I'd just like to give a BZ to This Tribe. I ordered some gear from them yesterday lunchtime, not only was it already heavily discounted from the RRP, but they also had an extra 10% off in their Feb sale. On top of that, delivery was free and it turned up this morning. Less than 22 hours from ordering the gear to having it in my hand.
So this morning my breakfast was rudely disturbed by the postie who had come with a pressie for me, courtesy of This Tribe.
It was the Kosa Mk2, ready for trial and review.
Now if I'm 100% honest, I'm still cutting about in the Mk1 which I like a lot. It's served me well for the past year save for a few issues which were highlighted by most of the people that reviewed it and the guys at This Tribe themselves. The sleeves were way too tight for instance, this caused me to pop the stitching on the armpits on both sides within days of using it. A hasty repair job has been holding it together since then which has held up reasonably well. My other main gripe is the insulation round the neck, there isn't enough of it and the neck has sagged a bit. It appears what little insulation that did exist, has worked it's way round to the front, so I have a baggy bit at the back with no padding. Other people experienced problems with the zips and elastic although I can't say I've had any of these snags.
Other than that though, it's been bang on. Over the winter it saw me well up here in Cumbria, even when we had that really rough snow in March/April. I've (cold) washed it twice after getting cow shit splattered all over it while out on the quad and it hasn't lost any of it's puff. During the summer months it's been invaluable as a warm jacket when climbing the fells and camping. It's lightweight and packability means you'll barely notice it in the bottom of your bag.
With an original projected RRP of 90 quid, it was good, but not good enough, too many little snags let it down. Even in it's original form, the Kosa was a lot better than a lot of £60/£70 jackets out there. Fair play to the lads at This Tribe though, they could've just lowered the price a bit and sold it as is, but instead they've sorted all the problems out and even made a few additional improvements. They have now released the Mk2 which is what arrived on my doorstep this morning.
First impressions? Well same as before really. At first glance it's hard to distinguish from the old one. Everything I liked is still there, the Kipling poem on the inside, it's light weight, the style etc. The logo is slightly more visible due to the background grey being a bit lighter (it's possible my old one is just faded and dirty), the zips have very subtle blue striping on the toggles, which are an attractive touch, likewise the elastic is now blue. There is also a new internal pocket and if you look very carefully, you'll notice that the outer material is completely different and is now ripstop. I'd like to say there is a little more insulation compared to the original, it certainly feels that way, however this may just be because it's new.
On putting it on, I noticed that the arms are much more spacious and slightly longer. This change reflects earlier feedback from users who found the old sleeves too tight. This should stop me popping armpit seams and it's sizing now more accurately reflects UK standard sizing - order a large and that's what you'll get (unlikeSnugpak who's definition of large is for Pavarotti sized people). The neck also feels a bit higher now, there is more insulation and it would seem the issue of the insulation working it's way around to the front is now sorted.
My only minor criticism is the fact that it no longer comes with it's own stuff sack. I do use this jacket for hillwalking and I found the stuff sack really useful for packing it down. It also protects the jacket when it's in your rucksack with other gear. I felt much less likely to accidentally put a tent peg through it when it was in it's sack. It's by no means a deal breaker though, you can pick up a stuff sack for pennies, I just liked the fact that the old Kosa came with it's own. Also as I mentioned before when reviewing the old one, the addition of some fleecy material in the pockets and perhaps around the inside of the neck would've really set it apart as a top quality piece of kit. It's fine without, but that would've been the ultimate cherry on top of the icing on the cake.
So what we have now is what the Kosa should've been all along and top marks to This Tribe for persevering and eventually getting it right. I'd now happily pay the £90 asking price.
Of course this review is only my first impressions, I haven't even worn it outside yet. The coming weeks will tell how it really performs, I'm hitting the hills later this week and of course it's going to be out on the farm most days. As with before I'll update you on how it goes.
Many many thanks again to This Tribe for allowing me the opportunity to review it.
Grab one now for the introductory price of £79.99 which is pretty bargainous.