Cost Smock £110
+ Four way stretch fabric, light, close fitting, simple, good value, thumb loops
- Non-helmet compatible hood. New fabric so untested for long term use
The latest incarnation of the Kamleika range features a new Gelanots fabric with four-way stretch, and a new tighter outer knit to help with water repellency which also gives a softshell feel. Waterproofing and breathability are improved on older models with tests showing eVent-like levels of performance. The fit is close, relying on the very effective inherent stretch to give freedom of movement. With a particularly close fitting hood and all black fabric, wearers may be guilty of feeling like a stealth ninja! The hood fits close, almost like a balaclava, which moves with the head reasonably well on our prototype sample, and this may improve in finished versions. The peak is foam filled and flops against the face in strong winds but again, this may improve before they hit the shops. The main water resistant zip comes to mid chest level and is a two-way zip allowing ventilation from the bottom. A laser-cut external chest pocket is also accessed via a water-resistant zip. Thumb loops are excellent for keeping wrists covered when running and biking but mean there’s no adjustment at the elasticated cuffs if you don’t get on with the loops. Finished off with an adjustable, elasticated waist and plentiful reflective graphics on the sleeves, make this an excellent, simple close fitting jacket for high energy sports. Also available in a slightly looser fitting jacket version with full length zip and handwarmer pockets.
+ Stretch panels, comfortable, pit zips for ventilation
- Weight, breathability
The Volt is designed for hiking and backpacking rather than fast moving adventure racing, so is heavy on features and this means weight. The fit is on the large side of large, meaning plenty of room for insulation layers but not ideal for fast movers. Waterproofness and breathability details on the fabric are not close to challenging eVent, and we found in the field that it got hot and clammy damp inside pretty quickly when working hard. A mixture of stretch and light weight fabric panels are combined to give good freedom of movement, but all the seams results in a lot of seam tape which reduces breathability and increases production cost. The hood fits well and will accept a helmet; however, the peak isn’t stiff enough to handle strong winds. There is a pair of handwarmer pockets hidden under a storm flap and a single chest pocket with water-resistant zip, but it’s not big enough to take a map and none of the pockets have drain holes to allow any water that gets in to escape. There is a soft perforated beard guard at the top of the offset zip which makes for a cosy place to be when the weather is rotten. While a few years ago 580g would have seemed lightweight for a waterproof jacket, fabric and construction technology has come a long way and there are better, lighter options around. This isn’t a bad jacket, just more appropriate for walking than racing.
+ Ultra lightweight, simplicity, superb hood
- Long term durability, breathability, expensive
Made from the latest Gore-Tex Paclite fabric this is a weight fetishist’s dream jacket. Haglofs’ clever smock design means the jacket, excluding hood, is only produced from two pieces of fabric. This results in minimal seam taping, hence reduced weight and improved breathability (as seam tape will never be as breathable as bare fabric). It’s squarely aimed at fast and light movers looking for the lightest, most packable fully waterproof shell around and there are none better at the moment. The face fabric, to which the Gore membrane is laminated, is exclusive to Haglofs and is extremely light, which with the minimalist design gives a genuine weight of 175grams for the test size medium. Body cut is slim, as would be expected, and features are sparse to save weight. It does have a laminated front chest pocket, (not big enough for an OS map) and an astounding hood with unusual external compression system.
There is compression adjustment by a toggle at the back of the head, which thankfully doesn’t get in the way when worn under a bike or climbing helmet. Dual toggles adjust the peak position, but in windy conditions I found the peak a bit too floppy and some other reviewers including PTC, have modified their Oz’s by inserting speaker wire into the peak brim. Check out their sites for details on modifications, however, the 2010 Oz, now called the OZO will feature a stiffer peak.
