OMM were known primarily for their event, the Original Mountain Marathon, which has been held almost every year since 1968. In fact, this year’s two-day race in October will mark the 50th anniversary. A test of navigation, fitness and endurance, it’s considered one of the most brutal mountain challenges in the UK.
The OMM eventually began making kit that had the demands of their race in mind; clothing designed to protect the wearer through bleak conditions and over rough terrain while keeping them light footed and as nimble as possible.
This particular item, the Kamleika, was released back in 1989, and it’s now in its fourth edition. What we’re looking at here is the women’s specific version but there’s also a men’s one as well.
“As you’d expect, this is an ideal jacket to wear on the OMM, but don’t go thinking that it’s a one trick pony."
It’s made out of OMM’s unique Kamleika fabric, which for those not already familiar with it, is so super soft and super stretchy that you wouldn’t believe it’s waterproof.
But it certainly is. The proof is in its hydrostatic head measurement which, at 20,000mm, puts it right at the top end of the scale in terms of protection and performance.
Another added benefit of the Kamleika fabric is that it’s rustle-free, which sounds slightly insignificant but to those who spend whole days running in the mountains, usually through clag (a la the OMM), it can make a tough experience just that little bit more bearable. After all, over big distances it comes down to the little things.
This version, like the previous Kamleika has a carefully designed trim with a dropped back hem that extends slightly below the tailbone to prevent the jacket riding up when you’re running with a backpack. It also has long arms that cover the knuckles to provide a touch more coverage and protection from the elements.
And there’s more than meets the eye with the Velcro cuffs which can be slightly adjusted to form thumb loops that prevent the jacket sleeves sliding back and scrunching up.
The main difference with this model and the last one, is that the trim has been redesigned to decrease the amount of seams across the fabric. Seams tend to be flash points for leakage on most waterproof jackets so the less they’re used the better, and by cutting them down OMM have also reduced the overall weight by about 20g compared to the last Kamleika. Again, it sounds insignificant, but for a mountain or fell runner, every gram counts.
Other useful features worth noting on the Kamleika are the ventilating hand pockets, the reflective panels on the arms and the fully adjustable hood that fits closely and moves with the head when you turn.
As you’d expect, this is an ideal jacket to wear on the OMM, but don’t go thinking that it’s a one trick pony. We’d be happy to take this on any outdoor activity, whether that’s mountain or fell running, hiking or mountain biking.
OMM Kamleika Jacket