Dave takes the Finisterre Nimbus away from the ocean and into the mountains. A great synth jacket for all mountain advenures.
For those of you who have never heard of Finisterre it’s famous for three things: it’s legendary surfing, the furthest point of the Compstella de Santiago Pilgrimage (the famous long distance Spanish footpath) and the UK clothing company. Many of you may have heard of the first two but not the third. Finisterre are a UK clothing company that is based in Cornwall, they produce sustainable clothing with a strong ethical pedigree and have their roots in the surfing scene. I like to think of them as a Cornish Patagonia and they have a full range of lifestyle and water sports clothing. We recently highlighted that the company had achieved B Corp status, which is very commendable and immediately bought their attention to us. B-Corp ensure that all the products you buy adhere to strict ethical and sustainable principles in all aspects of manufacturing and supply.
There are a few of their items, however, that are well worth looking at from a mountain perspective and in this review we have decided to take a closer look at the Nimbus insulated jacket. The Finisterre Nimbus is a synthetic fill insulated jacket that is well suited for the damp environment it was designed for. Here in the UK down doesn’t work as well as synthetic as our climate is mostly wet and windy! For climbing and guiding I also find synthetic more useful as it’s a more robust material and for general wear I like the fact that you can just chuck it into the washing machine with everything else (no special wash needed really – or at least in the 25 years I’ve been using them). What differentiates the Finisterre Nimbus is the amount of recycled content it’s using.
The outer shell of the jacket is made using 100% recycled ripstop polyester and the fill uses Primaloft Silver Eco, which again is made using 70% post consumer recycled fibres. That doesn’t mean that the whole jacket is made from recycled materials, that would be difficult to achieve at present, but it’s definitely as good as it gets. The jacket arrived from Finisterre in paper packaging and fully recyclable plastic bags that were kept to a minimum. What’s more, the jacket looks great and performs well. The outer has a Flurocarbon free dry water repellent treatment that is good enough to repel a very light shower and a little dripping ice or spindrift, but it soon wet out in anything other than that. I did stay warm though in the jacket even in some quite heavy rain and it was very warm as soon as I put a hardshell over the top, in fact I got too warm so I didn’t wear that combination too often. The horizontal baffling also keeps the insulation well distributed throughout the jacket. So, the choice of materials is great and performed well.
The cut of the Finisterre Nimbus is slim and worked well as a belay jaket as well as to climb or hike in, if needed. It worked at its best as a belay jacket or a jacket to throw over everything else at the crag, on the hill or for general wear. It is definitely a jacket to wear often and you will find yourself doing to if you decided to buy one. The hood is helmet compatible and adjusts with two shock cords located just under the chin. These are loosened with two press cord locks buried in the jacket and located just by your lips, I found the hood easy to loosen by pressing the cord locks and tilting my head back. The hood is very roomy and you need to adjust carefully in windy conditions to prevent it blowing back over your head all the time. I liked best in combination with a peaked cap as it was too warm to wear with a woolly hat for extended use on the move. The stated weight is 475g and the trusty CGR scales weighed a size Medium in at 462g so it won’t break your back when carrying it. This is achieved by some simple yet effective mapping with the main body having 80g/m2 and 60g/m2 of insulation on the sleeves, hood and side panels.
The lining on the Nimbus is made using 100% Polymide (a great material that has durability and good wicking properties). It worked really well and one of the best linings I’ve used on an insulated jacket! This small detail is not to be sniffed at if you have spent ages trying to get a jacket on (and most importantly off) with damp jackets and gloves on. It can be a real pain and I’ve often found that I have to remove a jacket when on a belay by removing it inside out. The slippery nature of the lining on the Nimbus meant I never had to do that, even with wet fleece and even wet climbing gloves (which is brilliant as it’s the cuffs that are the worst offenders most often) so in this small, but significant detail puts the Finisterre Nimbus up there with much more expensive and dedicated belay jackets. The cuffs are elasticated and the sleeves are easy to get on and off using gloves – which is very important for climbers and hikers. They are nicely concealed which makes for good lifestyle wear down the climbing wall or pub.
The Finisterre Nimbus uses a reversed YKK coil zip for the main body, this helps with the wind resistance it is also backed up with a windflap that is reinforced with taped webbing. The zip is finished off with a suedette Finsterre pull tab. The hem is also finished with taped webbing and a shock corded adjuster to cinch the hem up against the cold. The jacket also has two large, microfleeced lined handwarmer pockets that worked well at keeping my hands warm and dry, the pockets would be further improved by the addition of zips. This would help improve security of items such as gloves, hats, food and all the other paraphernalia that you keep in pockets. It would also keep the jacket streamlined for wearing with a climbing harness.
Finally the stow pocket is very generous which makes packing the Nimbus a breeze and the double tabbed zip made for easy zipping. The yellow tab is bar tacked for added security but could do with a beefed up version as losing the jacket on a winter route would be disasterous! An easy fix. The stow pocket is situated at the bottom of the lining, Finisterre state that this is placed to help make the Nimbus more comfortable when wearing a pack. It would be much better situated up at chest level where it would be more accessible as the size is great for stashing belay gloves in, another easy fix if they wish to do so.
So, in conclusion the Finisterre Nimbus jacket is a great insulated jacket that has strong sustainable credentials, it’s light and versatile for mountain use and a great all round lifestyle jacket that I’ve worn loads over the winter. For technical mountain use it need a few minor and easy to fix adjustments to the pockets and it’s not going to stand a day on The Ben in February spindrift gnarl. But for Spring, Summer and Autumn mountain adventures it’s great. Hopefully Finisterre will continue to break into the mountain activity clothing as it’s yet another great British success story that is worth supporting and the price bracket competes with all good performance wear.
The Finisterre Nimbus jacket is available in sizes S – XXL and three colours. The Women’s version is available in sizes 8 -16 with the same three colour choices.
SRP £180 and available direct from Finisterre.