When you live in a country where it seemingly rarely rains, reviewing a waterproof jacket can be difficult. But while I'm an Alpine resident these days my old UK habits die hard, and it is rare that I go out on the hill without a shell in my bag; things go wrong, and a waterproof jacket is one of few items of clothing that is also properly windproof.
Being both light - 340g size M - and properly waterproof, the Haglofs Roc Sheer GTX jacket is the perfect climber's just-in-case shell to live in the bottom of your bag. But for 2-3 season sue it's pretty decent when you get it on, too.
I've mostly used this jacket as either a turbo windproof to keep me warm on blustery days when the team is moving slow at high altitude, or to keep me dry on soggy hut walks. The 2.5 layer Gore-Tex Paclite fabric is properly windproof, waterproof enough - like any jacket I'm sure if I took it somewhere wet enough for long enough (say the West Coast of Scotland in November) I'd get wet whilst wearing it - and seems as breathable as any other waterproof jacket I've used in recent years.
The 2.5 layer fabric is less durable than 3 layer fabrics, but it is both lighter and cheaper. It does require more care, and annoyingly I have made a small rip on the inside of the fabric, which I didn't notice doing. The 20 denier face fabric feels soft, but seems tougher than I'd expect, and is also quieter than crisper jackets I've used in the past.
The jacket has two Napoleon style chest pockets, which is my preference on a climbing jacket, as I like to store things in my pockets rather than use them to keep my hands warm. The jacket can be folded into one of these pockets, which would be handy if you wanted to clip it to your harness in case of an afternoon shower.
The cuffs have substantial Velcro tabs which are easy to operate whilst wearing gloves. The unwired hood is big enough to go over a helmet, and works well, even with the larger than average helmet I'm currently using. It also has a Recco reflector, which is handy for finding your body, if you die in an avalanche.
The main zip is a chunky YKK vislon, that is reasonably water resistant. It has a press stud at the bottom. I would question if this is necessary on a lightweight, or indeed any, waterproof.
I opted for a slightly drab navy and royal blue combo - which I thought was the best of a bad bunch, colour-wise, and would describe it as old school at best. I was surprised by the colour choices, in the past I'd always liked Haglof's Scandi block colours.
I'm 180cm and opted for a size large, which I normally go for to get sufficient length in the body. I also prefer to size up in waterproofs as I like to be able to add layers on under them. The jacket is well cut and when climbing I find that the hem stays tucked into my harness - a real pet hate of mine.
The Roc Sheer jacket is a good lightweight waterproof, perfect for unforecast emergency downpours, or for keeping you warm in a biting northerly wind. The 2.5 layer fabric is less robust than a 3-layer equivalent, meaning I would not recommend this jacket for planned all day use. Price wise its original £380 was very much on the expensive side for a light shell, when you could get a Rab Latok Paclite jacket for £250, which would do a very similar job. However, as a sping/summer 2023 model the Roc Sheer is now available at a substantial discount, which puts it more in line with the competition.