On first appearance the Icarus Stretch has the look of a regular micro insulated hooded jacket with a stylish build up of diagonal panels. However, it didn’t take long to see the key addition of stretch panels along the jacket sides and under the arms, giving this jacket an extra dimension. This allowed us to trial it across a range of mountaineering disciplines including high mountain walking, cross country skiing, mountain biking and climbing snow gullies.
When wearing the Icarus it is a slim fit that is held close to the body by the stretch panels, whether when wearing a thin top underneath, or a couple of mid weight merino layers on colder days. Importantly, there is plenty of room and give under the arms allowing unconstrained free movement. At six foot tall and a slim build, the medium version of the jacket tried by our lead guide, was a perfect fit and, notably, the back was long enough to protect the body to the bottom of the spine.
The hood is of similar construction and material as the main body and fits well to the head with the aid of an elasticated edge around the face. This stays in place even in strong winds and has enough volume and shape to fit over a beanie as well as being snug enough to be worn underneath a helmet. Within the range of activities we tried the jacket in, the hood never ‘pulled’ or felt constraining.
The key insulating material of the Icarus Stretch is the innovative and well tested synthetic PrimaLoft Thermo Plume. This gives the loft and warmth of traditional down with the added advantages of retaining heat whilst wet, drying quickly, easy to machine wash and has great environmental credentials of being sourced from recycled polyester. The stretch panels are made from Stria Lite Stretch fleece. This moves well to the body’s shape whilst offering warmth and high breathability in keys areas. The outer is made from Pertex Quatum ECO which is classed as DWR [Durable Water Resistant]. This stood up well to days of snow and very light showers but should not be seen as waterproof.
Additional features of the jacket are two side pockets for warming hands and elasticated cuffs around the wrists which worked well in keeping the arms from riding up. Draw pulls could be added to the hood and hem but we found the simplicity of the elastic edges and stretch of the Stria Lite kept the jacket snug and in place even in the harshest of conditions. The full length YKK works well, never jammed or snagged. The addition of a larger pull on the zip would help when wearing gloves but is something that could be personalised quickly by anyone needing this feature. Overall, the minimalist design of the Icarus Stretch is one of its key strengths, helping to keep highly functionality without unnecessary features to clutter its use.
Throughout the full range of situations we were able to test the jacket in, it performed brilliantly either as a mid layer or, when working hard, as an outer layer in its own right. The Icarus is warm, breathable, generally windproof and offers efficient unconstrained movement, even when stretching and lifting arms above the head. Weighing in at 470g for a medium it is easy to stash in a bag and makes a great addition for a multitude of activities where speed and low weight matter. This is a very well made jacket of high quality and, although tested throughout the late autumn and winter months, the Icarus is definitely a jacket we could see fitting in to all season use.
Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...