I thought I'd write up a separate review of my new Decathlon running jacket
for the benefit of anyone considering buying one.
What attracted me to this jacket was the fact that it is windproof, waterproof and lightweight. It also seems to be cut for skinny runners like me, and I quite like the dayglo yellow colour too (although my wife and kids think it's ghastly, but what do they know?).
There was a RonHill lightweight jacket on the peg next to this one, and it was about £25 cheaper, but on close inspection, it was a lot thinner, only good for light rain, and didn't appear to be "breathable". I have a cycling jacket that fits that bill already, so no point in buying something similar!
All seams and zips are taped to prevent water ingres. This is a good feature which is missing in many cheaper jackets and which is why they aren't good for really bad weather.
The jacket has a hood, which seems to be a good fit, but which I'll probably never use as I prefer a woolly hat. Fortunately, it unzips from the jacket and the jacket has a nice little flap which folds down over the zipper when the hood is removed. Nice touch! The hood itelf has a draw-tie at the back and a loop and hook (aka Velcro) tab on the front to make for wrapping you up well against the elements.
Ventilation on the jacket is by means of a concealed vent on the back of the jacket, and two zipped vents on the sleeves. I guess that's what they mean by "breathable", although I tend to prefer GoreTex - at least for hiking (I have heard that GoreTex can't release vapour fast enough for runners, but haven't ever tried it). The one thing that concerned me about the vent on the back of the jacket is that it is not closeable. So, with a strong enough wind, you may notice cold air or even water getting in (more on that later). The zipped vents on the sleeves are good quality with water-resistant taping over the zipper when it is closed (this is also repeated on the front of the jacket).
The cuffs have two hook & loop patches which allow you to adjust how tight the cuffs are when the jacket is on. I found that getting these right with a pair of gloves on to be a bit tricky, but the fit was good in the end and the sleeves did not ride up or let the cold air/rain in as my cycling jacket has a tendency to do.
The neck is a reasonably close fit when the front zip is fully up. I don't have a fat neck, but I imagine that someone with an above normal neck size might find it difficult to zip all the way up and still remain comfortable. There was no draw-tie on the neck as some jackets have, which I thought was going to be a problem, but turned out not to be!
I will caveat this by saying that I've only worn the jacket once, and although there was wind and rain, neither were particularly heavy.
The jacket material is fairly thin, so I opted to run in a vest under a Lowe long sleeved base-layer. I thought that this combination might lead to me overheating - even in the cold conditions, but I'd rather be too warm than cold when out running. It turns out that this was a pretty good combination for the prevailing conditions. My shoulders wer cold for the first 10 minutes or so, but once I'd warmed up, I didn't have any issues until I was cooling down again after the run.
The most problematic aspect of all foul-weather jackets I've tried is that under exertion (eg hills or fast road work), you tend to heat up a lot quicker than with normal running gear. This jacket is really no exception to this. However, I did find that I didn't overheat as I thought I might - even with hat and gloves on. Not only that but once I got home, I found that I wasn't soaked with sweat as I usually am when running in my waterproof cycling jacket with similar levels of exertion. I can only attribute this to a better "breathability" of the jacket.
I mentioned earlier that I was concerned about the vents on the back letting in cold air or even rain when it is very windy and wet. This did not occur during my run, and although it was not a particularly strong wind or heavy rain, I am confident that the jacket will hold true even if the weather were that bad.
I supsected also that because the neck was a little loose, I would get rain in. This did not appear to be the case, although I have to confess that the Lowe base-layer does have a high, close-fitting neckline on it, so even if rain got under the coat collar, I probably would not have noticed it unless it was significant enough to wet me through.
Lastly, let's talk about the price: £64.95! Fortunately, my son works at Decathlon, so I got a 20% discount off, but even so, it is an expensive piece of running atire. I've seen Gore Wear jackets much more expensive than this (and was indeed tempted by one), so in reality, it is a mid-priced jacket.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the jacket. It appears to do everything Declathlon claim of it, and does it well. I think the price is probably a little high, but knowing Decathlon, they will have pitched it well against what they consider its opposition.
The only minor negatives for me are the slightly fiddly hook & loop patches on the cuffs and the lack of a draw-tie on the neck. However, these are very minor issues.
There ar undoubtedly cheaper jackets on the market, but for the features, overall, I think this is a fair price.