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Fladen Authentic Wear: Review

The Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers are part of Fladen’s range of outdoor clothing designed for fishing, hunting, hiking and other activities and sports that demand clothing of the highest calibre and standards, and for the rigours of outdoor pursuits.
 
The two-piece outfit, which comes in two colour options of green/black or grey/black are made for the outdoors. Straightforward in their design, the jacket and trousers shell are made of 100% Polyester with taped seams and a Microfibre PVC Coating (+10,000mm waterproof), and the lining is 100% Polyester. The garments are PFOA free and have a REACH Certificate. 
 

The Jacket

The ruggedly designed jacket consists of five outer pockets that are rubber covered zipped to prevent water ingress; there are two at the waist, two at the chest and a handy pocket on the left upper arm that could easily hold a mobile phone, PLB, keys or a notebook. Each outer zip has a zipper pull which is useful for cold and wet conditions and for easier access when the wearer may be wearing gloves. There is a further zipped pocket on the inside of the jacket located at the left chest.  
 
Rear product image of the Fladen jacket
 
There are underarm vents with rubber covered zips on both sides that allow for extra ventilation without compromising waterproof integrity.
 
The inside of the jacket is lined with soft polyester fabric to increase comfort. This fabric covers the entire inner jacket except for the pocket and the neck areas. The sleeves are made of shiny, silky polyester which makes putting on the jacket easier than if it were made of the lining. The collar measures 90mm (3.5 inches) in height and is fleece covered for extra comfort and warmth.
 
The hood is removable and is removed by unzipping the zip, which is located under a fabric lip. 
 
Once removed the exposed zipper can be tucked under the lip and secured with a velcro attachment so that the zipper is hidden from view. The hood itself is sizable. The fit can be adjusted with an elasticated cord located at both sides of the hood. At both ends there are adjustable plastic spring toggles to hold the elastic at the desired tension. The inside of the hood is black and made of shiny polyester, for comfort and for making wearing a hat under the hood easier, and as the hood area is likely to encounter greater exposure to water. 
 
The depth of the hood can be adjusted by an elastic cord located at the back of the hood. This is secured with a plastic spring toggle which is itself attached to the hood. The jacket is zipped up the front with a rubber covered two-way zip and can be unzipped from the top or bottom. The sleeve cuffs have double velcro straps to ensure a snug fit around the wrists to prevent water and wind ingress. 
The jacket has a hangtag on the inside located by the neck and there is another located on the outside for drying. 
 

The Trousers

Fladen trousers
 
The trousers are made of the same material as the jacket, consisting of the outer polyester material and the inner is lined with soft polyester fabric to increase comfort. This fabric covers the entire inner garment. The Trousers have four pockets on the outer garment, two on both sides, the lower on the thighs being deep pockets with velcro covers. Two hip pockets have rubber covered zipped pockets with zipper pulls. There is an inside pocket with a velcro seal, on the left thigh, suitable for a small mobile phone. 
 
The trouser fly is a cloth zipper. The trouser button is a robust metal popper. The adjustable belt that comes with the trousers is made of webbing with a small plastic clip and fits through seven belt loops. There are velcro ankle straps on the lower part of the trousers to stop water ingress and for use in windy conditions. 
 

In Use

With all the storms that have battered the UK recently, I have had plenty of opportunities to wear the jacket and trousers. I fit a standard LARGE when it comes to clothing. On wearing the jacket for the first time I felt that the LARGE was a little tight across my back and that was without many layers on underneath, so I opted for the XL size and found that there were more arm and shoulder movement by going up one size. When I added extra layers (thermal layer, Mid layer, Outer layer fleece) there was plenty of room to move freely when wearing the jacket without feeling that I was wearing an oversized jacket. I continue to wear the XL as standard without a second thought.  
 
On first wearing the jacket I immediately felt I was wearing a garment designed for the outdoors, for rugged environments that required a tough jacket. The rubber covered front zipper zips up to the top of the collar and makes for a snug fit. This gave me immediate confidence in wearing it in rain and it proved to be the case. On multiple occasions when I wore the jacket and trousers in persistent and substantial rain there was never once any water ingress. 
 
The jacket does get wet, the fabric does not repel water. Even though the garments were saturated I was still dry within the clothing. The double velcro wrist straps give extra protection from water ingress and I found these worked without fail every time I used them, with or without gloves. 
 
