The Sprayway Scorpion

The Sprayway Scorpion

Price: £200 (women’s Calyx version £180)
Weight: 940g (Calyx 698g)
Colours: black, cyan, red (Calyx ruby, dark graphite, red)

Sprayway’s Scorpion pitches in at the top end of the company’s range, with a claim to be a full-on mountain jacket capable of coping with the worst weather Britain’s hills can throw at a walker.

So what do you get for the £200 typical price of the jacket?

It’s certainly no lightweight, tipping the scales at about 940g, with the women’s version the Calyx £20 cheaper and 250g or so lighter.

But by eschewing the lightweight route, Sprayway has been able to design a fully featured garment, which feels up to the job of seeing off winter weather.

The outer shell is a fairly stiff fabric and ours came in black, with inner hood features in two contrasting shades of green, a theme carried on down the lining of the main zip’s storm flap.

It has small reflective features on the shoulders and on the Velcro cuff adjusters.

The Scorpion features Gore-Tex’s Performance Shell and is rated by Gore for extreme wet weather conditions. We wore it in some of the heaviest rain and with driving winds, as well as in a blizzard on a Yorkshire Dales felltop and it kept us completely dry.

Its two-layer construction is supplemented by a part mesh, part solid lining. The armpits and upper back are mesh, allowing better body-vapour transfer, but in decidedly cool and wet weather, the jacket afforded a modicum of warmth as well as waterproofing due to its beefy construction. That’s not to say it will provide all the warming necessary on the winter hills but it does supplement a layering system.

The Scorpion coped well with a felltop blizzard

The Scorpion coped well with a felltop blizzard

All the Scorpion’s zips are similarly beefy – there are no slick water-resistant ones to be seen. The main front zip is covered by a storm flap with press-studs top and bottom and Velcro at points along its length to keep the flap in place and water out.

The jacket has pockets galore, with four large exterior ones, again with flaps to ensure waterproofness. There are two each side of the chest, with the inner ones fully lined – useful as a Napoleon-style setup to keep hands warm when stationary. These have big tabs on their pullers, ideal for when wearing gloves. The outer pockets are mesh lined and have just conventional zip pullers.

Inside the main storm flap is a large map pocket, which easily accommodates a folded, laminated OS map with space to spare.

There is also a small inside zipped pocket in the lining, big enough to take a mobile phone or GPS unit.

All the pocket openings are high enough on the chest to clear the hip belt of a rucksack.

The jacket has two roomy zipped chest pockets on each side

The jacket has two roomy zipped chest pockets on each side

The coat has long pit zips under each sleeve, with double zips meaning they can be opened either from the top or the bottom to provide ventilation under the arms.

Both the bottom hem of the jacket and the waist have adjusters which allow cinching of the coat, with the waist drawcord’s adjustment made via sliders tucked neatly away in the outer chest pockets.

The hood, which has a wired peak, is adjustable both at the sides, again via hidden drawcord adjusters and for volume by a drawcord at the rear.

Although Sprayway says the hood is compatible with helmets, it is very snug indeed over a typical climbing helmet, with the main zip only just able to be taken to the top of its range while wearing a helmet.

In reality, most will find they have to leave the zip slightly lowered to achieve comfort as the hood itself is not really that roomy.

Another problem with the hood is that, either with a helmet on or with the hood cinched fairly tight to keep out the weather, the zip puller combines with the top press-stud to dig into the chin through a lightly padded chin guard, which makes the hood fairly uncomfortable in this combination.

Slackening the rear volume adjuster helps but then the wearer risks allowing wind and weather in.

When not in use, the hood can be folded in neatly using the snapaway feature, combining Velcro patches with two poppers to keep the hood out of the way.

At the rear of the neck is soft, almost fleece-like lining which is warm and comfortable but, after a few weeks of use, was showing the first signs of pilling.

The Scorpion's hood is difficult to adjust comfortably

The Scorpion's hood is difficult to adjust comfortably

It’s a shame the hood design doesn’t match up to the rest of the clearly well-thought-out jacket and a revisiting of the detail and a little more volume would improve this area significantly.

Overall, it is clear a lot of thought has gone into the design of the waterproof. It’s good looking, and looks equally at home keeping out the weather on the streets of Ambleside or Fort William as on the summit of the surrounding mountains.

The jacket’s colour combinations are attractive and design touches such as matching green bar-tacks at various points, subtle lettering detail and nicely thought-out features such as articulated sleeves help pitch this jacket at those who want to look good as well as have a waterproof that performs.

The Scorpion has a solid feel and performed well. There is plenty of freedom of movement when scrambling about on rocky sections of hills. The coat shed the rain and snow reassuringly and, although its full-on lining means it won’t be the coolest jacket if you’re undertaking strenuous activity, it will certainly keep out the British weather.

The jacket follows a continuation of a traditional approach to waterproofs: there are no ultra-thin materials, lightweight zips and other weight-saving features. Sprayway’s top end winter waterproof pitches at the hillgoer who wants the security of a pretty bombproof coat that will keep out the worst weather that Britain’s uplands can throw at the walker.

It is packed with nice features and is good looking, as well as being priced competitively for a winter waterproof.

Versatile enough to be of use in all but the warmest of weather, the Scorpion kept us dry and warm on the hills and is smart enough to be worn around town too.

Cuff detail

Cuff detail




Bulkier than some

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