There are thumb loops in the sleeves to keep wrists covered while running, scrambling or on the bike and an adjustable elasticated hem. The fabric was very waterproof during testing, though breathability struggled when working really hard and the inside often felt damp to the touch (not to be confused with leaking). Paclite has a habit of breathing well then suddenly being overwhelmed, creating a damp inner surface. However, those that understand fabric technology will understand that internal condensation is crucial in how Gore-Tex fabrics work, so some should be expected. Additionally, I’ve always been of the mindset for fast moving sports, that if it’s cold enough to need a full waterproof shell, as opposed to a windshell, then chances are you’ll be (or should be) wearing a long sleeve wicking baselayer, so you simply won’t feel any clamminess next to your skin.
Anyway, if weight and pack size are your priorities in a waterproof shell and you want the assurance that your jacket will protect you from the heavens when they open, then look no further, the Haglofs Oz Pullover is a stunningly good jacket. As the 2009 Oz is fazed out and replaced by the 2010 OZO then there are many bargains to be had, in fact a quick search reveals it at half price here. Get there quick!
Weight 410 grams
+ eVent fabric, stretch panels, helmet compatible, breathability, fit
- Stiff feeling fabric at first, expensive
For a company that makes so much excellent lightweight outdoor gear, it’s a little surprising perhaps that this is the first item I’ve had the chance to review for sleepmonsters.com or UK Adventure Sports Magazine. Hopefully it won’t be the last, as the quality and performance of their products is superb and the constant refinement of designs means that over the past few years they’ve really sharpened up a range of ‘Fast and Light’ that’s got to be near the top of most people’s ‘Must Try’ list.
Heavy on features and talking points, the Halo could be the jacket for those looking for bombproof weather protection and excellent breathability . The, unique to Montane, lightweight eVent fabric is as waterproof as it gets with breathability surpassing the best Gore has to offer, meaning it works especially well for those who run hot. It feels stiff at first but after a couple of washes it will soften. Stretch fabric panels on the back, underarms and forearms give extra freedom of movement especially noticeable when wearing a pack while scrambling. The hip and forearm sections are reinforced for durability at minimal extra weight.
The integral wire-peaked hood offers great face protection and will cinch tight around the head as well as accommodating a helmet underneath. It’s a superb fit whether onto bare head or helmet and the neck section is long enough to allow full freedom of movement and with the stretch panels gives a proper ‘ninja’ feel. There are two soft mesh lined handwarmer pockets, which help with venting and there’s a large chest pocket which features a ‘love it or hate it’ upside-down water-resistant zip to make getting something from the bottom of the pocket easy. On the plus side it’s easy to get small things in and out of the pocket and it stops the weather getting in when you need that lip balm hiding in the bottom corner, but it can be easy for small items to fall out when you pull that fat gloved hand out again…swings and roundabouts. Another boon is that the pockets are designed to be expandable so as you fill them, they increase in volume internally instead of stretching the exterior fabric, ultimately increasing comfort.
Body fit is ‘athlete-ready’ close, though relatively long making it suitable more for walking and mountaineering, than running. There’s not a whole bunch of reflectivity going on, but those looking for such featured are probably in the minority and there are a few patches dotted around to keep your mind at ease for those late night bimbles along dark lanes. Pleasingly, long arms keep wrists covered when stretched out on the bike or jumaring, making this a great all conditions, all-activity jacket ready for the toughest expedition races.
The waterproofing level of the fabric is top of the line as is breathability, so combined with great fit and exceptional freedom of movement, I’m struggling to see any downsides to this jacket. The water repellent treatment on the fabric is still beading up after 8 months of use and when the time comes I know it can easily be revitalised in the washing machine – another of eVent’s many great attributes is its machine wash capability, something that is in fact recommended to be done often to keep it oil and much free and keep it performing optimally. If push came to shove I’d have to say there are other jackets that come close in performance but don’t have the stretch panels, for example, and therefore are on the shelves for a bit less moolah, however, I’ve seen the Halo in the sales for as little as £150 so if you see one, snap it up quick!