Haglöfs Lizard Top, Exclusive First Look

Ages back I saw a sample of Haglöfs Lizard Top and I was immediately impressed. It looked a little left-field, it had a price-tag of £100, and I did wonder if the store-buyers would “get it”, leading to a lack of orders and the Lizard disappearing under a rock.
Well, I’m happy to report I have a Lizard Top here for test before it hits the shops in a few weeks time.

It looks just like a simple pull-on top, but close-up it’s much more than that. It’s cut from two different grades of Flexable, Haglöfs own softshell fabric, which is a wind resistant, non-membrane, 4-way stretch fabric. The lighter fabric is under the arms and at the cuffs for comfort and breathability. I’ve used Flexable on a bunch of stuff and it proves the point that having an obvious brand name on your fabric doesn’t make for better performance, Flexable knows it’s job and does it well.
The fit is slim, the arm and body length are good, as is the freedom of movement. The collar has a decent height to it, the main zip is long for good venting, and its nice green tone matches the zip on the single laminated chest pocket.

It’s an interesting bit of kit this, the weather resistance in patchy conditions when you’re on the move could mean it replaces a windshirt and light midlayer combo a lot of the time, although the thin fabric won’t have the same insulation value as a 100 weight fleec when you’re at rest, or the captured sweat.
Weight is very good for the amount of protection at 355g, and it’s small packing as well, so it looks like a proper bit of fast and light multifuctional kit.
More soon.

31 thoughts on “Haglöfs Lizard Top, Exclusive First Look

  1. Haglofs have priced themselves way out of my league! However, I do admire their confidence, I think sending out a £100 glorified tracksuit top (not wanting to insult it as I don’t really see its purpose) for review could really backfire, a bad review and it’s never going to sell. They must be very happy with its performance to be so confident. Do Arcteryx ever send stuff for review? (Do they have to !!)

  2. Thank god, another non-membrane soft-shell. I was starting to think everyone was happy stewing in their own juices inside Windstopper and Powershield. But, where’s the hood?! I have to agree with Shuttleworth, it would maybe work as a trackie top but a ‘soft-shell’ that replaces a mid-layer and wind-shell needs a hood in my book.

  3. I must admit i do agree with you Shuttleworth regarding their pricing now compared to last year it seems to have gone daft. Got a catalogue a few weeks back and some stuff was extortionate tbh. From experience in retail i know that they could drop the prices a lot and sell more kit, but why they don’t it has always baffled me. Everything is made cheaply in Asia for probably about a fifth of the retail price. I like their kit a lot and managed to get a fair bit cheaply last year via an online shop, sale items (but i think they have gone bust now). Luckily i don’t need anything currently but will just keep an eye out for a bargain and hope Pete doesn’t test some “must have kit” as he has previously ;). Oh and we are still in Recession as well.

  4. Hey guys, don’t shoot the messenger!
    Not everyone buys a mercedes, but does that make them over priced?
    If the kit is going to make the outdoors more fun then buy it, if not, don’t buy it.
    I run a lot and during this time of year a top like the lizard is just what I need. Would I use it for walking?
    I agree with holdfast a hooded version would be a good option, especially on them cold early morning starts.
    Let’s see what PTC has to say.

  5. Surely the viper is the hooded version?

    I guess the basic aim with this sort of thing is to have something like the same comfort levels as a windshirt in moderate winds (a little more warmth but direct air transfer to compensate) but a little extra insulation if/when you stick a shell on top.

    Seems very logical really, esp if running with just a windshirt + merino base in Spring/Autumn style weather.

    The price seems broadly in line if (as usual) high end. If you want a Mercedes then Klattermusen have done this sort of pullover for a while….
    (Their mithril kevlar is just silly.).

  6. Please see North Face Zeitgeist (Apex, TNF’s ‘Windstopper’).

    Similar idea, similar weight. Useful for ‘inbetween’ days but as pointed out, not as warm as a 100wt fleece when stopped.

    Useful on the bike though when the wind component is more of an issue.

    Good news? They are about £50.

  7. I think the bottom line is value for money. If we all analysed our kit we would probably find both expensive and cheap stuff that meets all our requirements & does its job. Some stuff just looks blatanly overpriced to me thats all i am saying and not having a go at Pete, he’s a top guy.

