Since my OMM Cypher smock ended up being consigned to the metaphorical dustbin (I can still wear it, but it just isn't waterproof) I realised that I had to stop lusting after a Castelli cycling jacket, and focus on replacing something that is a staple of winter training.
As this is pretty wordy, if you want to skip the whole thing to get to the punchline, I've summarized it all at the bottom, feel free to jump on down there if you're short of time.
I do like Waterproof smocks, as they have less zip area in which to let moisture in. Admittedly, when running, you do tend to build up a lot of moisture inside the jacket- even when it is a highly breathable one, it is still a really grim feeling to have that cold stripe of water ingressing through the zip onto your baselayer.
I shudder just thinking about it.
So the less zip there is to let that in, the better. Hence my penchent for smocks over full zippered coats.
At this time (2014) there is quite an array of smocks out there for the discerning fellrunner, going through a few different fabrics and also cost points. The best thing to do was to sit down, work out what I wanted, how much I didn't want to pay, and then cancel out the various options until I got down to the One.
Looking at the ridiculously lightweight to begin with- the Berghaus Vapourlight Hypersmock- a top with a couple of superlatives thrown in there for good measure, looks amazing. At 110g for a Large, this has to be the lightest "waterproof" smock out there. It packs down to almost nothing, and you'd barely notice it in a bumbag. It apparently complies to all FRA regulations, has a hood with 2 point adjustableness, and an arm pocket (which you can't fit much in at all- maybe 3 jelly babies), and on sale at £90... well. That's really not a bad price for a racing jacket. If I was in the market for the bare minimum to race with, this would indeed be my choice. However, the fabric is ridiculously thin- it has to be to get the weight down so low, and although it is waterproof and windproof, I'm not sure how well it would cope after 5 hours of thrashing rain and wind in the middle of Bleaklow.
For racing, and bimbling about on 1-2 hours runs, this might be the ticket, but from experience, I know I'm going to need something a bit more meaty.
Next on my list are the relatively new Inov8 offerings. The Race Elite 150, and the Race Shell 220. Both made very much with the weight conscious runner in mind- the numbers being the amount of grams each weighs, and priced at £120 and £150 full retail- you can get them cheaper in various outlets, they are pretty much slap bang in the range of decent in terms of price.
|Inov8 Race Elite 150|
So on the last outing of my OMM, in the wet, in the clag, I asked those people wearing one what it was like as a waterproof. As I suspected, amazingly light, but after a couple of outings, lost a lot of its waterproofness and also ended up being damp and chilly. Although it would past muster in a race, not something that would hold its own for hours on end on Bleaklow.
|Inov8 Race Shell 220|
Nice. I'd quite like to try one.
From one British Manufacturer to another one- Montane. A real favourite of the Mountain and ultrarunning community. Montane have a couple of offerings that I'm interested in, and even a Jacket (shock, horror), that looks good.
|Montane Minimus Smock|
|Montane Aero eVent smock|
|Montane Further, Faster|
|Haglofs Gram Pull|
|OMM Aether Smock|
Berghaus - 110g. £120. Crazy lightweight. Good for racing. Not good in winter.
Inov8 Race elite 150 - 150g, £120. Light, but delaminates and wets out fast
Inov8 Race shell 220 - 220g, £150. Solid fabric, decent hood, looks like a contender
Montane Minimus - 146g, £130. Pertex Shield+ 2 point hood. Good for races - not necessarily for winter
Montane Aero eVent - 280g, £240. eVent = great. 2 Point hood = deal breaker.
Montane Further Faster - 425g, £200. Neoshell looks fab, should be good for winter- but not in the bumbag
Haglofs gram Comp - 215g, £250. Activeshell. Light. Simple. 3 point hood adjustment. A contender
OMM Kamleika - 240g, £130. Genelots. Stretchy, light, personally, I don't like the feel of it.
OMM Aether - 200g, £240. eVent. Same as the Cypher, but lighter. Certainly a contender.
So there you have it. Just to see what deals I can get - as all these prices are pretty much full rrp.