Sometimes you get what you do not hope for …
Horizontal rain for eight hours, from all 360 degrees, 54km long, 1000m+
However, no way better than to test raingear!
I felt very lucky when I received the INOV-8 AT/C Stormshell (Full zip) and matching AT/C Racepant just before I headed out to the Isle of Anglesey for the Ring of Fire three day trailrun covering 216km and 4000m+ . The trail follows the coastline via the stunningly beautiful Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path (see my running experiences on my weblog).
I felt very lucky because I always like to new trailrunning gear, it makes me smile like a ice-cream-aholic (which I am also!) in a all free ice-cream shop.
But the proof of the ice-cream is in the eating and for rain-gear you need
… indeed rain!
Who wants rain when running around Anglesey? Nobody I think. And for two days we were treated with great sunny weather but the last day was different! Horizontal rain from the west with no shelter for in total 54km to go along the northwest part of the Island including a climb of Holyhead mountain, it could not be better test weather.
To be honest to all you who are reading. I received the clothes from INOV-8 UK when I asked them if they wanted to support me in this trailrun. Their response was extremely generous and I really appreciate that, but it does not withhold me to be critical. I do not think INOV-8 UK expects anything else when they promote themselves as the ‘World leaders in trailrunning gear’.
So here we go … what are my thoughts after 8 hours of rain?
First the numbers and data – from the brochure.
The AT/C Stormshell Full zip:
- Designed for lightweight racing and intense training runs in wet conditions – and it was wet!
- Roll away hood with wired peak and single multi directional adjustment.
- Packs away small into its own pocket.
- Lycra bond cuffs with integrated thumb holes for when it is really cold.
- Pertex Shield: a 2.5-layer waterproof fabric with 20,000 HH creates breathability.
- Taped seams, full length zip opening and internal stormflap, aquaguard chest zip pocket.
- 175 grams (I measured 171 grams, size M).
- Fulfils all the criteria when race organisers rule a waterproof jacket must be carried as part of mandatory kit.
- Provides 360° reflectivity.
The AT/C Racepant:
- The two layer waterproof fabric creates the same breathability as the Stormshell.
- Stretches to all sides.
- Soft inner for warmth and comfort.
- Rolls up to a small pack using an integrated loop on the waistband.
- Knee high zips for easy put on/take off.
- 176 grams (I measured 175 grams, size M).
I will divide my experiences in positive, negative and where I think INOV-8 could improve the product even more. As always, these observations are very much runner dependent but I hope I can describe clearly enough why I think a feature is + or -.
BLUF (Bottom Line Up front)
It does it job very well!!
It does not let rain in, lets sweat go out, light weight, small package, feels really comfortable even on bare skin and the Stormshell has a great hood.
Improvements could be an even more athletic cut and adjustable waistband of the Racepant and securing the hood cord to avoid ‘wind flapping’ of the Stormshell.
Does not let rain come in and lets sweat get out . It does what it states on the package! Maybe not a surprise but always good to know. During the day it was relatively warm, approx 13 degrees Celsius, which is not the best temperature for breathable clothing whilst you create more sweat the warmer it is. Underneath I had a long sleeve INOV-8 merino wool shirt, short tights and tubes on my calves. I also wore a buff. Enough to keep me warm and due to the breathability not got wet inside. After the whole trail I still felt warm and dry. The softness of the Racepants ensured indeed that I did not even realise I was wearing rain trousers.
The hood is really good!
With just one draw-cord at the back you adjust the whole hood easily around your head.
When needed you can fully secure your face when running head-on into the wind and horizontal rain. The full zip can be opened and secured just below the chin with a button, good when running with the wind in your back or uphill when you tend to sweat more.
The design of the Racepant is straight forward, basic and does the job. The zips are indeed long enough to easily put them on and off with your shoes on. There are no zip pockets or anything else.
Both Stormshell and Racepant indeed pack very small and fit easily with all your other stuff in your trailvest.
Not really. To be honest I do not have negative issues with both Stormshell and Racepants. They perform as promoted by INOV-8 and what I ‘hoped’ when, unfortunately, I needed to use them fora whole day.
No negative features but I have some possible improvements to make the Stormshell and Racepant even better, or if you wish to balance your decision what you may like to wear yourself in the end.
- The AT/C Stormshell Full zip:
- The single draw-cord at the back of the hood works really well. However, when running into the wind the cord itself begins to ‘tick’ on your head. Not very hard, but like a metronome following your running pace. This can become annoying after a while. I think it is not that difficult to add a small securing ‘band’ which stop this.
- Inform the customer that when the jacket gets wet it turns from the original colour (for me green) into a greenish / black. It is as if the jackets opens it pours to let the sweat out but at the same time showing the colour of your shirt underneath (in my case black). It does not inflict the utility of the jacket at all but when I noticed it at first I was a bit surprised.
- The AT/C Racepant:
- With my length of 1.81m size MEDIUM was good for the length of my legs. However the waist was too wide. Although there is stretch in the waistband for me I needed to fold the top of the Racepant into the top of my short tight in order not to have it slowly ‘sink’ down. I think it would be easy to add a small draw-cord to make the size of the waistband adjustable, especially with most runners probably have a smaller than usual waist size.
- Although the cut is already ‘athletic’ I would prefer an even more tighter cut. When I was running full in the wind I still felt as if the pants ‘flapped’ around a bit more than needed.
I hope this review helps you to decide if the AT/C Stormshell and Racepant are what you are looking for. I am completely satisfied and will take them with me whenever I think the weather may turn sour or when it is part of the mandatory kit list during an organised trailrun.
What are your experiences, please let me know!