  8. Well the rrp for an 3/4 zip Zeitgist is 70. Montanes dynamo is 80. The Norrona fjora flex 1 is 110 rrp.An OM preview has Pataguicci due to produce a similar weight/material jacket at 120.

    Ok those things mostly have full zips and a few more pockets/frills. In mitigation some also have lighter fabrics. So, given the basic construction, there is a slight premium here. Doesn’t look a sarcastic one though.

    In the end of course if you’ll wear it a lot then its nothing and if not then!

  9. I knew this one was a good one to leave while I was away :o)

    Shuttleworth
    Good points. The Arcteryx reference is very relevant, Arcteryx were once criticised for price in print in the UK and after that limited how often and to whom they sent test kit. It’s a good way of keeping the brand cache, avoiding criticism and experienced reviewers pointing out niggles or comparing them to other brands.
    Haglofs and all the other brands I speak to else don’t give a shit about sending their kit out for test, it’s a case of “Yes, it’s expensive, the components and design made it that way and we think it’s great, try it and see what you think”. So I do see that as confidence, look at Berghaus for example, I’ve been sticking the boot in for years (and they knew it) and they still sent out kit because they had confidence in it.
    Track suit top? Aye, it kinda is!

    Holdfast
    There is hooded bversions, this is your go-faster piece. Roddy the new designer is an adventure racer, so there’s a lot of tha influence coming in now.
    So I hope we’ll see proper performance kit, but it definitely won’t be for everyone.

    Coops
    Prices are going up because the factories are getting greener, the Chinese workforce want wages and we have to ship the stuff halfway around the world. Now if we’d kept all the mnanufacturing in the UK…
    value wise? You’re getting a well engineered weather resistant softshell for the same price as the well-cut but very basic Mammut Aconcagua Powerstretch Pull. I think comes down to how much you value the fabric and features of what you’re looking at.
    It’s a very personal thing. And a wallet thing!

    DNF
    Yes.

    Kiff
    Aye, gear’s not compulsory. This is the joy of testing, none of us gambling to see what it’s like, it might be brilliant or I might think it’s a sweatbox.

    Martrin Carpenter
    Aye, I like the idea of a stretch wind resistant layer rather than pulling on a shell. It’s just at what point you need that extra protetion will be how good the Liazrd is I think.

    Bob
    I had exactly that in mind, I was down at North Face on Monday and tried on the Zeitgeist pullover. The Lizard is lighter and more flexable, the Zeitgeist feels more “full-on”. I keep finding these small degrees in difference that make it so hard to pick a winner, and it really doesn mean that everything is perfect for someone.

    Coops
    In general terms, there is pricing out there that places a product in the market where the brand wants it to go. But I know as well that some kit has almost no margin on it at all and is relying on shifting volume to make money.
    One good one is fabric, for example some Polartec powerstretch costs five times as much as another. So when you see a £70 one and a £60 one and they look pretty much the same, there’s no guarantee that the £70 is the profit maker, the cheap one might be just a scam to get the company logo on somone’s body.
    It’s a minefield, and do wonder if I was happier not knowing all this stuff :o)

    Martin Carperter
    Good round up. Not really a weak link in there.

    Good stuffs foks, thanks for the thoughts. I suppose we’ll just have to see how thing works now and take take it from there!

  10. We’ve blown a small fortune on Arc’teryx over the years, and happily report back that isn’t what it used to be! Premium price for made in Canada, now it’s premium price for made in China. My old Easy Rider softshell which is two years older is a completely different quality to the version my GF bought a couple of years later.

    The whole pricing is getting a little silly, I picked up a new style OMM Kamleika smock the other week, great bit of gear, and a great price! It’s a breathable waterproof, with good features! Compared to the price of similar products I’m left wondering what are the others actually offering??

  11. I picked up the old style pants for a little under £50, and can’t fault them, brilliant waterproof for biking and being out in the wet.

    The whole gear pricing has gone mad, my GF wanted new Salomon XA with a gore liner £110!

  12. Well answered Pete, is that your biggest ever reply? Compared to us you are in a unique position with your company contacts and can see more of the specifics regarding material, manufacture, cost & pricing etc, rather than just the purchase price like we do. Looking at my Haglofs kit i can tell it is well made by the, attention to detail, & they use great fabrics and i understand why it costs more. It is just annoying that it does though.

