Running in the rain can be great fun: exhilarating, cooling, refreshing and motivating all at the same time. Running during rainy patches in summer or the start of autumn with the smell of petrichor hanging in the air can be incredibly cathartic too.
But that said, if the gusts or headwind are too strong and winter’s grip is fierce, it can be less so. Good gear, as ever, makes the difference.
When it comes to rain jackets for the hotter end of the calorie-burning exercise spectrum, breathability is critical. I am not a man who likes clam. But I am a man who likes running in rain. So, therein lies a tension to resolve.
My rain jackets for running, challenging hikes and when I’m bombing round Bristol on my bike, need to set any trapped air free, and quickly too. I’m almost certainly going to be backpacked up, so decent aeration will be doubly important. If I’ve got them, I’ll almost always have my pit zips open in all but the most brutal of winter winds. And speaking of winter again, it’s always more reassuring to have elements of strong reflectivity for those back country lane sections away from the bright lights of the cityscape.
I like a rain jacket loose and roomy enough that I can chuck it over a mid layer as the days shorten but one that is also equally at home over a T-shirt and against the skin where it doesn’t grind my gears with any flappy bulk.
Needless to say (is it?) it should be waterproof. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a jacket that has truly held out after sustained deluges, regardless of the brand or fabric.
In the last few years I’ve relied on my Patagonia Torrentshell for almost all of the above except for more serious temperature drops and, as much as I’ve loved it, it never really held its waterproofing promise completely and nor did it bestow thorough breathability. I’ve been looking for a new option for a while.