The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Fjallraven High Coast - Women's Review

A cute but functional urban windbreaker.
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Price:  $170 List | $67.98 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stylish, good wind protection, double zipper, good hood fit
Cons:  Non-technical, not very water resistant, not compressible
Manufacturer:   Fjallraven
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 26, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Wind Resistance - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 10% 8
  • Water Resistance - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Fjallraven High Coast is a stylish windbreaker that does a great job of being that extra layer between urban winds whipping between buildings and your carefully crafted outfit. We love the slight feminine cut, functional pockets, and surprising utility of this waxed cotton jacket. Though it's not a technical layer and won't protect you from much more than a few minutes of spring showers, it's perfectly at home walking into your office building after a bike commute.

If you want a more technical option that offers more breathability, weighs less, and is still pretty versatile, the Black Diamond Alpine Start is our Top Pick for Versatility.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Stylish, good wind protection, double zipper, good hood fitHelmet compatible, lightweight, extremely packable, dries quicklyMany pockets, more waterproof, excellent wind protection, snap to allow unzipping during wearVery flexible, flattering fit, long torso, comfortable cuffWide cuffs, large back vent, comfortable fabric, bold color options
Cons Non-technical, not very water resistant, not compressibleNot the most waterproof, can see through thin fabricElastic cuffs harsh, thin fabric can be seen through, large packed sizeGets wet very easily, thicker fabric is heavierDoesn't pack into it's own pocket, short fit is harder to layer, sleeves on the short side
Bottom Line A cute but functional urban windbreaker.A truly featherweight model that continues to impress, combining excellent performance with great value.A blend of minimalist design and technical features, this jacket offers solid protection from the elements.This comfortable jacket will keep you protected and stylish, from climbing with friends to hanging at the coffee shop.A functional jacket with a sporty-chic vibe.
Rating Categories High Coast Patagonia Houdini - Women's Rab Vital Hoody - Women's Alpine Start Windrunner Woven
Wind Resistance (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Breathability (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight And Packability (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
5
Versatility (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
Water Resistance (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
Totals (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs High Coast Patagonia Houdini... Rab Vital Hoody -... Alpine Start Windrunner Woven
Weight (oz) 10 1.2 5 6.7 7.4
Material Waxed: 54% Polyamide, 46% Cotton 100% nylon ripstop with DWR (durable water repellent) finish Hyperlite and nylon outer Schoeller® stretch-woven nylon with NanoSphere® Technology 100% polyester
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest 1 chest 2 hand, 1 inner zip and 2 inner open-top 1 chest 2 hand
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cuffs Elastic Half elastic Half elestic Elastic Elastic
Stuffs Into Pocket No Yes Yes Yes No
Safety Reflective Material None Reflective logo on front and back Reflective logo on front and back None None
Fit Relaxed fit Slim fit Regular fit Slim fit High-rise fit

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Fjallraven High Coast is a zippered, hooded windbreaker made of waxed cotton/polyamide. It features a feminine cut, full-sized hand pockets, and a zippered chest pocket.

Performance Comparison



The High Coast is stylish enough for walking through suburbia and functional enough for laid-back adventures.
The High Coast is stylish enough for walking through suburbia and functional enough for laid-back adventures.

Wind Resistance


Unlike any of the other models we tested, the Fjallraven High Coast is made of waxed cotton/polyamide. The waxed fabric does a pretty good job at blocking wind and can be strengthened by adding additional Greenland wax. It has a well-fitting hood with the ability to cinch it closed, and elastic sleeve cuffs to help block a stray breeze. The bottom hem does have a cinch on it as well, but we couldn't get it to stay tight because of the thickness of the fabric. However, the feminine cut and full-sized hand pockets help keep you warm on a chilly day. The zipper also features a wind flap inside and the collar zips up enough to cover your chin.

Hood cinches let you tighten this down against a the cold.
Hood cinches let you tighten this down against a the cold.

