No doubt you are very familiar with inov-8's range of trail running shoes. In my opinion, as an obstacle racer, there really isn't anything better to wear on your feet. However, something that we're slightly less familiar with are waterproof jackets. We tend to spend half of our time submerged in water at obstacle races, so there's little point wearing something designed to keep the rain at bay! However, that's not to say that waterproof jackets shouldn't be on our radar, particularly for those of us looking to take part in longer trail runs and challenges.
For the likes of Man Vs Mountain, Fan Dance and many other trail runs like them, a decent waterproof jacket is on the mandatory kit list. That can be a little frustrating when you rock up to a start line bathed in beautiful sunlight, which is why it's great to get something that's light and compact that you can sling into the smallest possible backpack.
Investing in a decent running waterproof doesn't need to be just for a few isolated events though. They can, of course, make winter training a little more cosy.
Before I go into the stuff that's likely to make you fall in love with this jacket from the minute you put it on, I'll get the stinger out of the way... it's likely to cost you in the region of £150. I know, I hear what you're saying but, in the scheme of things, that's not actually a bad price for a really good jacket.
The stuff that rocks about this jacket...
I don't expect you to get excited about a waterproof jacket... well, at least not until you've been inside a really good jacket after a lifetime of fairly average ones. One of the best thing about this one though, unsurprisingly, is that it works really well when you're actually running:
- It's so light it barely feels like you're wearing a jacket.
- You can wear the hood up without it restricting your head movements (nor the movements of the rest of your body, for that matter).
- It has a peak with a wire filling that adjusts easily to a shape that suits you .
- It's slimline, so won't make you feel like a kite when the wind picks up.
- It's got thumb loops to keep your sleeves locked in place (if you so desire).
- It's got easy-tug elastic adjustments for the hem and hood.
The techy stuff in English...
When I'm testing something waterproof I like to pore water onto it and see whether beads form on the surface without it soaking in. I then give it a bit of a rub to see what affect that has. It's simple and perhaps no test for a jacket of this calibre, so it's useful to get a little more techy...
There are two important numbers relating to waterproof fabrics, one measures the waterproofability [technical term] and one measures breathability. As a rule of thumb, once each of those numbers goes over 10,000, it can be considered "fairly good" and once they go over 20,000 they can be considered excellent. This jacket has a rating of 20,000 HH and 20,000 B-1, which basically means it will keep you really dry without you getting clammy and sweaty on the inside.
Of course, there's no point having a really waterproof fabric if you're going to stitch a needle through it a bunch of times when you're turning it into a jacket. That's why, like other top level jackets, this Stormshell comes with "taped" seems and fancy waterproof zips to keep the wetness and wind out.
So, there you have it. A decent waterproof jacket will be a great investment for many of us who are looking to get serious about trail running and events that are on the boundary of obstacle racing. And, as you'd expect from inov-8, their Race Elite Stormshell ticks all of the boxes.
Inov-8 Stormshels, as well as some more of their clothing options, are now available on ObstacleKit.co.uk (don't forget your Mudstacle discount)