I’ve been testing out the Fortuna Jacket since before Christmas.
In that time, I’ve worn it daily for my cold early morning commute, shoved it on over the top of my kit on the summit of a frozen Pen Y Fan, used it as warm kit in a Welsh wood block, used it along with other layers to substitute a sleeping bag (don’t ask 😂) and in a belay jacket role on a Scottish winter climbing trip.
It feels more robust to the touch than some of my climbing jackets – the outer fabric is micro ripstop and just feels slightly tougher than some, but what’s impressive is that’s not reflective of the weight. A large weighs in at only 600 grams.
With 180 GSM of insulation the Fortuna is not a mid-layer, it’s designed to be worn as what a climber / mountaineer would call a belay jacket and a soldier would call it simply “warm kit”.
It’s warm when wet (I’ve taken one for the team and wore it soaked) and is very warm indeed. On the subject of being wet, whilst its clearly not a waterproof it is surprisingly water resistant, it has a very good DWS coating on its outer and what’s really nice is this DWR has been made without the usual PFAS chemical which have been found to be toxic. So, you will be warm and environmentally friendly!
How warm? On the Cairngorm plateau in windchill of minus 20 and a whiteout I had the Fortuna on over just a Patagonia R1 fleece, and my hard-shell and I was just fine.
Features wise the pockets are all insulated – so will mean warm hands and the chest pocket does a good job of keeping my phone warm and therefore battery in a good state. Quality zips are used throughout, the hood has one adjustment that takes care of the whole lot nice and easy oh and the hood is helmet compatible whether you’re wearing something to protect from rockfall on a crag or shrapnel somewhere more hostile.
The fleece beard guard which you find on a few jackets of this type has been done so much better on the Fortuna- it runs the whole way round the collar and comes up higher than normal. The result is when the hood is up the fleece sits against my neck and my ears- a really nice touch
The cuffs use a stretch material that easily fits over my bigger mountaineering gloves and do not cause issues with my watch. They are comfy and keep the draughts out. The same stretch material is found on the back of the neck beneath the fleece mentioned above. This creates a seal and stops cold air getting down the back of your neck.
Like most belay jackets the Fortuna has two large mesh inner pockets for stashing your mitts or gloves and helping to dry these out between climbs. On a recent Scotland trip these were a godsend when swapping gloves to mitts and back again.
The jacket comes with a stuff sack, nice to see that said bag is not ridiculously small – you won’t struggle to get the jacket back into this bag and once inside it can still be squashed down a bit smaller within your pack. Taking it out the jak et quickly regains its loft and as you may know it’s the loft of your insulation that keeps you warm by trapping warm air.
Last on the list of features the jacket has matching colour Velcro on the arms in the bicep region. For those of you used to military jacket this may not seem like a surprising feature but what’s nice is that the Velcro is even present on the civilian colour jacket. My Fortuna is C2R’s Electric blue and is the only civilian jacket I have with Velcro on the sleeves. A nice touch as nowadays it’s not just soldiers that use Velcro patches. I’ve stuck our company patch on mine, but it also works well with small Velcro fixed strobes such as the Unity tactical Spark marker or S&S V-Lite – perfect for Search & Rescue etc.
Personally, I love this feature- I want a brightly coloured jacket for the hill but appreciate the Velcro. I Can also see this blue colour being good for those in roles where they don’t want to stand out as military or “tactical”, mountain rescue or even press in cold but non permissive environments where a little IFF on the sleeves may go a long way…
So, performance- what can I say, I’ve not been cold in this jacket yet, the coldest I’ve had it down to was minus 3, with snow falling and by end of that day with windchill was minus 20. Including the Fortuna, I was wearing three layers and I was warm.
Day to day use I can sling this on over just a cotton T shirt and be fine at around 0 degrees c… I have no doubts at all when this jacket is in my pack that I can keep myself warm in most conditions.
Fit and cut is excellent, no excessive materials, fit for me is spot on when worn over a t shirt casual but also fits perfectly straight over a couple of layers and my Gore-Tex jacket. Oh, and the cut is spot on for working with a climbing harness – no issues accessing my belay loop or gear and I’m pretty sure that would mean no issues with a first line/ shooters belt as well 😉
I mentioned the outer material feeling more robust? Well, when weather really turned on the Cairngorm plateau the safest option was to glissade straight down a gully to get off. ( glissade is just a nice mountaineer’s way of saying “slide down on your backside”)
I was still wearing the Fortuna and didn’t second guess it for a minute and after glissading a good 100 metres or so down a gully there was not a scratch on my jacket.
So good cut/fit, decent insulation level creating a very warm jacket , some really well thought out features as well as the features you expect to see on this sort of jacket and all executed with great quality . Oh and it looks good too!
The jacket is available in Ranger Green, Grey and Blue, I’m the first in the MDA team to get one but have a feeling I won’t be the last 😉