It isn’t all that often that a company brings out a truly different garment. Colours and fits change with the seasons, the weight of insulation might come down a fraction without sacrificing warmth and the four-way stretch panels could make the latest belay jacket more comfortable to climb in. Whilst quality of life improvements, for sure, none of these features are reinventing the wheel.


Time to talk about the Ortovox Swisswool Dufour jacket. Whilst everybody else battles it out over down fill power and primaloft distribution (neither of which is going anywhere and for good reason), Ortovox is out here shaving sheep and stuffing baffles. I’ve had my Dufour for little over a year now and before we get into the nitty gritty; it looks the business. The colours are grown up and I’ve never been complimented on a piece more. You know those friends who simply don’t get owning practical clothing and your brightly coloured, entirely functional mid-layers are a constant point of ridicule? They won’t target this. It is immune- above it all. Looking fly as fudge at the summit or ordering a shandy at the local. Unless you choose the bright yellow one, of course..


 Okay, before I lose the hardcore crowd, the number crunching! This thing is unbelievably light for the warmth; just 231 grams for a Men’s medium. Water and wind-resistant with a highly breathable micro ripstop outer, this jacket is fantastic for speedy mountain ascents where compromising warmth is ill-advised but you know you’ll get a sweat on. I’ve even considered taking it out on a ride as I’m sure it’ll out-perform my synthetics but I’m too scared of sticking a hole in it. I’ll have to continue boil washing my primaloft insulation in the meantime..

To keep the weight down it has two smaller chest pockets and no hood which seems to divide opinions more than marmite or Brexit with you lot. There is a hooded pull-on for those hood junkies(?!) and a gillet for when even sleeves seem too much like hard work. No excuses.


When the weather looks changeable I find myself stuffing this in the bottom of my bag far more often than my down equivalent, not for weight or packability (although it does hold its own) but because it isn’t as sensitive. It won’t matter if it stays crushed at the bottom all day and doesn’t get a lick of mountain air. Nor does it matter if my water bottle leaks on it or my lunch breaks free and there is no choice but to stick it in the washing machine. When the wind really does pick up I still reach for my down jacket if it is going on from the door but truth be told I wouldn’t miss it if I didn’t already have it.


- Will