Looking for a thorough review on the UNIQLO Blocktech parka? Here are all of our honest opinions on one of UNIQLO’s most popular travel items.
We first bought our UNIQLO Blocktech parkas from the Midvalley, Kuala Lumpur branch for our working holiday in New Zealand.
Since then, we’ve worn them through winter and up to summer for 9 months. It rains quite a lot in New Zealand (some places a lot more than others) and a good waterproof jacket is a must.
PS: We brought one of them along on our 2023 spring trip to Hokkaido, Japan too.
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What you are paying for:
Features And Care Instruction
Retailing at RM249.90 / SGD99.90 / USD69.90 / £59.90 with sizes XS until XXL (at least when we bought ours back in April 2018):
You’d definitely want to know if it does what UNIQLO claims it to do.
Here are the main features they’ve listed on the UNIQLO website:
- Windproof finish
- Water-repellent finish (not permanent)
- Excellent moisture permeability
- Cuffs are adjustable
- Side pockets
- Year-round wear
- Drawstrings at the hem for adjustability
Care Instructions For The Uniqlo Blocktech Parka
The material is lightweight (it is 100% polyester) and there is a lining on the inside.
You almost feel like the jacket is easy to tear, but we haven’t torn ours yet and it’s been 9 months.
After 6 years of having these though, we do see signs of wear and tear on the inside of the jacket. More on that later.
PS: We always hand wash our jackets with cold water.
Here’s the label information,
Now on to the review,
UNIQLO Blocktech Parka – Appearance
The jacket comes in a limited range of colors. The availability of colors depends which country you’re in.
For example, US and UK have separate colors for women whilst Malaysia and Singapore have a unisex 3D cut variation with block colors. Although Singapore has the unisex 3D cut variation in plain colors too.
Update June 2023: Malaysia and Singapore no longer sells block colors for the Blocktech Parka.
Of course, lighter colors get dirty easily. I have the beige and the ends of my sleeves are usually always edged with gray from dirt (e.g. can be easily washed off though). By contrast, the black doesn’t show any stains.
The design of the parka is very basic/ minimalist with a classic silhouette:
It is not too bulky or slim-fitting. The zips are hidden and so are the pockets (kind of).
We can layer the jacket over a thick hoodie and it’s still a comfortable fit.
The hood can also be adjusted if you need it to hug your face more:
Yes, it might make you look like a swaddled infant but who cares when the wind and rain are getting in your face?
There is a flexible but somewhat stiff brim (not like those sun hats that joggers use) hidden at the top part of the hood:
I wouldn’t rely on the hood alone for defence against the sun’s UV rays though. Wear a cap underneath for added protection.
There used to be subtle differences between the UNIQLO Blocktech Parka for men and women.
But if you’re getting yours from Malaysia or Singapore, the UNIQLO Blocktech Parka is listed in the men’s section.
This does not mean you can’t get one if you’re a woman. It’ll just hang over your hips instead of ending above them if you’re petite.
And at first glance, the design for both men and ladies look the same.
However, you may not notice these differences (scroll below):
Firstly, UNIQLO mentioned they updated the design to have snap buttons at the cuffs at the end of the sleeves instead of Velcro. This update was introduced with the beige color.
Why did they do that?
This is to prevent the Velcro from snagging everywhere. This was based on feedback they received from customers.
Also, the new version (based on the beige women’s Blocktech parka) has a hidden breathable mesh in the armpit of the sleeve.
Update (4 Dec, 2018) – It appears that the men’s jacket still doesn’t have the updated armpit meshes and cuff buttons that the women’s jacket has. I have sent a few emails to Uniqlo Malaysia and I get the impression they don’t know when the updates will be available for the men’s jacket. Surprisingly.
My guess is they will phase out the current version of the men’s jacket first before thinking of updates.
I’d also like to point out that the armpit meshes do not provide complete relief. Just a bit when the wind blows. And the velcro cuffs have so far, never given my partner any reason to dislike them anyways. We actually don’t use the cuff straps at all – button or velcro.
See the jacket in action in our video here (from the 3 minute and 17 seconds mark onwards).
Update (2020): The women’s parka seems to have gone through another design change – the cuff strap shape is now trapezoidal rather than just strips. And the zipper has an extra fold to hide it. Giving the jacket a more minimalist appearance!
