Stretch Nebula Jacket – Performance
Salomon’s reputation is founded on footwear and trail-running kit in the UK at least, but the Stretch Nebula is more of a ‘light hiking’ or maybe ‘fast hiking’ sort of shell.
It’s decently light at 320g for a medium. Packs small enough not to be a burden. And uses a pleasant-feeling, 2.5-layer fabric with a bit of built-in stretch. Some 2.5-layer stuff feels a little cold and slippy against the skin, but the Salomon take is pretty good even over a tee.
‘Long enough not to feel like you’re wearing the jacket equivalent of a mini-skirt.’
What we did like instantly was the sleek cut. It’s trim and ‘athletic’ with just enough space for a lightweight mid-layer jacket underneath and long enough not to feel like you’re wearing the jacket equivalent of a mini-skirt.
The fabric works and wicks okay, but the Nebula’s ace in the hole are the serious side-vents that stretch from the hem right up to the arm-pit and properly open up your sides to great gobs of cooling air. They’re also storm-flapped an unobtrusive when not in use.
Not So Clever
Not so clever is that the vents only open from the bottom upwards which means they sit under a pack belt, making them hard to adjust without partially removing a pack. And because the zip isn’t double-ended, you can’t open the vents downwards, which would work better with a pack and be more versatile all round.
Everything else works well enough. The hood doesn’t give a lot of side facial protection, but the trade-off is good peripheral vision and it moves with your head. The hem gets a half cord so you can tighten up the drop-tail.
And the cuffs are classic hook and loop ‘Velcro’ closures. We could just about expose our forearms for cooling as well.
Finally, there are two big hand-pockets which will happily accept a map. No chest pocket inside or outside, which left us looking for somewhere to stow a phone conveniently. Your mileage may, as ever, vary, but it’s an addition we’d make in an ideal world.