By Amanda Wishart for Singletrackworld
Amanda tests out the FINDRA Stroma waterproof jacket, made with…coffee?
Tweed Valley based clothing designer FINDRA has only been on the market since 2014, but has already established a great reputation for its womenswear range. With a strong belief in the importance of layering clothing for comfort, 2019 sees the first jacket in the range.
FINDRA identified that grabbing one heavy duty layer on a cold day will ultimately result in a clammy, lethargic ride. The sweat has nowhere to escape to and you have nowhere to go in regulating your temperature. Wearing lighter layers allows for air flow, sweat wicking and the option to add and remove layers to keep you at a comfortable temperature at all times. With this in mind, a light waterproof outer layer will be a great addition to your wardrobe.
The FINDRA Stroma jacket is made from an eco-friendly yarn that consists of coffee grounds and recycled plastic bottles. That sounds too good to be true, right? Well the short version of the yarn making begins with drying and mixing repurposed coffee grounds with recycled plastic bottles to make pellets. These pellets get melted down to create fibres, and the fibres become the yarn. The yarn is called S.Cafe®.
This S.Cafe® yarn is used on the inner backing of the jacket, the part next to your skin (or your layers) as it’s said to be fast drying, odour controlling and good at wicking moisture. A sustainable, functional material. Brilliant! The outer of the jacket has a 10,000mm waterproof rating whilst remaining breathable, and offers a four way stretch for comfort.
Wearing the FINDRA Stroma Jacket
So let’s take a look at the fit of the jacket. I’m 5’7, bust 93cm, waist 70.5cm, and a hip measurement of 104cm, making it quite difficult to find a good fitting jacket since my waist and hips are in different time zones from one another. Initially I tried the size 12 jacket and found it to be slightly too baggy around the midriff, however the arms and overall length were perfect. I spent a good amount of time in the 12 before trying out the size 10, which I found to be slightly shorter in both arms and body, and much less baggy.
The FINDRA Stroma jacket features a generous sized hood with a structured peak and drawstring adjuster. It fits over some helmets but not all. I have found the hood is great at turning itself into a sail on windy days, which I resolved by rolling it up to my neck so the peak wasn’t on the outside. There isn’t a clip or zip to hold the hood there but if the jacket is zipped up it tends to stay rolled up.
The neck zips up high and has a fleece trim to stop any irritation to your neck or face, which is a really subtle but appreciated detail. It’s also loose enough to not feel uncomfortable when zipped up. The shoulders have grippy pattern to keep your riding pack in place and given the simplicity of the jacket, they really add to the design.
Lower down we have a dropped hem with a draw string adjuster either side. I rarely use the draw string as my hips fit quite neatly into the jacket, but on those really cold wet days it’s a great feature for keeping the weather out. Also keeping the weather out are the concealed pockets, which add to the sleek simple design. It took me a few rides to even realise there was a third pocket at the back! The rear pocket is too small for a phone, but big enough to hold more than just your keys, which is good because it stops you overfilling it.
The cuffs on the Stroma jacket are double layered, with the inner layer elasticated and longer than the outer cuff. The elasticated layer has a thumb hole that is sort of rendered useless when you want to put your gloves on, because the two cuff layers are sewn together. However, trailside maintenance and pre/post ride faffing where you need your fingers is made that bit warmer by this feature.
Now for the important part – is it waterproof? The FINDRA Stroma jacket has fully taped seams throughout and waterproof YKK zips, and the fabric itself is very reliably waterproof yet doesn’t give you that clammy, jacket potato feeling, especially with careful layering. I personally have found winter comfort in a long sleeved base layer, a tech tee and this jacket on top. The Stroma jacket is machine washable, but always consider that the soap you use can affect the waterproofing.
The FINDRA Stroma Jacket is a flattering fit without being restrictive, the colour and overall design are striking and stand out on the current market, and the eco-friendly fabric isn’t a compromise on technical ability – it’s waterproof, it’s breathable, and it dries quicker than I can wash my bike