Review: 3 ultralight rain jackets for hikers, trail runners and urban travellers

Why carry a bulky coat when the humidity will leave you soaked? Better travel light with gear like this that weighs as little as 75g

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 January, 2016, 6:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 January, 2016, 6:00am

Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2.0

Taking the crown for the world’s lightest waterproof jacket at a mere 75g is the VapourLight Hyper Smock (HK$1,490, www.gonerunning.hk) from British brand Berghaus. Not surprisingly, it’s designed to give some protection from the elements to trail runners, which is a good start - they like to be as unencumbered as possible. Nothing is wasted in the structure, from the tight design of the hood to the slim fit, though the secret is the use of a super-lightweight fabric called Hydroshell Hyper. Somehow it also includes a chest pocket, which is handy for storing keys, cards or cash. It’s available in blue, green and grey.

Arc’teryx Beta SL hardshell

While the VapourLight is great for trail running and urban travel, the hardshell Arc’teryx Beta SL (HK$3,050, Protrek, Starlight House, 32 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2576 0833) is aimed more at hiking and the great outdoors. Its use of featherweight Paclite fabric helps it keep the weight down, though at 315g it’s significantly heavier than the VapourLight. However, there’s a reason for that; woven into it is Gore-Tex, one of the most reliable and impressive fabrics around, which guarantees a design that’s both waterproof and breathable. With a compact hood and two helpful exterior pockets, the Beta SL is best stowed in a daypack if all-day downpours are expected. Available in purple, green, black, red, brown and blue.

Mont-bell Torrent Flier

Taking elements of both the VapourLight and the Beta SL, the Mont-bell Torrent Flier (HK$1,950, overlander.com.hk) rain shell includes both Paclite material and Gore-Tex, though it adds some extra breathability in a more manual way, with underarm zips to let some air out. Though weighing a highly packable 215g, the Torrent Flier feels surprisingly tough, while its adjustable hood is comfortable and its chest pocket useful. Like the Beta SL, the Torrent Flier has adjustable Velcro cuffs, which are more comfortable than the elastic sleeves of the VapourLight. The Torrent Flier comes in blue, green, red and black.

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