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Waterproof Jackets

6 of the Best Waterproof Smocks 2016 / 2017

Selection of the best waterproof smocks for all those who need a pull-on to keep them dry.

What are smocks, I hear you ask? Well, they’re essentially a pull-on – with a half-zip or three-quarter zip, rather than a full zip – version of a regular waterproof shell jacket and often they’re built for high-octane outdoor activities like fell or trail running.

But why choose a smock over a regular waterproof shell? Main benefits of a pull-on garment: you don’t have to use your hands to zip up the jacket during cold conditions, it saves weight on the shorter zip and there’s less surface area for water to get in. Regular shells, on the other hand, are easier to get on and you can open the jacket to cool down when the going gets hot. It’s 50/50 really.

What they do both have in common are the fact there are various cuts, fabrics, weights and prices to choose from in their categories. So if you’d like to find out a little more then scroll through our six picks below or if you need any further info then check out our waterproof jackets buyer’s guide.

Montane Minimus Smock

Montane’s answer to a lightweight all-round mountain shell, the Minimus Smock is minimus by name and minimus by nature – more so than the UK brand’s Spine Jacket.

Weighing in at just 151 grams, the pull-on has been designed for fast, light mountain use whether hiking or running.

It’s been constructed with Pertex Shield Plus – one of the lightest and most breathable waterproof fabrics with exceptional moisture management – so relieves sweat on strenuous outdoor sessions.

With its minimal size, the smock can be packed away to almost nothing so very good for long days out when carrying light. It is relatively mid-range in terms of price so good value for the quality it delivers.

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OMM Kamleika Race Smock II

The all-things-trail-running brand has produced its latest waterproof shell for running in the form of the Kamleika Smock II – the pull-on, stretchier version of the Kamleika Race Jacket II.

The smock is designed with the 4-way stretch Kamleika waterproof fabric, which is highly breathable for sweat relief on long endurance runs.

It’s active, tight fit means there is very little additional fabric noise when using the jacket and less flapping about, which in turn helps aerodynamics.

Other additional features like the adjustable and peaked hood, plus the reflective bits all over the main body, make a very worthy companion on a long run whatever the conditions. Not the most durable fabric but it is a very specialist running garment.

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Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Anorak

A full-on mountain shell jacket, Fjällräven’s latest 3-layer anorak is designed to be a highly functional waterproof garment with a decent cut and an eco-friendly construction.

The Keb Eco-Shell series of waterproof jackets use Eco-Shell fabric, which is a high performance and low environmental impact material that’s hardwearing and allows natural movement of the body.

This added flexibility of the fabric means the anorak is ideal for ski touring – an activity with constant arm movement – and the ventilation and moisture control of the garment helps keep you cool, but not too cool, during strenuous activity.

Eco-Shell is also made from recycled polyester (both recycled and new) and there is a clear cut back on emissions during production. Ethically good, high performance jacket, great for the mountains.

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Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock

The updated version of the UK brand’s popular light adventure smock, the new Paramo Velez has been built for travelling light in dodgy weather, a few years after the release of the original Velez Light.

Only in recent times have Paramo’s waterproof garments become lightweight and less bulky things, and in the Velez Adventure Light Smock it has its most sporty layer yet.

The Nikwax Analogy fabric, which has unique moisture management capabilities, means you won’t get hot and bothered on an intense outdoor session, while it is also very packable unlike previous models from yesteryear.

It also has a much closer fit for less excess flappiness on the go and as with the rest of the range, the jacket is made with recyclable materials. It’s just a test of time to see if the durability is still there, but either way it’s a high quality, lightweight garment.

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Keela Ventile Smock

Something a little bit different in the world of waterproof smocks is the Keela Ventile, a garment designed to be – speak quietly – the most silent jacket around.

From what we understand, having a quiet garment is simply less annoying than a loud one and of course if you’re a hunter then the game is less likely to scarper.

The Ventile Smock is, of course, a very apt all-round waterproof shell too with a unique 100% pure cotton Ventile fabric outer layer and a ADS laminated line for the combination of waterproofness and breathability.

In fact, how it works is the cotton swells to stop the passage of water when exposed to wet conditions. Add to that all the extra bits like a stormflap with snaps and adjustable hems and cuffs, here you have a proper mountain jacket that you just can’t hear.

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Alpkit Pulsar Top

The British brand’s latest waterproof breatable top, the Pulsar is a versatile on and off the hill type of garment that can equally be used for everyday lifestyle use as it could be for hill activities.

It’s not often in the outdoors industry that you see an outdoors garment, particularly waterproof jackets, and double take the price, but this was certainly the case with the Alpkit Pulsar.

For under £100, you’re getting a 2.5-layer full waterproof with high breatability qualities and a stretchy membrane for added comfort and movement.

It’s also got a stormproof hood, added ventilation zips and looks very slick with a streamlined fitted look. Oh, and it’s only 230 grams… where’s the catch? We’re not sure just yet, but we’ll do our best to find one for you.

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