For 2021/22 FootJoy have introduced three new waterproof outerwear jackets as part of the HydroSeries range. Sitting in the middle of that range in terms of versatility, performance and price is the new HydroLite (V2) Rain Jacket.
FootJoy claim this is the perfect jacket for rain protection when playing in warmer conditions and in a game where fine margins can make all the difference, I was looking forward to see whether the subtle improvements from it's predecessor could make the difference where it mattered.
Time to find out whether what the golf clothing giant says is true.
The HydroLite jacket is 100% waterproof and has been specifically engineered using fabric to keep you dry whilst also providing breathability in all conditions. A DWR finish provides protection from the toughest golf conditions by beading water and shedding it away from the shell (surface) of the jacket.
It is also designed to be extremely lightweight thanks to a 3 panel construction. The minimal panel design of the jacket is said to reduce bulk and weight, therefore adding benefits to both mobility in the golf swing whilst making it easily packable in your golf bag or wardrobe.
The collar of the HydroLite also features a StaDry collar which has been designed for comfort when fully zipped and to prevent water ingress.
The versatility of the HydroLite continues in the colourways it comes available in also: Royal / Black / Silver, Navy / Red / White, Black / Grey / Lime, Navy and Black. I reviewed the HydroLite in Black.
FootJoy HydroLite Jacket Review
It would be hard to not like the look and design of the FJ HydroLite. It's a simple, no-nonsense overall design that I doubt will put any one off and will appeal to a wide array of golfers. Three of the five different designs feature what I would call standard colourways for FootJoy: contrasting block colours featuring blue, red and green.
The navy and black colourways that I reviewed the jacket in however feature a marble-effect design on the upper panel of the jacket. Just like a lot of the quite 'out-there' 2021 apparel collection from FootJoy pieces, this hard-to-miss detail shows that FootJoy aren't afraid to change things up a little when it comes to their designs. It's definitely more Galvin Green than Pringle in its approach, managing to find a subtle but stylish middle-ground.
I tested the jacket in size medium and at 6'5", I still found the jacket to be plenty long enough in the body in sleeve length. That being said, the jacket does have a relatively slim fit that some golfers used to a wider fit may find a little restricting.
The HydroLite doesn't rely on anything too fancy to sell itself, just a simple and quality design with a nod to younger generations of golfers you wouldn't usually associate with the FJ brand.
Performance and Versatility
On test the HydroLite performed well as it is just so lightweight and breathable to wear. Mobility during the swing isn't going to be an issue for any golfers in this jacket. I have worn long sleeve polo shirts and mid-layers that have felt more cumbersome that the HydroLite.
Taking the jacket on and off quickly was simple and easy, there are no loose pieces of fabric to catch the zip on and the zip itself felt sturdy and substantial.
This also makes folding the jacket away into your golf bag or wardrobe not an issue either. Once folded, it took up very little space in my golf bag and more importantly added very little weight. This should be music to the ears of European golfers who are used to playing in the winter months where trolleys are not allowed due to water on the course - the HydroLite is the perfect waterproof layer to throw in a carry bag without having to worry about weight.
Great breathability like this however does mean there are some obvious drawbacks. The HydroLite is a far cry from being a jacket to keep you warm in the winter. I tested the jacket in temperatures of around 8 - 10 degrees and still felt the chill.
It's made from incredibly thin fabric that is not made to keep the golfer warm unless you pair it with a comprehensive layering system underneath.
Waterproof-wise, I was impressed. As FootJoy claim, any moisture that did gather on the jacket simply beads away thanks to the DWR coating. I only tested it in some passing showers, but still have confidence that it would hold its own when it gets really wet. You also have the reassurance of a 3-year waterproof warranty.
FootJoy HydroLite Jacket Verdict
For the avid golfer, this type of jacket is becoming a must-have piece of clothing to have in your golf bag all year round. Because the HydroLite folds up so small and weighs virtually nothing, it's a no brainer to have it with you when the forecast is looking a little suspect.
I can also see a lot of golfers wearing this throughout the summer on those colder days where there is moisture in the air. Early morning tee offs or a late evening cheeky nine holes - this jacket will be your friend.
The main piece of advice I would give when considering buying the HydroLite is don't just buy it online. This a jacket you need to try before you buy. One, to see if you like the slim fit on the midsection, and two, to see if you think it will be warm enough for the type of conditions you are going to be wearing it in.
Finally, not that I'm usually one to wear golf apparel off the course - the HydroLite could also couple up as the perfect coat to wear on the work commute so don't be surprised if you start to see a few of these crop up on the train come Monday morning.
Would I Use It?
Yes. This is one of my favourite FJ outerwear designs for a while, aesthetically it ticks a lot of boxes.
As I say, I can see this jacket staying in my bag for a while and saving the day when needed.
- Incredibly lightweight design
- Great looking colourways
- 100% waterproof
- Has no restrictions to the golf swing
- Certainly not the warmest waterproof 'jacket'
- Slim fit may no be for everyone
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