All the pockets remained dry whilst they were closed. Open them and water will get in, so it is important to make sure pockets are closed before venturing out. I particularly like the two chest pockets and left forearm pocket - placing car keys, mobile and other essential items close to hand was a bonus in torrid conditions. 
 
The hood took some getting used to. Hoods on outdoor clothing are often their weak point. Designers try to combine practicality, style and function and rarely get it right. This hood, however, is excellent, with a no-fuss elasticated drawcord on both sides, the hood fitted to my head. It took some adjusting to get the fit right so that I could see properly, so I would advise this is done before venturing out into rainy conditions as adjusting the hood in the rain will result in you getting wet. The rear hood adjuster decreases the depth of the hood, aids fitting around the head and increases visibility from within the hood. Once adjusted the hood does its job very well. 
 
Removing the hood was easy and the fabric lip which is secured by velcro is a nice touch. The jacket remains practical whilst being stylish. The hood can be rolled down and packed away within the fabric lip and secured with velcro. It needs to be rolled very tightly in order for it to fit, but it is worth doing as the jacket would be more liable to have water ingress via the neck area if the hood was removed and it rained. 
 
It is important to stress that the wearer must wear appropriate layers underneath the jacket and trousers. They are not designed to keep you warm on their own, therefore depending on the season and activity it is imperative to wear layers. If your activity requires long periods of inactivity a thermal layer, inner, mid and outer layer would be the minimum to ensure a reduction of heat loss. Fladen does make a 3 in 1 jacket and trousers which is an alternative, but this jacket worn with the appropriate number of layers will keep the wearer warm. 
 
The trousers are a large size and I can wear a thermal layer and a pair of chinos or jeans under the trousers with ease, and there is still plenty of freedom of movement to be had. 
 
My first thoughts when I saw the trousers was that I was uncertain about the belt clip. It looked flimsy and I thought I would be replacing it. However, on wearing the trousers I realised why the clip was small: it is so that it does not impede movement, and get in the wearer’s way. When wearing clothing in demanding conditions, any equipment that is large and bulky causes discomfort, and so the clip on the trouser belt is small and discrete. It does the job but also I was not aware of it when I was moving around. I was impressed with this seemingly insubstantial but crucial foresight on the part of the designers. Additionally, the wearer would be wearing some under trousers which would have its own belt, so to wear two belts could impede movement, therefore this clip is a winner. 
 
The pockets are a good size, and the thigh pockets secured by velcro means access is easy without compromising integrity. They could easily accommodate a map, compass, knife or mobile without affecting the trouser shape. The velcro ankle straps were essential in the torrential weather we have experienced recently. I wore walking boots, calf high boots and winter work boots and they all remained dry above the trouser hem thanks to the straps. 
 
I must highlight, however, that if I wore these to walk through a river or stream then the trousers would get wet. They are for surface use - i.e. for use when above the water and not IN the water. Different clothing would be required for total immersion activities. This is an important consideration when choosing clothing and equipment.
 

Verdict

 
I have worn the combined jacket and trousers in some of the worst weather the UK has experienced in years: Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge; and during these conditions the Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers have been my clothing of choice when venturing out. I have worn them when out walking, and hiking in rough terrain. I have worn them to meetings, sports activities, and general activities. On every occasion, I have found the clothing to be lightweight, rugged, warm, waterproof and windproof and they have offered protection to me when the elements have been at their most demanding. The jacket and trousers would be ideal for hiking, walking, hunting, fishing and even for general activities when conditions are unpleasant. 
 
The rubber zippers are of note, so too the hood. Often areas of weakness, the Fladen designers have not only addressed these but delivered a solution that not only works practically but is stylish too. Particularly, I like the comfort. Wearing waterproof trousers is often a chore and a last resort for many when conditions get so wet as they are uncomfortable and hinder movement. The Fladen trousers are a pleasure to wear: comfortable, lightweight, not bulky to wear, and most importantly keeps the wearer dry. 
 
These are four-season clothing: I would wear these in the depths of winter with plenty of layers beneath. I would also wear these in a June squall when the humidity is high and I need to keep dry. Rarely have I found clothing that would be my choice in any season, but Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers tick all the boxes and surpass all my expectations.
 

View the whole Fladen range available at oneoceantec.co.uk

 

 

Meuryn Hughes
Contributor
Published on 2020-03-09