Last updated: 17-Aug-18
A lightweight and waterproof running jacket is an essential item of kit for most ultra runners. Here we test the Salomon Lightning Pro WP jacket and OMM Ava jacket, following our review of the Patagonia Alpine Houdini and the new Berghaus Hyper 100.
Photo credit: Salomon.com
Salomon Lightning Pro WP jacket
Salomon state: “The Lightning Pro WP Jacket is the minimalist protective layer that ticks all your boxes for technical trails. Any weather is play weather. Stay dry, stay fresh, run light…”
- Salomon’s own waterproof and breathable fabric
- Active Fit
- Skin Fit Hood
- Chin guard
- Cape closure
- Waist adjustment
- Lightweight water repellent full-length zipper
- One zipped pocket that doubles as a stuff pocket
- Reflective details
- Gender: Female
- Weight: 169g
The jacket is easy to wear. The sizing is quite neat and the medium was the right fit for me. I am usually a UK10 or size small.
The length of torso and arms is good and the fabric is slightly stretchy so it allows good freedom of movement.
The hood is neat fitting and stays up even in the wind. A stretchy band of fabric inside the front top of the hood keeps it in place without fuss or irritation.
I found the front zip was a bit tricky to do up. The back zip hem kept getting caught in the zip teeth as I tried to do it up. This is a negative for me.
It’s possible to leave the zip fully open yet still wear it thanks to the cape closure. This is a press-stud fastener three-quarters of the way up the zip. It allows you to wear it like a cape with arms for extra ventilation when you need it but without removing the jacket.
Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.
Water resistance comes from a DWR treatment as well as Salomon’s own breathable and waterproof fabric.
The chin guard is a great extra detail because it stops the zip from rubbing on the skin when fully done up.
What this jacket is very good at is wind proofing. I felt warm and comfortable even when wet and running in rain and cold. Breathability really does seem to work.
The jacket stayed waterproof but in heavy rain it seemed to wet out a bit. The DWR does a good job but my worry would be that the treatment wears off and it would then need regular re-waterproofing.
The zipped pocket is useful for stowing a key or similar and acts as a stuff bag. It’s a tight squeeze to get the jacket into the zipped pocket but it does mean the jacket packs up into a small size.
Photo credit: Salomon.com
All the seams are sealed and the fabric feels durable. I think this will be one of those jackets that can withstand a lot of wear.
The various reflective details and the choice of colours are also great, as are the cute zip pulls (nice touch!).
It’s a women-specific jacket so the guys will need to look at Salomon’s men’s collection for their choice of jacket.
PROS: Lightweight, breathable, windproof, durable, hood.
CONS: Frustrating zip, worries about waterproofing.
It’s a nice fitting, lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket with high levels of breathability. Salomon clothing can be trusted for durability so the price tag is not too bad.
Photo credit: Theomm.com.
OMM Ava (W) jacket
The new Ava (for women) and Aether (for men) jackets are lightweight and fully-featured, mountain-running jackets.
- eVent’s DVSTORM 3-layer fabric (breathable and waterproof)
- YKK Aquaguard zip & internal bonded storm flap
- Minimal seam construction
- Chin guard
- Fully adjustable wired and laminated mountain hood
- Active multi-Cuff
- Dynamic droptail
- Face gusset
- Two large pockets with bonded pocket bags YKK AquaGuard zips
- Reflective logos and print
- Weight: 200g (Ava jacket)
- Price: £250.
The jacket performs really well but there is a strange design issue. While the AVA size small fits me perfectly well everywhere else, the forearms are very tight. They are so tight I can’t properly move in the jacket. I do not have big arms, in fact my arms are thin, so I think this sizing will be a big problem for many women. The solution is to possibly go up a size. I did contact OMM to ask them why the sleeves were so tight and they responded, “The product team have said that the forearms were made slightly smaller to enable the cuffs to work better.“
Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.
The technical performance is, however, excellent. The fabric is very windproof and waterproof, as well as breathable, and although not the lightest jacket I have tested it still feels ideal for racing. I’d say it is more of a durable mountain style ultra running jacket. It is one you could rely on to get you through the toughest weather at high altitudes.
The hood is adequate although not the best I have tried. It doesn’t always stay up in high winds. You need to adjust it carefully to make sure it does.
The adjustable cuffs are useful but not essential, in my opinion. With my length of arms, I am left with a wee gap where the cuff Velcros together and this would potentially cause a rain leak.
The waterproof zipped pockets are excellent, as is the drop tail for better coverage at the back. You could use the jacket for cycling as well as running.
I feel the jacket will be long lasting because it looks and feels durable and robust.
PROS: Trusted eVent fabric for waterproofing, windproofing and breathability; technical; durable.
CONS: Arms’ design; price.
Aside from the strange issue with the width of the forearms on this jacket it’s a high performing product that would serve you well for mountain ultra runs. It’s quite pricey but it is a robust and durable design. Go up a size to get a better fit in the women’s AVA jacket.
Read Part 1 of this jacket review.
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About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.