The SALEWA Puez Tirolwool Celliant Half Zip Jacket (phew!) is a pull-on style jacket that uses a unique wool blend as insulation. I can best describe it as a heavy mid-layer: it's much warmer, more water resistant and protective than a fleece, but it's still slimmer and more athletically-cut than a full duvet jacket.
It's nice to see something novel in a piece of outdoor clothing. The Puez (as I'll call it) features SALEWA's new Tirolwool Celliant insulation which is a blend of 40% Tirolwool - wool from sheep resident in South Tyrol at 2000m - and 60% Celliant, a polyester made from mostly recycled yarns. Wool from mountain sheep has greater insulating properties, according to Salewa, while the artificial component is said to include 'thermo-reflective' properties. I can't speak for the science, but in use this does result in an insulation which keeps you rather warm without being bulky, and which doesn't curl up into a ball at the first sight of rain (down, I'm looking at you...).
Warmth and Insulation
The Puez does a good job of retaining the heat which you produce whilst you're active. It's quite a slim piece so when you put it on initially you don't get that 'big warm hug' feeling, but once you get going it keeps you warm. Indeed, you can quickly get quite hot when you're very active so it's best suited to strenuous activities, like slogging up a steep hill, only when it's really cold. When it's merely chilly you're better off wearing it for less vigorous activities, such as trad climbing at a windy Stanage or going for a relaxed walk.
This does present a bit of a conundrum when wearing the Puez: it's not quite a full-on jacket as it's much slimmer and features less insulation, but neither is it a usual mid-layer, like a fleece, because it really does get quite warm. This is perhaps best illustrated with an example: At the start of a chilly January, walking up the Old Man of Coniston, I was quite happy setting off in the Puez. However, once things got a bit steeper and I started to get hotter the Puez was too hot whereas I would have been OK in a thin fleece. Stopping briefly at Low Water the Puez was great as it easily retained the heat I'd generated whilst walking. However, once up on the top of the Old Man, where things were a bit windier and snowier, had we wanted to stop I would have wanted a thicker jacket to keep me warm.
This is not to criticise the Puez, it's just that you need to choose the right activity to fully benefit from it. I think it's best descibed as a heavy mid-layer as it sits somewhere between mid-layer and jacket. And at 587g (size L) it is certainly on the heavy side for a midlayer!
Waterproofing and Outer
The Puez is a really good choice as a 'heavy mid-layer' not only because it's warmer than a traditional fleece but also because it's far more water resistant. The outer is a nylon rip-stop shell which repels all but heavy rain and it doesn't soak through too quickly, so being caught in a shower is not a problem. The water beads nicely and I've found there aren't any 'wet spots' where water comes through.
The stretch nylon rip-stop fabric feels like it will do what it says on the tin. Compared to some of the more fragile feeling outers you tend to get on similar-sized thin down and synthetic insulated jackets, the Puez feels like it could take a few scrapes from a sharp rock or inconvenient tree. In that sense it's well suited to climbing.
The Puez is a pull-on with a three-quarter length zip. Whether or not this works for you comes down to whether or not you like pull-on style jackets. Initially I wasn't a fan - it is less convenient to take it on and off than a regular zipped jacket and with the large 'pouch' pocket on the front, everything would drop out of your pockets when pullng the jacket over your head, unless you zipped them right up. If you plan to wear the Peuz for a long period it's no problem but if you're constantly changing your layers, or taking it on and off because you're getting too hot, it can be a bit annoying. It also puts it out of the running as a 'casual' jacket for me - taking it on and off when getting in the car, sitting down in a restaurant etc is too much of a faff. This is a shame as it is actually a really smart looking jacket. However, after using the Puez for a while I got used to this pull-over style. Now I don't mind it and it does contribute to the athletic fit of the jacket and perhaps enables it to retain a bit more heat. The flipside is that it's less easy to dump all that heat. If you know that you like smock style tops you can ignore the above and put this down as a marmite-type issue!
