Just In – OMM Kamleika Race Jacket II
New in for review is OMM’s new Kamleika Race Jacket II, the latest in a long line of the iconic Kamleika kit from the mountain marathon-orientated guys at the Original Mountain Marathon Company – OMM.
Soft And Stretchy
It’s worth a quick recap on Kamleika as it’s an unusual sort of fabric. What makes it different from most waterproof materials is that first it has a four-way stretch built into it, like a real, proper noticeable stretch which means it doesn’t restrict movement even if it’s cut close. For this year, the seam tape is also stretchy which makes the garment more elastic overall.
Second, Kamleika has a pleasant soft feel to it that makes it comfortable to wear and, importantly for anyone contemplating long days out, very quiet in use and mostly rustle free.
OMM has been using the fabric for years now, but the design of the clothing has evolved gradually. If you want the lightest Kamleika top available, you’ll be looking at the Kamleika Race Smock II, which is a closer-fitting, more minimal beastie with a single chest-pocket, thumb-loops and a claimed weight of 260g.
The jacket version is intended to be more of an all-rounder, which is why we have it in for review. It’s a claimed 40g heavier at 300g, but our review jacket in a medium actually weighs in at a measured 261g, which is decently light, though not up with the really ultra-lightweight kit out there these days.
It’s aimed, says OMM, more at ‘the more multisport user’ than the tighter-fitting smock, but the stretch means it can still be a snuggish fit to reduce flapping and rustling without being restrictive We’d say it’s actually pretty close fitting and a short-medium sort of length with a bit of a drop tail.
There are two cavernous, mesh-lined hand-warmer pockets that double as vents and will comfortably swallow an OS map if that’s a consideration, the hem has shock-corded adjustment while the cuffs are Velcro-tabbed. The stretch in the fabric means you can roll them up easily too.
Up top there’s what OMM calls a ‘mountain hood’. It has some stiffening to the peak, but no wire, and fits nicely over a bare or hatted headwith two-way adjustment. Its tab-away too, so you can fold it down for running or biking use or you can even wear it under a helmet in particularly harsh conditions.
Finally, the blue with blue blue water resistant zip looks nice and makes a change from the traditional black and orange combination of previous Kamleika garments. That, the copious amounts of reflective and the neat pocket insets give a contemporary feel to the jacket.
For performance we’d say that Kamleika isn’t quite up there with the likes of Gore-Tex Active or Polartec NeoShell, but we’re always pleasantly surprised by how well it does work and the pay-off is the generous stretch, comfortable feel and low noise level. It’s not quite as quiet as Paramo, but then it’s a whole lot lighter.
Overall, while we wouldn’t necessarily choose it as a sole walking option and it’s not what we’d call a full ‘mountain shell’, if you mix up a bit of walking, running and biking, and like the idea of a waterproof that’s reasonably light and packable, soft and pleasant to wear, non restrictive and quiet in use, we reckon it could be a good call.
The Kamelika Race jacket II is priced at £160 and there’s also a women’s version available, the Kamleika Race Jacket (W). Full review to follow.
More information at www.theomm.com.