  13. Aye, I think that reply was longer than most posts :o)

    The OMM point is a very good one, and it’ll be even more relevant later in the year. I had a long meeting with ARK the new owners yesterday going through the updates to all the kit (and the other ARK brands too) and apart from the new blue colour on the Kamleika jacket and pull-on we’ve got insulation, midlayer and two eVent shells. The weight, pricing and features are all big-name worriers too.
    I’ll have a post on it over the next few days.

    Price will always be an issue, but value is the important thing. I’ve talked to a lot of the designers and they want the best fabric, the best finishing in the best factory and sometimes they can’t have it all because all that contributes to the price point. Pre-production testing does that too.
    You can have anything from:
    Computer screen to factory production to shop.
    Hand made sample to first factory sample, to revised sample, to production with tweaks to shop.
    And, all points inbetween.
    There’s a profit lying in there ready to be scooped up, or an expensive well-designed bit of kit with a high price tag.

    Aye, it’s never simple is it!

  14. I’m happy to pay whatever it costs for good gear (shhh don’t tell SWMBO). Sometimes, there’s a choice, sometimes the best kit is the only choice and possibly expensive.

    Example: The Oz pullover. There’s not much else out like it (still waiting for the Rab Demand to be released) and it’s really the only choice for a breathable pullover.

    The Lizard I think has direct competition in the TNF Zeitgeist (notwithstanding it might be a bit softer/lighter) which is why I drew the comparision. The fact one is double the cost of the other would (did) encourage me to opt for the cheaper alternative in this case.

    Having written that, I did buy a Hagloffs 100wt fleece as it was the lightest I could find (240g) though it was ‘only’ £45 which is not that outrageous.

  15. Sorry, bit more.

    When buying the Zeitgeist, what I ‘really’ wanted was a 100wt fleece (soft/light/nice drape) that was windproof. If the Lizard is that, I’m off shopping. :-)

  16. Bob, the Oz is finally getting some competition. The Demand will be out in a few weeks, as will the OZO (the Oz replacement) and OMM’s eVent pullover will be here around August.
    I’ve tried them all and it’s going to be a close race.

    I’m pretty sure that Hagklofs Solo replacement is s fiver cheaper. So it’s not all up the way!

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  18. Hi Pete,

    I’m interested in getting the lizard top, but am unsure which size to get. I believe you mentioned that you wear an L for everything from Haglofs.

    I’m 1.78m and 76kg, which size do you recommend I go for?

    Cheers mate!

  19. Ooh, that’s a tough one, you’re just a bit smaller all round than me.
    You could be a medium or a large, so maybe a medium if you want it slimmer fit and you’ve got regular length arms, or a large if you want a looser cut or have really long arms?!

    It’s a great top though, I’m long overdue an update on it.

  20. Wore my Lizard Q top for the first time today, after getting to the summit of Pen y Fan and finding the wind a bit chilly. Just right – kept my body at exactly the right temperature, and I wore it all the way down. Was getting a bit warm at the bottom, but was almost at the carpark so didn’t bother to take it off.
    Oh what a lovely piece of gear – really nice stretchy fabric, fab details, I love the purple trimmings on the zips (I’ve got the black version), and it’s top quality manufacture. Yum :-)
    Wore it with my Intense Q zip (thought I’d go fully Haglofs on top today!), which is possibly a bit close-woven for me at this time of year, though I did appreciate the under-arm bits that seem to deal with sweat better than the rest of it. It may be a spring / autumn top for me.

  21. I love the Lizard. I wore it on the Cairngorm trip and it was perfect for the changeable conditions with a short-sleeve merino t-shirt.
    I think the original notion was that it’s too specialist, but I think that’s it’s actually a do-it-all piece.
    Nice.

    The wummin get a red one next season btw :o)

  22. There’s always a nicer one coming next season!
    I’m looking forward to wearing it in drizzle / rain to see how much it can cope with.

  23. My sample version does okay in light rain etc, even after a few washes.
    The DWR will probably wear out quicker than it would with softshell pants with the abrasion from pack straps, we’ll see.

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