UNIQLO Blocktech Parka – Now Available For Kids!
Update (March 2022): Sadly, you can’t match your entire family in the UNIQLO Blocktech Parka now has it is no longer available for kids. Unless you live in Europe, that is.
They now have this jacket for kids at half the price of the adult parka!
Available in black, yellow and blue! The design of the kids’ parka follows the men’s parka with the exception of elasticized cuffs!
At the moment, these are only available online. Check with the nearest store to you in case they happen to have stock you can try!
What We Like About The Uniqlo Blocktech Parka
- It does keep out the wind and rain runs off the jacket. Mind you, just light to moderate rain. Update (22 Nov, 2018): it works in heavy rain too, to an extent.
- It is breathable – In cool weather, there is no sweating under the pits even if you have other layers on
- Big side pockets with zips! – These can fit your phone, gloves, car keys or wallet easily. The zip will ensure your precious belongings stay in your pocket.
- That brim thing in the hood helps a bit with the rain (only applicable for women and older versions of the jacket)
- It looks good. Slimmer than your average rain jacket. A classic style that can go with many outfits.
- Hood is adjustable
- The detailing is well done – zips work well and never get stuck, seams are mostly hidden and secure, no loose threads, etc
- Versatile – After 9 months in New Zealand, we can say that we wore this jacket almost every day, all year round. With the exception of the coldest days (below 8°C) where we switched to our winter down jackets. We got away with wearing our jackets on our ski trip in Queenstown on a sunny day, too!
- Dries fast! In less than 15 minutes in a room with a heater or directly under the sun. A blow dryer would probably work good too.
- Doesn’t look wet even after the rain (at least for the black parka). The beige will get spotty where it the raindrops hit. The spots will clear as the jackets dry. No worries.
- Hardy somewhat – Despite its flimsy appearance and feel, the jacket has lasted for all our adventures in New Zealand for 9 months. Throughout this period, the jackets went through a few washes. Over time, there may be bobbling (i.e. looks like well-worn old cotton t-shirt) but only at the edges.
What We Don’t Like
- That price tag!!
- It doesn’t actually keep you warm on a cold day. You need to layer up underneath with a hoodie or knit sweater.
- Needs to be hand-washed. (We do not trust that it can be machine washed)
- Hood (especially the men’s design) is too short to keep out sunshine or rain effectively
- Feels to warm to be worn in summers and tropical weather
- No inner pockets
- Depending on what color you get, it can be high maintenance to maintain the lighter colors (i.e. they get dirty easily but are just as easy to wash).
- After having this jacket (and using it almost daily) for 9 months, we’ve noticed some slight bobbling and slight flaking of the lining (around the hood and sleeves).
- Not so durable – This jacket will definitely not last your lifetime. The plastic lining at the seams of the arms, hood, armpits, will eventually start flaking off (around 5 years). Logically, this could become an issue when it rains.
Warning: Friends of our friends reported that the zip is not waterproof. In a heavy downpour, their phone was damaged because water had seeped into the pocket where the phone was being kept via the zip. We did not have this problem even when we stayed at the coast of south island, New Zealand for 3 months experiencing frequent rain (and hail) showers during spring.
The Final Verdict (Conclusion)
The UNIQLO Blocktech Parka is a versatile, and stylish water-repellent jacket for traveling. If you do have a bigger budget though, you may want to put your money elsewhere if you plan to keep this jacket for life or pass it on to your grandkids.
Its inner lining has a tendency to start flaking (this is pretty unsightly and annoying when the bits get everywhere) with regular use and age (about 5 years).
When it comes to functionality, the jacket won’t be enough to shield you from a full-on downpour or hurricane (and definitely not Niagara falls).
It does however, give you enough time to scramble for a roof or your car before you get completely drenched. Mind that these don’t go way past your hips so you do need to invest in a pair of rainproof pants!
What is also very nice about the UNIQLO Blocktech Parka is that it doesn’t take up much room (or weight) in the suitcase too.
But don’t think you can get away with this jacket once the temperature goes well below 10°C. Because at that point, you’ll need to switch to a proper winter jacket or have several inner layers.
Would you buy this jacket for your travels? Have a better (and affordable) option instead? Leave a comment below.
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