Waterproof Trail Running Jackets: is there a solution?

After receiving a query asking for recommendations with regards waterproof jackets for trail running, I thought I would put together some of my thoughts on this matter.

As you well know, many of the trail runs now require you to carry a waterproof jacket and not just a shell. The grounds for this requirement is that a shell will keep you warm enough whilst you are moving, it will not be enough to keep you warm should you have to stop for any reason, such as in the event of an injury. As the weather in the mountains of the Cape can become extreme in a frighteningly short period, the risk of hypothermia is very real.

CAPESTORM Stratos Jacket
CAPESTORM Stratos Jacket

The two shells that I run in are the CAPESTORM Helium Jacket, and the CAPESTORM Stratos Wind Shell, but neither of them pass inspection as waterproof.

My solution admittedly was to simply buy a Salomon XT Wings 5 hydration backpack that could store my CAPESTORM Jacket which is really a fully waterproof hiking jacket. My Camelbak Octane XC really has no space to carry more than a few gels and snacks. The jacket is bulky, and I would not like to have to run in it! Buying the new pack was obviously a pretty expensive “solution” too!

This is not ideal in terms of weight as quite frankly if it was cold and / or raining I would still wear a shell in preference to the waterproof jacket which I would still have to carry.

Ultimately I think the problem is that anything currently on the market that IS actually waterproof is not breathable enough to run in, and would probably be too heavy and restrict your motion too much. I have spoken to the guys at the Salomon Concept Store who tell me that they will soon have a waterproof trail jacket available. It will be very interesting to see what they come up with! If they do find a workable solution I am sure we will see the other brands produce similar jackets.

In summary, my feeling is that for the moment where you are forced to carry a waterproof jacket, your best bet is to find the lightest fully waterproof jacket you can find, ignoring breathability, that you will stow in your pack in case of emergency.


Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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