Winter Waterproof Winner 2013/14
This winter has been brilliant for testing waterproofs and, if the Inuits have multiple words for snow, surely we’ll soon develop a similar lexicon for rain. I’ve certainly put more than a few through their paces and, if you’re in the market for a ultra lightweight running waterproof, there’s a great crop to pick from.
If you want to go truly lightweight, stripped down and minimal, then look no further than the Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock. At 107 g for a Men’s large it’s competitive with wind proofs and it packs down insanely small, which was kindly illustrated by my dog in the review.
However, although superb for throwing in a pack or bum-bag and passing race organisers kit checks with minimal weight, it’s probably not a jacket that you’d choose to head out for a full foul days on the hills in or put through daily abuse.
For that, one jacket has pulled ahead of the pack for me this winter, the Inov-8 Race Elite 150 Stormshell.
Inov-8 Race Elite 150 Stormshell features
My bar for a waterproof jacket to genuinely lightweight is 200 g for a Men’s Large and this jacket dips comfortably under tipping my kitchen scales at 183 g. It stuffs down well too into its own stuff sac and doesn’t occupy significant pack space.
Although lightweight, it certainly doesn’t skimp on features. The roll away hood is fully adjustable with a wired peak and the decent length hem has a drawstring. The zippered chest pocket is ideal for a compass or a gel and the zip guard around your chin feels positively luxurious. It’s got thumb loops through the elasticated cuffs and, although I know that some runners aren’t fans, for me they’re a definite plus.
Waterproof and well ventilated
The 2.5-Layer Waterproof fabric with 20,000 HH and 20,000 B-1 Breathability (I won’t even pretend to know what those figures mean but I know some people like to have them quoted), keeps the rain out and, even when working fairly hard with the hood up, breaths as well as any other waterproof I’ve tested. The zip allows for easy ventilation adjustment and you can push the sleeves up your arms for some forearm cooling (a tip from Jon that really does make a difference).
It’s taken abuse well too, including high speed dry stone wall encounters on the mountain bike, the regular jacket ripping hazard of hoiking a sodden dog over a stile and weekends spent festering in a pack.
In summary, it’s a running jacket that, although stuff-able and light enough for race day, is also practical, durable and has all the key features for daily use and, at £150, is competitively priced too.
For more information on the Inov-8 Race Elite 150 Stormshell visit www.inov-8.com.