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Fjallraven High Coast - Women's Review

A cute but functional urban windbreaker with unique construction and great style
Fjallraven High Coast - Women's
Photo: Fjallraven
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Price:  $175 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 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  ⋅  Jun 24, 2021
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Wind Resistance - 30% 6
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 4
  • Versatility - 10% 7
  • 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.

High Coast Jacket Updated
Fjallraven has made slight updates to this model since our last test cycle. Get the details below.

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Pros Stylish, good wind protection, double zipper, good hood fitLightweight, very breathable, comfortable fit & feel, flexible, great cuffsHelmet compatible, lightweight, extremely packable, dries quicklyMany pockets, more waterproof, excellent wind protection, snap to allow unzipping during wearDecently wind resistant, moderate precipitation protection, lightweight, less expensive
Cons Non-technical, not very water resistant, not compressibleSlim fit difficult to layer, not ideal for really cold windNot the most waterproof, can see through thin fabricElastic cuffs harsh, thin fabric can be seen through, large packed sizeSleeves a bit short, small pockets, sloppy construction
Bottom Line A cute but functional urban windbreaker with unique construction and great styleA highly breathable, protective, and packable layer that will keep you moving whatever the weatherA true featherweight model that continues to impress, combining excellent performance with great valueA blend of minimalist design and technical features, this jacket offers solid protection from the elements at a reasonable priceA simple, casual jacket that's best for mild days and small budgets
Rating Categories Fjallraven High Coast Patagonia Houdini Air Patagonia Houdini -... Rab Vital Hoody - W... SoTeer Waterproof H...
Wind Resistance (30%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Breathability (30%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Weight And Packability (20%)
4.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
Versatility (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Water Resistance (10%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Fjallraven High Coast Patagonia Houdini Air Patagonia Houdini -... Rab Vital Hoody - W... SoTeer Waterproof H...
Weight (oz) 10.0 oz 3.4 oz 3.1 oz 4.3 oz 6.6 oz
Material 54% polyamide, 46% cotton, wax coating 90% nylon (51% recycled), 10% polyester double weave with DWR treatment 100% nylon ripstop with DWR (durable water repellent) treatment Hyperlite and nylon outer 95% polyester, 5% spandex
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest 1 chest 1 chest 2 hand, 1 inner zip and 2 inner open-top 2 hand
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cuffs Elastic Half elastic Half elastic Half elastic Elastic
Stuffs Into Pocket No Yes Yes Yes No
Safety Reflective Material None Reflective front logo Reflective logo on front and back Reflective logo on front and back None
Fit Relaxed fit Slim fit Slim fit Regular fit Relaxed fit

Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated High Coast


Fjallraven tweaked some aspects of this jacket since we last tested it for this review. It's now made with recycled polyamide and organic cotton, and the hood was tweaked to be a bit snugger. The logo has also been updated. Otherwise, the jacket we tested (below, left) is virtually identical to the updated version (below, right).

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Performance Comparosn


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.

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

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 down against the cold.
Hood cinches let you tighten down against the cold.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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 High Coast 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.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Weight & Packability


This is one of only three jackets we tested that doesn't pack into one of its own pockets. 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 it into the bottom of your bag.

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

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 of the technical jackets look a little out of place in a professional office building, the High Coast blends right in over the cute outfit you carefully picked out that morning.

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

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 almost any other windbreaker we tested, this one gets wet very easily. The thicker fabric also takes a lot more time 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 even longer. You can increase the water and wind resistance of the High Coast by adding more Greenland wax, though this process is much more time-consuming than the simple tech-wash solution of many other windbreakers.

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

Value


The High Coast is one of the most expensive jackets 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. However, if you're in the market for a technical piece or a windbreaker for strenuous exercise and intense activities, this is certainly not worth its price.

Protection against the wind and style without all the techy-looking...
Protection against the wind and style without all the techy-looking features.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Maggie Brandenburg