Kids’ Waterproof Jackets Review: Spotty Otter Adventure and Polarn O. Pyret Shell Jacket

Spotty Otter and Polarn O. Pyret are two of my favourite brands for children’s outdoor gear. How do their lightweight kids’ waterproof jackets perform? Here I review both these jackets and compare some of the differences between them.

Both jackets have been well used for a year, so we are in a good position to say what we like about them!

First, a summary of the key features. Scroll down for the more detailed review.

Spotty Otter Adventure JacketPolarn O. Pyret Kids Shell Jacket
Material4 way comfort stretch Ottertex 15000
Tougher fabric patch on the seat area
Waterproof to 12,000mm
Breathable and abrasion resistant
HoodDetachable peaked hood with adjustable elastic around the frontDetachable peaked hood with adjustable elastic around the front
Zip Water-repellant zipStorm flap over zip
CuffsAdjustable velcro wrist cuffsAdjustable velcro wrist cuffs
Other features-Reflective trim
-Adjustable waist
-Longer at the back
-3M™ Scotchlite™ reflectors
-Adjustable waist
-Attaches via poppers to PO.P fleeces and puffer jackets

How waterproof are the jackets?

Both the Spotty Otter Adventure and the PO.P Shell Jacket are highly waterproof. They have fully taped seams to avoid water seeping through these weak spots. The Spotty Otter Adventure has a hydrostatic head of 15,000mm, whilst the PO.P Shell Jacket has a hydrostatic head of 12,000mm. These are excellent technical ratings, and the ratings are borne out in the great outdoors! My children have used these jackets in torrential downpours, and for long periods outside in rain, and stayed completely dry underneath. They also use them for water table play. Nothing tests waterproofing like chucking a bucket of water down your front!

Zip: One typical weak spot for kids’ waterproof jackets is the zip. The PO.P jacket uses a storm flap to protect the zip, whilst Spotty Otter use a water resistant zip. We haven’t had any problems with water leaking through zips in either coat.

Water-repellant zip on the Spotty Otter Adventure Jacket

Hood: Both jackets have peaked hoods with elasticated edges at the front to provide good coverage from the rain. The hoods are detachable for safety, and both have a velcro tab at the back to enable you to adjust the size. I find that both hoods stay up well, even during active play, which is a key consideration in a children’s waterproof jacket. For comfort, I slightly prefer the PO.P collar which is lined with a fleecy material.

Length: The Spotty Otter Adventure is slightly longer at the back, which is useful for cycling.

How durable are the jackets?

Both jackets are in excellent condition after a year of regular use, including school, outdoor nursery, playgrounds, gardening, and hikes.

The Spotty Otter is made of a stretchy fabric which is unusual in a waterproof coat, and means it can bend with the wearer. It has a special tough patch on the ‘seat area’ at the back, and this is also in excellent condition.

Tough seat patch on the Spotty Otter Adventure jacket

The Polarn Shell Jacket is made of a more typical waterproof material, with articulated sleeves to provide good range of movement.

Articulated sleeves to increase range of movement on the PO.P Shell Jacket

Zips: I have bought a number of items from both brands on the second hand market, and I find that they tend to fail first at the zip. This is particularly the case for Spotty Otter clothing, and I wonder if it is something to do with the water repellant zip system?

Please note, this is on items that have been worn hard by at least two children, and we have had no zip issues on items bought new.

Polarn O. Pyret have a service where you can send a jacket back for repair if there is a problem with the zips or poppers, which I think is an excellent idea for sustainability.

Laundry: I occasionally run the jackets through our washing machine on a delicates cycle with Nikwax Tech Wash. We haven’t had any issues with this affecting the waterproofing, but I do try to be sparing in how often I wash them.

What is the sizing like?

In my experience, Polarn O. Pyret jackets come up large in the smaller sizes, and accurately in larger sizes. Spotty Otter jackets are sized a bit large.

The Spotty Otter jacket is for ages 3-4, and I would say it is a comfortably large size 4-5.

The PO.P Shell jacket is a size 122cm, and I would say that it is true to size.

I tend to size up anyway for kids’ waterproof jackets. Buying quality kit is expensive, and so I want it to last for a couple of years. As these jackets both have adjustable cuffs, it doesn’t matter if the sleeves are slightly too long.

Other features

Reflective patches: Both jackets have plenty of reflective patches to increase visibility in gloomy or dark conditions. This is great for using them for walking or cycling in town in the winter.

Adjustable waists: Both jackets have adjustable waists that can be cinched in. The PO.P Shell uses toggles on the inside at the bottom. The Spotty Otter jacket uses toggles inside the pockets, which I thought was rather clever, as long as you remember that they are there!

Adjustable cuffs: I always look for adjustable cuffs on children’s waterproof jackets. Adjustable cuffs allow you to size up without over-sized sleeves getting in the child’s way. They ensure a good snug fit so that children can play in water or mud without it leaking up their arms onto clothes. They also help with putting on gloves in the winter months. Both these jackets have elasticated cuffs with a velcro adjuster.

Polarn O. Pyret 3 in 1 system: The PO.P shell jacket is designed so that it can be attached to their fleeces or puffer jackets for a warmer winter jacket. I really like PO.P fleece jackets, and we do sometimes wear them together, but I don’t tend to popper them together. This is because only the zip area of the jackets are attached together, and I find that my children tend to pull the sleeves out when taking the jackets off.

PO.P Shell Jacket poppers behind the zip for the 3 in 1 system

Which jacket should I buy?

These are both excellent kids’ waterproof jackets, and I don’t think you will go wrong with either of them. I buy a mixture of these brands depending on whether I can find a special offer, and also the colour preferences of my children! Spotty Otter have quite a limited range of colourways, and so we only have a few of their jackets at a time to avoid confusion about whose coat is whose.

The Polarn Shell Jacket is a great purchase if you would like to use the jacket all year round, and think that you would use the 3-in-1 system.

I really like the Ottertex fabric of the Spotty Otter Adventure, I think it is brilliant for really active kids wanting to climb and jump. I also like the generous fit, and the longer back is useful for cycling.

Stylistically, I think the PO.P jacket looks slightly better for all-purpose use, whereas the Spotty Otter jacket looks like more of a technical outdoor gear piece.

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