This review is possibly going to be more useful for my running friends outside of Queensland, as realistically, how often do we need to run in a jacket in these parts?!
However, although living on the Sunshine Coast, since purchasing this over a year ago (Jan 2017) I have been fortunate enough to be able put the smock through its paces in Scotland, Canada and New Zealand, including wearing it for the entirety of the 55km Tiree Ultramarathon in Scotland on a very wild September’s day.
First off, this is not a women’s specific jacket. The Omm do make a women’s Kamleika jacket, but it is only offered in full length zip as opposed to smock style. I contacted them to confirm how to size this for myself and at 5’4 and a women’s size 10/12 top, I am happy with my choice of Small. It is however, as The Omm state, “an athletic fit” and layering underneath this size for me is more limited to thinner garments. A men’s Medium would have given me more room, albeit perhaps more extra bulk then I am looking for in a running jacket of this style.
The Omm pride themselves on their Kamleika fabric, which is soft and stretchy (their description – I agree). It really does feel good to wear. They also promote it for not having the “rustling” quality of a lot of rain jackets. Although I wouldn’t say it’s exactly silent as you move around, when I compare it to something like my Patagonia Torrentshell – it’s true that it is a quieter fabric. This may or may not be important to you, but for someone who can’t stand keys jangling in pockets or sloshing bottles, I personally like the quiet aspect!
The stretch in the fabric means that it moves nicely as you’re running, and the elasticated cuffs and thumb holes give you a great option for a little bit of hand warmth and keeping the sleeves in place.
As this is a smock, it’s a case of pulling the jacket over your head to get it on and off. This can definitely seem like an extra “faff” when you’re tired during a long run, but I love the fit once it’s on and the two way zip and long zip front mean you can open it up very easily for ventilation. In cold or windy conditions with frozen fingers or wearing gloves, it’s also a lot easier to pull this jacket on, than to have to fiddle around with lining up two sides of a zip to get the jacket fastened up. You are pretty much spared that whole scenario when your jacket imitates a feisty kite, flapping in the wind, while you try to hold both sides down and fasten it up.
As this is designed as a lightweight option (weight approx 230g), there aren’t any pit zips, which I do love in other jackets for extra ventilation, but definitely add weight and bulk, which is not how this model was designed.
That being said, the smock does feature a zip chest pocket which I’ve found really handing for stashing a phone, or nutrition, if I’m running without a hydration vest/backpack.
This is definitely an “athletic fit” but I do also like the slightly longer tail which, if you don’t cinch up with the elasticated draw cord hem, can give you a bit of extra protection in pouring rain, or if you’re taking a seat on the side of the trail for a minute. Having said that, wearing this jacket for the whole 55kms of the Tiree Ultra, I did notice that the back kept creeping up. Perhaps this was down to my hydration pack, as I hadn’t noticed it happening so much before. I was so soaking and wind battered during that race, it took me a while to realise I was inadvertently exposing my lower back to the elements too.
Breathability is always a challenge with running jackets, but I’d rate this one pretty highly. The soft fabric, combined with the option to vent through the front without having the jacket flapping around you, due to the smock design, makes for a pretty comfortable wear. It is certainly a far cry from that feeling of running in a clammy plastic bag which some cheaper options may offer! From a waterproof perspective, I haven’t experienced any issues with it, although sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m sweaty on the inside (mmm nice and honest) – it’s rated at 15m hydrostatic head and 12000 G/m2 breathability if you’re clued up in the waterproofing scheme of things or are looking to compare with another jacket.
Finally, the hood! The hood on this jacket is an absolute gem. While it rolls away into the collar if you’re not using it, on many occasions I’ve had this hood firmly pulled up and around my face. The slight peak allows water to flow off while the adjustable crown lets you pull the hood into a shape which suits your face. I also have to praise it for standing up to near gale force winds in Scotland, staying firmly up, protecting me a little against the elements!
This isn’t the most stashable jacket (there’s no little pocket it rolls into, or pouch), however I have often rolled it up and stuck it in the kangaroo pouch of my hydration vest, or of course gone for the basic, tie it around your waist option. The soft fabric makes it pretty easy to scrunch up and stay in place if you’re stashing it.
As ever, I consider price to be a very subjective matter, but what I would say is that this smock has withstood some serious tests of the elements, and has washed, packed, run and travelled really well so far. With the more athletic fit, I’d be less inclined to wear it for a casual hike, but it’s definitely my go to for a chillier or wet run!
Since I purchased this jacket, a new “4th generation” model has been released – more info here on The Omm website.
As always, if you’ve any questions about my experience with this jacket, just comment below! Likewise, if you have a running jacket you really love – let me know!