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Graphene X Alpha Series II Review Recco Rain Windbreaker Winter Jacket

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

A sleek, stealthy all-in-one jacket that keeps you warm, dry and protects you from wind! It only weighs 800 grams and folds down neatly about about the size of a thick jumper. The Graphene X Alpha Series II jacket has side zipper pockets - one on each side of the jacket. The side pockets zipper measures 20cm long and has a PU coat covering the coil teeth, making the Alpha Series II jacket side pockets fully waterproof. 


The side pockets zipper opens up via a single metal slider, which has a fabric cord pull tab looped around it. The pull tab integrates a small rubber tip at the end of it, which helps grip the pull tab securely with the fingers. The small rubber tip has Graphene X logo branded on it. Compared to a regular jacket, the Alpha Series II jacket side pockets are huge with a square shape construction measuring 26cm (10 inches) high, 26cm long and 9cm (3.5 inches) deep.


Inside the Alpha Series II jacket side pockets, you will also find an internal zipper (YKK 5CNG) that provides a pass-through opening to the inside of the jacket. This inner zipper measures 20cm long and opens up via a single metal slider. This zipper is not waterproof but has a reverse coil design (hidden teeth) which prevents dirt ingress.



On the front, left side of the Alpha Series II jacket there is a sternum zipper pocket, which is hidden under a guard flap. The zipper is 14cm long and coated with PU material to make it waterproof. It opens up via a single metal slider with fabric cord pull tab. The sternum zipper pocket is massive too, spanning down the sternum chest area up to the clavicle/ collar bone (approx. 33cm/33 inches high). The length/width of the sternum pocket is 17cm (7 inches) long with a 3 inch depth, which is deep enough to accommodation bulky items.


The main front zipper that opens the jacket is also waterproofed with PU rubber. Depending on the size you pick, a jacket will be naturally taller or shorter. Fit is very subjective and depends on other factors like length of the limbs, shoulder length, body mass, etc; not just height. That said, the Alpha Series II jacket seems to run a bit large specially on the arms, which isn't a deal breaker if you like your jackets being a little "baggy".

If you want a closer fit, you should go 1 or 2 sizes down. To give you an idea of dimensions, the Alpha Series II jacket seen pictured is size large. Dimensions from shoulder to hem (bottom) of the jacket are 73cm (29 inches) high. From shoulder to shoulder, the Alpha Series II jacket measures 50cm (20 inches) long.



From armpit to armpit, it measures 60cm (24 inches) long. From armpit to hem of jacket, it measures 47cm (18 inches) high. The hem of the Alpha Series II jacket measures 59cm (23 inches) long from side to side. The length of the arm is 57cm (22 inches) long from the armpit to the cuff. Speaking of cuffs, the Alpha Series II jacket cuffs are wide-mouthed (10cm diameter) and non-elasticated but they integrate a velcro fastener that allows you to narrow the diameter of the cuff down to 7cm.


The Alpha Series II jacket has a high collar (13cm/5 inches high), which is nice as you can zip the jacket high up and protect the neck without the need of an scalf or neck warmer. On the underside of the main zipper jacket, there is a guard flap covering the zipper, which runs all the way to the top, preventing the zipper from making contact against the chin.

The chin area of the high neck is also lined with soft fabric material. The Alpha Series II high neck hood opening measures 20cm, long, 20cm wide and 18cm deep and nicely envelops the head and possibly a helmet, depending on the size of your head. The hood covers the sides of the face, forehead and chin. The front top of the hood protrudes a little bit forward like a cap, which helps catch rain water.



The Alpha Series II hood has a 3-way drawstring design. It has a rear drawstring cord and two front drawstrings that allow you to adjust the size of the hood opening, making it larger or smaller. A rear cinch on the hood is always useful for pushing the hood backward to increase your peripheral vision, which is always a disadvantage when wearing a hood. The height of the hood and high neck is 32cm high. Below the rear drawstring cord on the hood, there is a hanging loop.


There are two RECCO reflector transponders located on the front of the high neck collar of the hood. These RECCO transponders are the same type found on a lot of ski gear and, they are designed as non-powered tracking devices that rescuers use to locate snow avalanche victims. RECCO reflectors reflect the signal sent out from a RECCO detector so, they do not send out any signal. The RECCO detector can apparently pick up a reflection up to 120 meters above a buried person.


The RECCO feature is a neat integration, although it will only be useful out in snowy mountain trail where the local rescue team is equipped with a RECCO detector. If you're buying the Alpha Series II jacket exclusively for the urban jungle, the RECCO rescue feature will be of no use. RECCO sounds like a useful technology because it requires no batteries and does not wear out but, it only works with a dedicated RECCO detector and you cannot buy one. It would have been really cool if RECCO worked using a smartphone so, a civilian could use the rescue feature. You cannot remove RECCO from the jacket, which would have been useful too so, you could replace it with some sort of signal tracking device (e.g. bluetooth tracker).


The Alpha Series II jacket has an adjustable drawcord hem, which is always a nice feature to have on a jacket for bringing the hem fabric around the waist and keep out the cold. The drawcord hem has one single barrel cord lock on either side of the jacket to cinch the elastic fabric cord running around the bottom of the jacket. The Alpha Series II jacket features underarm zippers too for ventilation, which is a superb feature you get with a lot of hiking/mountaineering jackets to manually force perspiration out of the jacket so, you don't end up drenched and shivering in your own sweat.


The armpit zipper runs 36cm (14 inches) long, which is approximately from the elbow area down below the side of the armpit. Another neat thing about the underarm zippers is that the zippers are waterproof with PU coating and feature dual metal sliders, which increases the functionality of the underarm zipper feature. With dual sliders (instead of one), you can open the zipper in different places in small sections without having to open the entire zipper.

Inside the Alpha Series II jacket, you will find a large sewn-in RECCO label and a large tagless heat trasnfer label with washing instructions, place of manufacuring and materials used which include 70% graphene nylon blended with 30% polyester for the shell, 100% polyester lining and a PU membrane sandwiched in between to provide the waterproofing. Tagless labels are nice because of the seamless look which doesn't get in the way, making it comfortable when wearing the jacket. Heat printed labels are also more durable, long lasting and won't peel like standard clothing labels.



Inside the Alpha Series II jacket, there is also an internal waterproof zipper (YKK 3CG) pocket that measures 12cm long, 12cm wide and 19cm high. The depth of the pocket is 2.5 inches deep. Aside from the front main zipper (YKK 5CNG), there is a secondary main zipper (YKK Vislon 3VS) with large squarish teeth designed to link-up the GRAnaREC mid-layer, which is sold separately.

The Alpha Series II jacket side pocket inner opening is designed so, you can access the pockets of the GRAnaREC mid-layer or any other mid-layer jacket that you wear underneath the Alpha Series II jacket. For freezing below 0C cold days, you will definitely need to wear a proper mid-layer underneath. If you like wearing t-shirts underneath the main jacket, the Alpha Series II jacket will perform better in cool/cold days (~3C-7C).



The tough graphene outer shell is anti-bacterial, PFC water repellent and cuts through the wind like a proper windbreaker and the PU membrane keeps the water out so, rainy and windy days suits this jacket to a tee. Being graphene nylon, it also makes a bit of a loud noise when you move in it. As far as breathability, it is naturally compromised a bit because of the waterproof PU membrane but, thanks to the underarm zippers you can manually regulate the air flow in cold and warm weather so, you never get too hot or cold. You can buy the Alpha Series II jacket from Graphene X.


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