Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OMM Kamleika Race waterproof softshell jacket and pants review

I needed new better waterproof jacket and pants for next summer's alpine trail running. After some research I chose OMM Kamleika Race. It seems pretty good for a softshell, and it sure kept me dry and comfortable during a recent rainstorm.

I got size M as usual, which seems to be a bit tighter for me than expected. It's ok with a thin underlayer, but there's not quite enough room for a proper midlayer. In cold weather the minute you stop moving, you are frozen. Of course you might try to wear warmer insulation over Kamleika, if that's possible.

The new Gelanots fabric is advertised as soft, stretchy, and breathable (15,000 gsm/24h) - and it is, and feels nice to touch. It's made of polyester/polyurethane - everything is plastic these days.

The pants might restrict my movements when climbing steep hills, especially so when they are designed to be such a tight fit. That's why I won't be using the pants at all, unless absolutely necessary.

Being 100% waterproof (20,000 mm hydrostaic head), Kamleikas can make you very sweaty in no time if you run hard in warm conditions. However the breathability is not that bad compared to other similar garments I've tried. There are plenty of non-waterproof running jackets that are way lighter and much more breathable, but they won't protect you much either during scary weather.

Last summer in Swiss Alps, while wearing Inov-8 Mistlite 210 Jacket, I learned the hard way that "windproof and water resistant" is not the same as waterproof. Long story short, I got hypothermic, and my race was over soon after that. So I thought it might pay to carry a few hundred extra grams next time.

+ a 100% waterproof softshell that protects effectively from rain and bad weather as promised,
+ lightweight (jacket 300 g, pants 190 g) and small enough to be carried in your backpack during a race,
+ water resist YKK zippers and pockets,
+ jacket has two large externally laminated torso pockets,
+ lots of reflectives for safety in the dark,
+ elasticated draw cord hem,
+ Velcro cuff closure.

- slightly expensive,
- way too tight "athletic cut" for any serious athletic endeavours (size M seems almost like S, so consider a larger size than normally, especially if you plan to wear any warm clothes under during the cold season),
- may not seem quite as breathable as advertised when running hard (but not too bad compared to other similar products).

I'd recommend OMM Kamleika race jacket and pants for ultra trail running races, but only during very bad weather. When the weather is nice this sort of garments are way too hot. So carry them in your backpack, and use them when you hit a storm up on the mountains.


fuddam said...

thanks for the review. Not many on these jackets, so appreciate your input



Jukka Kukkonen said...

you're welcome. after this summer's races I'd emphasize that this suit may not be enough to keep you warm in cold weather.

Anonymous said...

Wore my Kamlieka smock for the first time up Snowdon in devils own weather of high winds and drizzle.
The Gelanots fabric worked magnificently andi found the extra long sleeves with thumb loops very handy.
I will now consider the matching trousers because I was mightily impressed with this OMM stuff.


Jukka Kukkonen said...

Yes I agree Gelanots is good stuff. I'm still happily using my OMM Kamleika jacket and trousers after 2 years. They are not 100% waterproof (anymore), but they are breathable and comfortable to wear. In mountain races I'll take a rain poncho with me just in case it will really pour. They initially felt a bit too tight for me (especially the pants), but after switching to a more veggies/fruits based nutrition, they fit me perfectly now! These are obviously designed for lean racers, but very good stuff yes.