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Designing the Argonaut Jacket

By Alpkit
28, Sep, 2017

Tackling preconceptions: expensive technical waterproofs don't have to be expensive.

'Entry-level' waterproof clothing is all-too-often overlooked. We’re not too sure why… Maybe it doesn’t seem techy enough, maybe it doesn’t seem flashy and fancy enough? Whatever the reason, we didn’t believe it.  

Being suckers for a design challenge, we decided to take on all those preconceptions about the entry-level waterproof, and prove that good stuff doesn’t have to be super pricey.

How were we going to do it? Simple: we set out to make the best waterproof jacket for £79 on the UK market.

For more on how the Argonaut performs, read our Spotlight on testing the Argonaut Jacket in the Lakes:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Argonaut. This waterproof took over 2 years to develop, demanded the highest levels of attention to detail and brought about a lot of tough decisions.

As with every product, we start by deciding what its purpose is, where does it belong in our range?

So, what were we aiming for? A premium product without a premium price tag. One we could wear for hill walking, riding, paddling, camping and scrambling up gritstone gulleys. In brief: durable full-weather protection for outdoor activists.

Okay, time for action. We took our technical waterproof jackets as a starting point and relaxed the fit so you can layer up in all seasons. Next, we selected our fabric: a 2.5 layer breathable waterproof fabric with class leading stats: 10,000mm hydrostatic head for waterproof and 10,000mm MVTR for breathability. A few finishing touches, such as storm guards to protect the zips, two venting zipped pockets, and a roll away hood, and it was time to test it out.

The result is a fabulous technical jacket that performs on the hill and gives serious protection outdoors in all but the most extreme conditions. We’re saying goodbye to those hot and sweaty blow outs that are so common with cheaper jackets, and throwing in packability and durability to boot.

Designing a low price, high quality waterproof was a tough challenge, but we know we’ve got it right when there is nothing we want to add and nothing we would want to take away. Argonaut is the exemplar of our design approach in action.

The Argonaut is the ideal staple jacket for day-in, day-out use. Ideal for multi-activity performance when you need something durable to keep you well-protected, it’s the jacket we choose for most circumstances, when something more specialist is overkill.

The Argonaut in action on a long, wet, Lake District weekend

However, it’s important to recognise that every jacket has its limitations and sometimes a specialist is more appropriate. The Argonaut’s 10k/10k performance makes it ideal for all but the most extreme of UK conditions, but our Balance, Gravitas and Definition jackets have higher performance fabrics with higher and more activity-specific technical specifications. 

When to wear the Argonaut
  • Technical jacket for the considered outdoor enthusiast

  • All-weather, multi-activity performance in the UK

  • Low-maintenance durability that you don't have to be precious about

When to call in the specialists
  • Call on the Gravitas for fast and light activities where minimalism is paramount

  • Look to the Definition for high mountain winter activities

  • Don the Balance or a high-spec, high-performance all-round.

Give our 'Which Shell?' Spotlight a read for more on choosing your waterproof jacket.

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In pictures

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