Review – French Army CCE Waterproof Jacket

I don’t drive. I’m happy walking where I need to whether it’s work or shopping, so I do spend a lot of time outside and always have done. It’s become important to me to have a good set of clothing whatever the weather, although summer clothing is probably irrelevant and not worth a blog; winter is when you need something that can make a difference. I’ve had countless coats, jackets and other layers down the years of all styles and materials, and I have to say that a lot of it is overpriced and doesn’t work. There’s a Craghoppers raincoat in my wardrobe somewhere that was supposed to have a hydrostatic head rating (waterproof rating) of 15,000mm and yet it just soaks water up like a sponge. Usually I’d suggest at least 10,000mm+ but the hydrostatic head rating doesn’t always tell the full story. On a wild camp a couple of summers ago, a friend and I got caught in some heavy rain for ten hours on a mountain, and neither of our coats lasted more than 15 mins before we were soaked through. Mine was a mid level rain jacket which failed all over, his a very expensive, top drawer Rab Gore-Tex Lite running coat. The athletic cut of his coat however I think led to rain pouring in through the neck area, and since then I’ve been on the hunt for an upgrade that won’t let me down, whatever I’m doing. And thankfully, I’ve found it.

Firstly, a note on materials. From experience, I trust Gore-Tex. Not Gore-Tex Lite, Paclite or any other kind of diet versions, just the original stuff. I don’t care enough about a few grams of extra weight to be sold on weaker, cheaper materials. I’ve had AquaDry, StormDry, WeatherTite, eVent, HyperDry and all manner of other commercial “technologies” which are almost entirely DWR (durable water repellent) coated, which basically means it’s not an entirely waterproof fabric, it’s just been sprayed with something that may wear off.

So I’ve scored one of these…

This is the French Army CCE pattern waterproof jacket. It’s Seyntex, which is essentially Gore-Tex. This coat is surplus supergrade, but you can tell it’s never even been worn.. I picked it up from Amazon for only £50. Now, as an airsoft player there is a part of me that is naturally drawn to camouflage clothing and that might not be to everyone’s taste, but I’m not the sort of person that needs to parade myself around like a TikTok influencer in disturbingly tight leggings, down puffa jacket made from refuse sacks, and brightly coloured clothing with massive branding all over it – I’m interested in the practicality and performance because I demand utility from my clothing. It’s very well made, with thick solid fabric and feels pretty indestructible.

I should note that there are two versions of this coat, one with pockets and one without. The version without is around £20-30 cheaper and easier to find in more sizes, and if it’s raining that hard that I need this on, it’s unlikely I’ll be wanting to get any valuables out of pockets in those conditions anyway. It has nice, big, chunky zips and toggles on the hood, back of the neck and waist which don’t feel like they’ll be snapping like some of the dainty little sports coats. There are under arm zips to allow some ventilation, which is very useful to prevent overheating. The hood is a generous size and covers your head properly. I hate those lightweight style hoods that are elasticated and stretch only as far as your hairline. If it’s a bit too far down your face though, the hood has a strap on the back that you can pull to adjust. There are a couple of epaulettes on the shoulders, a velcro patch on the arms and one one the front so I could stick a patch on if I wanted to. The wide sleeves have a good velcro adjustment and the forearms are reinforced, in case I need to do some sniping in it.

The main zip has a nice big storm flap to keep the rain off, which is secured with press studs. And my favourite feature on this jacket is the huge collar. Like Elvis proportions, which means you don’t have any wind blowing down your neck, and it keeps the rain out properly. Fully zipped up, it comes up to just under my nose but doesn’t sit tightly so there’s enough room to breathe too, and it’s rigid, especially with the hood rolled up. With it zipped all the way and the hood down, it means only your eyes are exposed and if that’s a problem you can always put some goggles on to keep the rain out of your eyes. A high neck is something missing from a lot of the running and other sports waterproofs, and that’s why it’s not just the material but also the cut and style of the jacket that makes a difference to the protection it offers.

I’ve had it on the last couple of days in some pretty horrendous conditions and it’s held up perfectly. The French have really done well with this one, it’s not loaded with excessive features but what it does, it does very well, and that is to be a tough waterproof outer layer. It fits very well, adjusts to where you need it, and I’m very pleased with it. It’s much cheaper than the civilian alternatives, and if you don’t mind not being seen, is a great addition to your kit. Link to buy here – French CCE Camo Waterproof Jacket.

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