In the beginning of the year we were in touch with the French outdoor manufacturer CimAlp, which we have previously reviewed winter hiking apparel for. CimAlp was founded in 1964 by an avid mountaineer and the brand has ever since had a strong focus on creating functional high-quality apparel for all sorts of activities in the mountains, from hiking and trekking to skiing and trail running. We were thus more than happy to engage in yet another round of testing CimAlp gear – this time for warmer temperatures. I have long been yearning to get a proper softshell jacket, so I was head over heels to test and review the Cedera jacket. I have been using the jacket the entire spring, testing it for various outdoor activities as well as for everyday life and concluded that the CimAlp Cedera softshell jacket is suitable for:
- Everyday use
The CimAlp Cedera soft-shell jacket is made of the company’s own soft-shell material CimaFlex in the 3D Flex X-Trem variation with the density of 190 g/m². The material is made of 92% Nylon and 8% elastane for fit and flexibility, and consists of a smooth woven face fabric on the outside and a softer honeycomb patterned inside. The weave and composition of the CimaFlex make the jacket super comfortable to wear as it is both soft, very breathable and stretchy. The face fabric is treated with the bio-based (60%) and environmentally friendly bluesign-approved Teflon EcoElite DWR treatment without PFCs to offer good water-resistance. As noted in the article The use of PFCs in Outdoor Clothing, more environmentally friendly PFC-free DWR-treatments do not last quite as long as old-fashioned PFC-based DWR-products, but the Teflon EcoElite treatment lasts up to three times longer than other non-fluorinated water-repellent finishes. Once you do start to notice that the water protection is decreasing, you should simply re-waterproof the jacket.
It should be mentioned, however, that softshell jackets are only designed to resist light rain for shorter periods – if you need more water protection than that, you should wear a proper hard shell (= rain jacket). In terms of wind-protection, the CimAlp Cedera can withstand wind gusts with a speed up to 60km/h (17m/s), which on the Beaufort scale designates a near gale or very strong wind. The CimaFlex material also provides a UV Protection Factor (UPF) of 50, meaning that only 1/50≈ 2% of sunrays can penetrate through the fabric, which is especially useful if you are wearing the softshell jacket directly over a short-sleeved base layer. The jacket itself provides light insulation – neither too much or too little for a weight of 370 g.
Features and Functionality
In terms of functionality, the CimAlp Cedera soft-shell jacket is equipped with various features which add to the great performance of the fabric. First of all, I must mention that the hood is probably the best fitting hood I have ever tried. Normally I don’t use the hood on most jackets unless I absolutely have to – like not to get my hair soaked of rain or if the wind is blowing so hard that it is hurting my ears – and even then I dislike the feeling. But with the hood on the CimAlp Cedera I don’t feel that neither my field of vision nor movements are impeded, although it provides a close fit which keepw the body-warmed air trapped inside. The close fit is characteristic for the whole jacket, but since both the hood, sleeves and shoulder areas have articulated tailoring the freedom of movement is still good. Both the hood, bottom hem and cuffs are elasticated to keep you warm and the jacket from sliding around.
Should you get too warm, the zippered hand pockets and small pocket on the left sleeve double as air vents since they are lined with mesh rather than fabric. There is also a holding tab just above the chest which you can button for the jacket to stay in place even if it is unzipped. All the zippers are from the market leader in zippers – Japanese YKK, but only the long zipper in front is equipped with a loop that makes it easier to use if you are wearing gloves. I do, however, understand why CimAlp didn’t add loops to the other three zippers as it would simply take away too much from the otherwise pretty sleek look with hidden pockets. The CimAlp Cedera is of course designed and made with outdoor activities in mind, but both the blue grey version I got and the black alternative will also do just as well as casual wear in the city and beyond. For the men, there is the CimAlp Cedero jacket which is basically identical to the Cedera except for a more straight masculine silhouette and a chest pocket.
Sizing and Fit
Based on CimAlp’s general sizing table for upper body apparel, I asked for a size Large as I with a chest circumference of 94 cm (37’’) was just between size Medium and Large. I decided for the Large to be able to wear it over both a base and mid-layer (i.e. fleece jacket) comfortably. However, it turned out that the Cedera soft-shell jacket is narrower around the chest than other jackets and tops from CimAlp and it has since been updated with a product-specific sizing table. According to this, anyone with a chest circumference over 88 cm should choose the XL size!
So, how does the Large actually fit me? Pretty good, it turns out, but it does get too tight over the chest if I use it with a more bulky mid-layer. At least that is how it is for now, but as I will probably end up more flat-chested when I stop breastfeeding there might be room for development yet. While I’m very glad I didn’t take the Medium size, the sleeves are, nevertheless, relatively long on the Large model although I’m 173 cm tall (5’8’’). I wouldn’t say that they are too long, but they could be shorter while definitely not longer. If you are shorter than me and require the same or even larger size chest-wise, you might thus find that the sleeves are too long for your arms.
Washing and Drying
The CimAlp Cedera soft-shell jacket can be washed at 30⁰C (cold cycle), but not tumble-dried, bleached or dry-cleaned. It should be mentioned, however, that the more you will wash the jacket, the faster the DWR-treatment will deteriorate and thus decrease the protection against rain. The Teflon EcoElite™ finish should, however, continue to repel water and water-based stains for 30 or more washes, and the treatment also means that the jacket requires 25% less drying time than garments treated with other non-fluorinated DWR finishes.
The CimAlp Cedera jacket is a great versatile jacket with a stylish, yet ultra-functional design with articulated tailoring. The fabric feels soft and comfortable while protecting you against the elements such as sun, wind and light rain. I would recommend it to everybody who wants a softshell jacket with light insulation.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.