Thursday, 14 October 2010

Montane lightspeed H2O jacket

After entering a race and realising that I needed a taped waterproof jacket with a hood, and knowing that the featherlite just wouldnt do, I cast around for another lightweight jacket that would do the job.
Where else to look, but Montane who made the featherlite smock which had done me so well in previous races.
The Lightspeed is crazy lightweight, has taped seams and a hood. Perfect. What more could I need? I didnt actually need it to "work", I just needed it as a tick on my kit list.

It stuffs into its own stuffsac- about the size of a large orange- which has a velcro wrap on it. The idea of this is so that you can wear the thing on your arm as you run around, and should you need it, you just open the pouch, rip the top out and put it on, without even stopping running. Excellent idea, but I find it a bit bulky to wear strapped on the arm- it puts off the balance as I run. It generally gets stowed in the rucksac.

During the first race I used it in, it was indeed, used. 24 hours of not the nicest weather. I took it for granted that it was going to be waterproof, the first thing that was pretty cool was the reflective strips. The entire front zip piping is reflective, and there is a portion of piping on the wrists of each arm- to be seen as you signal on a bike.
Its cut quite long- so the tail easily sits over the butt as you hoon around on a bike, and the cut is a lot less "bag like" than the smock- a virtue of it being a full length zip top rather than a smock.

The next excellent feature I noticed was the comfort when cold, wet and hammering down a hill on a bike. We had just finished a fell running section, jumped on our bikes and headed off down hill, into a fairly windchilled area. In the smocks it would have been quite uncomfortable- not warm at all.

Did the lightspeed's zip up to the top, the hood wrapped up in the pouch behind the head enclosed around the neck, and. wow, it was like being in an armchair.
Well, not quite like that, but it was warm, comfortable, and didnt flap around like a kite as we descended.
And it still breathed. (Not crazy like, but for that price, and at that level, if I want it to breathe, I'll open the zip, or take it off).

Two minor issues, Ive had the jacket for just over a year, used it on about 5 races, and a few runs, stored it mostly out of its bag, and the taping is beginning to de-tape under the arms, and behind the neck, and there is a bit of delamming of the pertex on the back, under the arms and around the neck. These are quite high wear points, so Im not entirely surprised, and I have used this top in relatively extreme circumstances in comparison to day to day wear, but I might have expected it to last a bit longer before beginning to die.

Heres a quick pic of some detail of the delamming and seam de-taping that is going on.

Overall though, did what I needed it to do, and still does it, though a fair bit less waterproof than it was at the beginning.

If you want to geek out about numbers, the fabric is freeflow H2O....
  • 43g/m² 30 denier Nylon mini rip-stop with Monolithic PU coating
  • Waterproof to a minimum of 1,500mm (JIS L 1092)
  • Breathable with a minimum MVTR of 6,000g/m²/24hrs (JIS L 1099 A-1)
  • Spray rating 80 / 20 (JIS L 1092)

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