Salewa Women's Pedroc Alpha 2/1 Hooded Jacket Review
It was several years ago when I first tried a product with Polartec Alpha insulation. I used a jacket on a trip to Northern India and that Alpha experience was a game changer for me. I found I could wear the jacket for much longer and in very mixed conditions because it coped so well with variations in temperature and exertion level. It was, without question, a brilliant step forward for synthetic insulation. Whatever crazy magic those Polartec gurus had created.....I was in!
Since then I have used a number of Alpha insulated items and the results have been the same. So, when Salewa offered me a women’s Pedroc Alpha 2/1 jacket to review I didn’t hesitate. I wouldn’t turn down another Alpha product and yet that wasn’t the whole picture - the Pedroc 2/1 also has some very innovative features and I was really keen to explore these too.........
I had initially wondered if I should really be testing this jacket as Salewa describe it as being ideal for speed hiking and this is definitely an outdoor activity I have no experience of. But when I checked the jacket detail I felt sure the Pedroc would actually suit quite a range of activities so decided to go ahead (infact I do wonder if Salewa are narrowing their potential buyers with a description focussing on speed hiking as a primary use?).
The reason I think the Pedroc has a wide potential user range is because the material combinations and features will suit lots of activities. The outer material (PA nylon windbreaker) offers wind protection and is water resistant and there is a wicking mesh liner fabric. In between Salewa have sandwiched a layer of Polartec Alpha insulation and the functionality of a windproof strip backed full length zip. The jacket also benefits from body mapping which means that the use of materials has been matched to areas of the body where they will function most efficiently.
Besides that the jacket has an insulated hood with elasticated and one hand adjustment, 2 zipped front pockets, elastic hem, reflective details and it is designed to fold up into an integrated compression pocket.
Salewa have thought very carefully about the fit of the Pedroc. It is designed for fast moving aerobic activities and the cut is designed to maximise this. It has stretch inserts and what Salewa describe as ‘ergonomic sleeves and shoulders’. It is snug fitting and yet offers excellent freedom of movement.
The part of the Pedroc’s name referring to 2/1 corresponds to an interesting design feature which allows you to remove the sleeves and the jacket quickly becomes a vest. This is made possible because there of a special ‘Quickburst’ YKK zip which sits at the top of each sleeve allowing very easy on/off attachment. The use of Alpha and the mesh liner also make the Pedroc a very light jacket with a weight of 275 grams for a size U.K. 12.
Finally, Salewa are members of the Fair Trade Foundation and many of their products are Bluesign certified. This designation refers to products that were designed and built responsibly and so, in the case of the Pedroc, it is constructed using Bluesign approved fabric.
As mentioned above, Salewa say the Pedroc is designed for speed hiking. I have to say that I have no experience of this activity but I do have plenty of similar activities that I regularly partake in and the Pedroc is actually very well suited to a wide range of aerobic sports in cooler weather. I have used it for mountain biking, hiking, climbing and scrambling. I also see no reason it won’t be perfect as a midlayer for skiing too.
I was sent a jacket in Salewa’s Peacock Green colour but the Pedroc is also available in a lovely pinky red colour called Red Plum and a Black version with contrasting red zips.
The fit of the Pedroc is great. The use of stretch panels and attention to detail means you can choose a snug fit whilst also allowing completely free movement. I used the Pedroc for climbing and it happily coped with high reaches and stretched out arm positions just as the fit suited mountain biking where you really don’t want lots of baggy fabric getting in the way. It is a very capable jacket.
The use of a windproof outer layer combined with Polartec Alpha insulation is a great system and suits so many situations. I have now tried Alpha in several garments and it is always the star of the show. Alpha is a unique insulation that places low density fibres between air permeable woven layers to create a very thermally efficient and highly breathable and wicking option. There is undoubtedly a lot more to it than that but for most users the key information is that it works brilliantly. You really won’t know how good Alpha is until you try it.
Alpha’s construction also allows manufacturers to use very thin or, in the Pedroc’s case, ‘mesh warp knit’ lining material. This lightens the garment whilst significantly aiding wicking capability and ensuring the Alpha insulation is doing exactly what it is designed to do.
The outer shell at the front part of the Pedroc Alpha is made from PA Nylon Windbreaker with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating. A lot of the activities I do favour windproof fabrics and this outer material has proven itself to perform very well. Similarly, having a DWR coating adds significant versatility in variable conditions - A DWR coating doesn’t make a windproof fabric waterproof, but does allow it to fend off fairly impressive amounts of moisture.
In the back and sides of the jacket Salewa have added stretchy breathable inserts. This means the jacket can be worn with a snug fit while still allowing a full range of motion. I was slightly concerned that these panels would allow cold air to blow through the jacket but, although you can notice this through flow of air in windy weather, I have found this to be a bonus rather than a problem - I was mountain biking in the jacket earlier this week and, with a hefty crosswind on a steep ascent, I found I just had to lift an arm to allow the cooling air to lower my body temperature.
All the other features of the Pedroc Alpha work exactly as you would hope. The hood is a comfortable fit that will layer over a hat although it doesn’t have enough room to fit over something like a climbing helmet (although the hood is low profile enough to be worn underneath a helmet anyway) and it can be cinched tight with the one hand adjuster. The hood is insulated with Alpha and the same windproof fabric is used on the hood outer.
The pockets are well positioned and can be worn with a climbing harness, the elastic hem and cuffs perform well and the addition of reflective detailing adds a little security in darkness.
So, the final intriguing detail is the removable sleeves. I was very interested to see how this worked. The sleeves are insulated and when fitted they perform exactly as normal. Then, a quick (and it is quick) whip round of the YKK zip and the jacket is armless. The system works really well and is well thought out.
There are a couple of considerations though - I have zipped and unzipped the sleeves enough times to be happy the system works but, for my requirements at least, I don’t imagine this is a facility I will use very often. If I need a vest style top I will usually have decided this before the activity starts and if I need a jacket I choose a jacket. I am, however, saying this from the perspective of someone with a choice of jacket/vest options and appreciate that for others the idea of getting 2 options in one could be very useful. It could also be handy if you are on a longer trip and want maximum versatility in your wardrobe.
The second consideration about the sleeve system is about aesthetics. The YKK’s used are chunky zippers and they sit clearly visible on the jacket shoulders. This isn’t a problem and I actually think they look fine, but you may just need to consider if you are happy with that look.
A final consideration about the Pedroc Alpha is an environmental one. As mentioned earlier, Salewa are members of the Fair Wear Foundation and many of the materials used are Bluesign certified. This means they were designed and manufactured sustainably. This is a great step forward for any company keen to protect the planet and full marks to Salewa for their commitment to this.
Any garment featuring Polartec Alpha is already on its way to being a winner, but thoughtful design and clever features make the Salewa Pedroc Alpha 2/1 a great product. It is highly recommended for any high energy output activity and the carefully designed fit will make you feel like the top is moving with you. Oh, and there’s the added versatility of those removable sleeves and the comfort of knowing environmentally responsible methods were used in its manufacture. A highly recommended product. The jacket retails for £195.
Reviewed and posted by Cal