Inov-8 AT/C Protec-Shell Jacket Review

Last updated: 08-Feb-19

By Luke Jarmey

When picking a waterproof jacket for running we tend to opt for the lightest options possible, as after all it spends most of the blooming time in our packs! Well, for truly terrible and sustained bad weather, these featherweight numbers often won’t cut it.

Enter the Inov-8 AT/C Protec-Shell, which in their words is ‘designed for keeping mountain runners and multi-day ultra racers dry and warm in the foulest of conditions’. This was actually the jacket used by Jasmin Paris in her recent groundbreaking Spine Race win and overall course record.

With all this in mind, the sodden weather of late autumn and early winter in the French Alps sounded like the perfect testing ground…

Features

  • 3 layer waterproof breathable Petex Shield Pro fabric
  • 20,000 HH and taped seams
  • Product Weight – 360g / 12.7oz
  • RRP: £270


Pro’s: What’s good about the Inov-8 AT/C Protec-Shell Jacket?

The first thing I noticed when getting my grubby mitts on the jacket, was the build quality. At 360g it’s about 160g heavier than my favourite lightweight option. However whilst that jacket feels like it’s made of (albeit very strong) tissue paper, the Inov-8 feels considerably more durable and protective. It really doesn’t feel much different to my 600g 3-layer Goretex Proshell alpine jacket. This certainly isn’t a jacket you have to baby like you do with a lot of the lighter pieces.

Furthermore, the fabric has a very slight stretch to it, which helps alleviate that ‘cardboard’ like feeling that hardshells can have.

Sizing wise, I’m 6ft/183cm, slim build and the size large fits me perfectly. I’m a passionate whinger when it comes to jackets which are cut short, so the Inov-8’s long torso suited me well and prevented it riding up whilst running.

The anatomical design, whilst perhaps not quite class leading, is still very good. Running around, my arms feel mobile and giving them a good windmill results in minimal shifting of the jacket and lifting of the hem.

https://run-ultra.com/media/images/Inov8%2520Jacket%2520Jan%252019/credit-@lukejarmey.jpg

Photo credit: Luke Jarmey

Well the above is all very delightful, but what about its ability to keep that nasty weather at bay? I’m pleased to report that its excellent in this regard. I didn’t notice any water ingress during sustained use. This is likely down to the Pertex Shield Pro fabric, durable taped seams and overall cut of the jacket, in particular the hood, which minimises the space in which rain can drip in.

Breathability seems good, not quite up there with Neoshell or some of the Event equipped jackets, but in line with most hardshells of this spec. It’s worth pointing out here that the hydrostatic head (i.e waterproofness) will generally be better on the Inov-8 than jackets with the aforementioned fabrics.

Looks are of course highly subjective, but I think it’s a classy little number, with a clean modern look and nicely sized and positioned logos. Certainly one you can happily wear in casual situations without feeling too ‘hightech’.

Safety wise, all the logos act as reflectors, giving you 360 degree visibility.

There’s some really nice design details, such as the rubberised ‘L’ shapes on the cuff. The purpose of which is to direct water flow away from your hands. Sounds a bit like wishful thinking, but it seems to work to a certain degree.

This is clearly an out-and-out jacket designed for running. And quite truthfully we’d expect nothing less from a dedicated running brand such as Inov-8. It’s been optimised for use with a hydration vest and this can be seen in the placement of the main pockets low down at the waist, far away from interference with a vest.

In terms of its packability, obviously it doesn’t scrunch down like a 150-200g piece, but it still performs well for its weight in this regard. I tended to roll it into a thin sausage shape, which slotted nicely in my pack.

Con’s: What’s not so good about the Inov-8 AT/C Protec-Shell Jacket?

Though I understand the benefit of the diagonal zipper keeping the zip away from your mouth, in practice I found it marginally annoying when not fully zipped up. You’re left with a big floppy side to the collar, which can get in the way.

There aren’t any underarm vents, presumably to cut down on weight and areas in which water can ingress. However, on balance I think the jacket would have benefited from some venting here to help prevent further sweat buildup.

The material on the inside doesn’t have a particularly nice next-to-skin feel when moist from sweat. In fairness though, most hardshell jackets suffer from this.

Colour can be highly subjective point of contention and yes I do think the black looks good… However, it would have been nice to see it offered in an additional brighter colour. If not just for style preference, but the safety aspects of higher visibility clothing in the mountains.

https://run-ultra.com/media/images/Inov8%2520Jacket%2520Jan%252019/credit-Inov-8.jpg

Photo credit: Inov8

Conclusion

A few minor niggles aside, this is on the whole a great jacket that clearly fulfils it’s design brief of a highly protective, durable shell for sustained use in seriously harsh weather conditions. The weight is quite reasonable for what it offers and Jasmin Paris using it whilst breaking records on arguably the UK’s toughest ultra, The Spine Race, is a rock solid testament to the design.

We all like bonuses and in the case of the Protec-Shell this is its, admittedly subjective, ability to be used as a casual jacket. High peak to pub, it’s got you covered.

Score  
Design 9
Features 8
Performance 9
Value 8
Total 8.5

Others you may want to consider:

Montane Fleet Jacket – £270.00
Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket – £320.00

About the author: Luke Jarmey – RunUltra Community Manager and Adventure Photographer.

See more of his images here:

@lukejarmey

Have you tried the Invo8 AT/C Protec-Shell jacket? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to be part of the RunUltra community and share tips and stories with thousands of fellow runners around the world.

We are a professional review site and our reviewers receive free products for testing from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are by the reviewer’s name shown.

Disclosure:
We use affiliate links in some of our reviews and articles. This means that if you purchase an item through one of these links we will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through our links but the income will help us to keep bringing you our free training guides, reviews and other content to enjoy. Thank you in advance for your support.

OUR RATING:
4/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"This was actually the jacket used by Jasmin Paris in her recent groundbreaking Spine Race win and overall course record"

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Like what you read?

Click here to sign up for more

Related reviews

Man running on snow covered mountains

VJ Ultra Review

Formed in 1981, VJ is the outcome of decades of footwear craftsmanship, hailing from the small town of Orivesi in the dense forests of central

Read More »

REVIEW Inov-8 AT/C Protec-Shell Jacket Review

{{ reviewsTotal }} Review
{{ reviewsTotal }} Reviews
{{ options.labels.newReviewButton }}
{{ userData.canReview.message }}

Global - Virtual

Elevation

A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for

For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Elevation

An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for

Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Brutal

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

Suitable for

Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Expert

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

Suitable for

Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Advanced

Elevation

Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Intermediate

Elevation

Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

Elevation

Very little change < 500 metres

Suitable for

First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.