrian down jackets with ratings of around 400-500, is very good. I would like to point out that while Mountain Equipment claim that the Senja is “highly water resistant,” this information should be taken with a pinch of salt. Most down jackets hate getting wet and if they do, they need to be dried in the correct manner to avoid their insulation properties being forever diminished. Another thing is that while this jacket feels almost weightless to wear, this also makes it vulnerable to sharp objects – tiptoeing through thick forested areas and dodging holly bushes isn’t exactly my idea of fun!
To sum up, the Senja is a great jacket if you’re looking for something to keep you warm when hiking or simply just going for a walk in the park on a cold morning. It is worth £140? That’s debatable (I would say most mountaineering equipment is overpriced), but you won’t be able to find a higher quality down jacket for a similar price anywhere else. Provided you don’t go dragging it through a thorn bush or use it on a rainy day, the Senja is perfect for solving your cold weather problems. I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful, if you’d like to be emailed next time I post be sure to sign up below!