Breathability


The High Coast isn't our first choice for high-output activities. The waxed cotton/polyamide is thick and not overly comfortable for excessive motion - a bit like a thin canvas feel. Like most jackets we tested, the Fjallraven has no vent. However, the fabric does breathe better than the models we tested with a DWR finish to keep out water and is about right for a bike commute or long walk.

Warm enough for a crisp spring afternoon.
Warm enough for a crisp spring afternoon.

Weight & Packability


This is one of only three jackets we tested that doesn't pack into one of its own pockets (the others are the Columbia Flash Forward Lined and Nike Windrunner). The waxed material isn't particularly compressible, and at 10 ounces, this is the second heaviest option we tested. It's much better suited to hanging in your closet than being stuffed into a backpack. Though if you wore it to work in the morning and don't want it for the bicycle ride home in the afternoon, it isn't too bad to stuff into the bottom of your bag.

This jacket is a bit thick and incompressible to be super compactable  but we love the comfortable protection it offers.
This jacket is a bit thick and incompressible to be super compactable, but we love the comfortable protection it offers.

Versatility


As a non-technical jacket, we don't strongly recommend this option for your next backpacking or climbing trip. However, if it's all you have, it could work in a pinch for more relaxed outdoor endeavors. It has more pockets than many jackets we tested, including full-sized hand pockets and a single chest pocket. The double zipper feature is handy for sitting and helps keep you comfortable on the bus or in the car. And though we wouldn't make this our first choice for extreme outdoor adventures, it provides a level of style that we think is unmatched by any other windbreaker we tested. While most the technical jackets look a little out of place in a professional office building, the Fjallraven blends right in, over the cute outfit you carefully picked out that morning.

The double zipper helps stop the High Coast from ballooning out awkwardly while you sit.
The double zipper helps stop the High Coast from ballooning out awkwardly while you sit.

Water Resistance


This is the least impressive feature of the High Coast. It stands up okay in a simple shower or a few minutes of light rain, but the waxed cotton-polyamide can only take so much before it gets soaked. More than any other windbreaker we tested, this one gets wet the easiest. The thicker fabric also takes a bit more to dry - we found that when the outside looked dry, it still felt a bit damp, which makes us think the inside of the material is still holding onto water for a bit longer. You can increase the water and wind resistance of the Fjallraven by adding more Greenland wax, though this process is much more time consuming than the simple tech-wash solution of other windbreakers.

Caught in a ten minute spring downpour  the High Coast quickly took on water  though our clothes underneath stayed mostly dry.
Caught in a ten minute spring downpour, the High Coast quickly took on water, though our clothes underneath stayed mostly dry.

Best Applications


The Fjallraven High Coast is a fashion-meets-function kind of jacket. It blends wind resistance and breathability with reasonably low weight and high versatility. We think it's a great choice for urban environments and situations where looks matter. If you like the versatility but also want to be able to take your windbreaker hiking or bouldering, we recommend the more technical, but still cute, Black Diamond Alpine Start.

Protection against the wind and style without all the techy-looking features.
Protection against the wind and style without all the techy-looking features.

Value


Retailing for $170, the High Coast is the most expensive jacket we tested. If you want a windbreaker that works well without making you look like a gearhead, this may be a price you're willing to pay. The more versatile and more technical Alpine Start is only a few dollars cheaper, but is equally at home rappeling off a mountain as it is in a coffee shop. If you like a more unique look, consider our Best Buy award winner, the Cotopaxi Teca.

Conclusion


The Fjallraven High Coast is a stylish windbreaker that does a good job keeping you warmer in a cool wind without making you look too technical for a professional setting. What it lacks in technical features and extreme functions, it makes up for with everyday utility and style. While not the cheapest jacket we tested, if you like the look of this flattering option, we think you'll also appreciate the protection and style it provides.

Hanging out with the doggo no matter the weather.
Hanging out with the doggo no matter the weather.


Maggie Brandenburg