Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Running Jackets

With Rocky Mountain weather in its typical state of constant flux through February and March, Allison Pattillo decided it was the perfect opportunity to test a bright bouquet of lightweight running jackets—all built with the same purpose of warding off spring breezes, summer drizzles and fall chill. “Lightweight,” is definitely the key word here, as none of the jackets tested weight more than four packets of Peanut Butter GU. All the models feature a full-zipper, wind resistance, breathability and water resistance, and can easily fit in your pocket or pack. Many also mix in some bells and whistles with obvious benefits. Read on to pick the right one for your next run.

Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket

89

2016

Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket

The Men’s Houdini Jacket from Patagonia is a versatile and extremely light weight jacket offering light protection from the elements and unparalleled comfort in it’s category.

Salomon Fast-Wing Hoodie

88

2016

Salomon Fast-Wing Hoodie

The Salomon Fast-Wing Hoodie is the lightest and most breathable running jacket in our testing line-up, but could not keep the weather out.

Outdoor Research Tantrum Jacket

87

2016

Outdoor Research Tantrum Jacket

The Tantrum Jacket from Outdoor Research brings a breathable running shell and clever packing options together in one sleek package.

Lululemon Surge Jacket

87

2016

Lululemon Surge Jacket

Expert styling, functionality, and water repellency make Lululemon’s Surge Jacket a great choice for any wet weather yogi.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket

86

2016

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket

The Ghost Lite from Mountain Hardwear features highly weather-resistant fabric, is highly compressible, and fits to suit many outdoor activities.

Saucony Exo Jacket

85

2016

Saucony Exo Jacket

Saucony’s Exo Jacket bridges the gap between a minimalist layer and waterproof workhorse.

Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie W

94

2016

Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie W

The paper-thin Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie W is geared toward mountain trail runners and racers seeking the ultimate in sophisticated, ultralight weather protection.

Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket

75

2016

Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket

The highly breathable, roomy-fitting Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket is a packable wind shell ideal for cool, blustery workouts.

Stio Women’s Second Light Jacket

84

2016

Stio Women’s Second Light Jacket

The Stio Women’s Second Light Jacket is a well-designed, hoodless jacket for cool-weather runs, with a zippered back pocket that doubles as a stuff sack.

Pearl Izumi Barrier LT Hoody

86

2016

Pearl Izumi Barrier LT Hoody

The Pearl Izumi Barrier LT Hoody is a women’s running jacket offering emergency weather protection in a featherlight package.

Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket

90

2016

Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket

The Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket sports a supple, slightly stretchy fabric and an integrated strap that lets you pack the jacket away and strap it to your waist when not in use.

Brooks LSD Jacket

78

2016

Brooks LSD Jacket

The women’s LSD jacket is the lightest weight, windproof, water-resistant running shell Brooks offers—as they call it, an “insurance policy” for fickle-weather days.

Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket

89

2015

Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket

This jacket was literally designed specifically for Europe’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)—so it’s no doubt it excels at this very purpose of keeping ultrarunners dry, comfortable and unencumbered on spectacularly long runs in the high alpine.

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II Jacket

82

2015

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II Jacket

Packing down to roughly the size of a grapefruit and holding the middle ground on weight for jackets in this test, the Women’s Helium II Jacket waterproof shell works best as lightweight insurance on days with fickle clouds.

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket

88

2015

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket

When you first slip into the Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket, you’ll think it’s too cozy to be a fully waterproof shell—that is, until you get caught in a storm and stay dry. 

Montbell Peak Shell Women’s Waterproof Jacket

85

2015

Montbell Peak Shell Women’s Waterproof Jacket

The Montbell Peak Shell is one of the few ultralight waterproof shells we tested that features a 3-layer construction (versus a 2.5). The Peak Shell is one of the stoutest stalwarts against foul weather.

Eider Women’s Pulsate Waterproof Jacket

80

2015

Eider Women’s Pulsate Waterproof Jacket

Alps based Eider has created a jacket optimized for nasty storms in high alpine environments.

Berghaus Women’s VapourLight Hyper Smock 2.0

82

2015

Berghaus Women’s VapourLight Hyper Smock 2.0

When Berghaus announced it had designed a sub-three-ounce, fully waterproof jacket geared toward trail runners, testers were skeptical. It proved its worthiness as a contender, however—first nabbing a prestigious 2014/2015 ISPO Award, then winning testers over on soggy summer runs in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.

LL Bean NeoShell Bounder Jacket

78

2014

LL Bean NeoShell Bounder Jacket

A heck of a good price for a great jacket.

The North Face Hydrogen

90

2012

The North Face Hydrogen

Allison Pattillo's Women's Running Jacket Test: The North Face Hydrogen.

New Balance NBx

92

2012

New Balance NBx

Allison Pattillo's Women's Running Jacket Test: The New Balance NBx.

Salomon Fast Wing III

90

2012

Salomon Fast Wing III

Allison Pattillo's Women's Running Jacket Test: The Salomon Fast Wing III.

Craft Performance Run Featherlight

88

2012

Craft Performance Run Featherlight

Allison Pattillo's Women's Running Jacket Test: The Craft Performance Run Featherlight.

Nike Cyclone Vapor

84

2012

Nike Cyclone Vapor

Allison Patillo's Women's Running Jacket Test: The Nike Cyclone Vapor.

Patagonia Women's Houdini Full-Zip

90

2012

Patagonia Women's Houdini Full-Zip

Allison Pattillo's Women's Running Jacket Test: The Patagonia Houdini Full-Zip.