Mine is a medium, my usual size with jackets and mid-layers, but it's really quite snug: I would recommend going up a size if you want complete freedom of movement and the ability to layer it over other tops. That said, if you want to wear it strictly as a mid-layer then sticking to your current size may be fine and, given how athetically cut the jacket is, it doesn't exactly restrict movement. I think that my Puez being a bit tight does exacerbate the issue I've had with it being a pull-over - as a result it's harder to pull on and the jacket twists up every time I put it on, requiring a bit of a wiggle to loosen it up again.
The athetlic fit is well done. The Puez fits cloesly to your body and there is little bulk. It is also cut very well, meaning that you can easily move your upper body around even though the jacket is tight. This means it's a good option for chilly rock climbing and of course winter or Alpine climbing.
The Puez has a few good features. The hood is really nice and snug. You won't be winning any style awards with it up, but it does keep you really warm as firstly it hugs your head trapping in heat and secondly it covers the outside of your face keeping any wind, rain or snow away. This is facilitated by the elasticated cuffs, hood and hem (these stand out in grey in the photos). These are all serve to make the Puez tight-fitting around any potentially exposed areas, which enhances its warmth and weatherproofing to help make it extremely effective given its size and weight.
The Puez has two glove pockets inside the body which given how effectively the Puez retains your body heat are very good for keeping your gloves warm. It also has a zip pocket on the chest. I feel like I shouldn't need to mention this but occasionally you get a jacket which doesn't have a chest pocket at all - madness!
Finally it also has a stuff-sack in its pouch pocket which it stuffs into easily. This is always a nice feature as you can clip it to the back of your harness and it makes it easier to travel with, but I couldn't see myself using the Puez as a belay jacket as it would just be too much trouble to put on at a belay stance. The pouch pocket itself is worth a mention. It does give you more 'pocket volume' and I suppose that it fits with the pull-on style of the jacket, but I don't see any big advantage to it.
Wool is rarely used in today's outdoor clothing, but Salewa have put it to good use here, and this helps the Puez feel impressively warm and weatherproof for its size and weight. In some situations it's arguably a better option than a traditional down jacket of a similar size, being both more durable and better performing in damp conditions. I think it's quite a specialised piece, however, which falls somewhere between a mid-layer and a jacket, and it works best with certain activites rather than as a do-it-all piece of clothing. Then there's the price. Its use of wool, and general build quality, might justify the cost, but the fact remains that £225 is quite a lot to spend on a beefed-up midlayer. You may well find it on reduced price if you shop around. It's not ideal for every activity, maybe, but for winter walks and chilly days at the crag the Puez has a lot going for it.
The Puez Half Zip Jacket is a wind-resistant, water-repellent, packable alpine jacket for autumn and winter mountaineering, trekking and hiking, featuring TirolWool® Celliant® thermo-reflective insulation.
This breathable insulation fabric keeps you warm even when wet, while the lightweight, durable, stretch outer fabric has a PFC-free DWR finish and is certified as bluesign® approved. With a unique combination of insulation and stretch and abrasion-resistant fabrics, the Puez Half Zip Jacket's body mapping design meets the specific needs of different areas of the body.
Thanks to a special oxy-wash treatment, the wool is soft, odourless and breathable. The benefits of TirolWool® Celliant® never wear off or wash out since they are embedded in the fibres.
- Main material: Nylon stretch 2W pure eco DWR 75 BS ( 94%PA 6%EA )
- Insulation: TIROL WOOL® CELLIANT® 60
- Free motion patterning ensures no hem-lift while climbing
- Ergonomic sleeves and shoulders for a good fit
- Smooth side with no seams
- Insulation positioned to meet needs of different areas of the body
- Two way front zipper for ventilation
- Zipped chest pocket, 2 front pockets & 2 large mesh inner pockets
- Insulated fitted hood with integrated collar
- Elasticated tight cuff for snow protection
- One-hand elastic hem adjustment
- Optimal moisture transport to avoid chill effect
- Reduced stitching for clean finished look
- With bluesign® approved fabric
- Price: £225
- Weight: 587g (size L)
- Sizes: XS-XXL (men's only)
For more info see salewa.com