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THE NORTH FACE Better Than Naked Jacket

September 21st, 2011

The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket

The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket is a seemingly weightless, easily stowed, weather-resistant layer for Fall running.

As part of TNF’s Flight Series collection and Better Than Naked (BTN) line, the Better Than Naked Jacket is completely performance-driven with premium features and a minimalistic design. Both light and windproof, it’s built for endurance athletes who may experience fluctuating conditions all within one run. The fabric is uniquely soft, yet also breathable and stretchy.

We tested the Better Than Naked Jacket in a variety of running conditions.  Though we expected the jacket to be too thin for running on brisk mornings (~ 50 degrees) with only a tank underneath, it was actually just right. It was cold at first, but then quickly warm and even too warm once the sun rose. This was a perfect opportunity to utilize the stash pocket. Once stowed away, there wasn’t much to do with it. There is a wrist strap but ultimately it was most comfortable when worn around the waist or stashed in the back of shorts.

On violently windy days, the jacket performed surprisingly well as a wind barrier. Slip on the hood, tighten the hood’s drawcord and you’ll find yourself adequately protected from most stormy conditions. An important caveat is that the BTN jacket is neither seam-sealed nor substantial, so it will unlikely keep you sheltered from extreme downpour or dramatic drops in temperature. But we found the weight to be very versatile and the fabric to be deceivingly powerful.

The nicest feature by far was the jacket’s fabric. Implied in the name “Better Than Naked,” it has an incredible feel that makes it largely unnoticeable as you run; while runners normally avoid layers at all costs because of bunching, bulkiness or weight, the BTN Jacket is impressively airy and unrestricting. There is an even lighter version of the jacket for Spring and Summer that is very ventilated, but isn’t windproof or hooded. The Better Than Naked Cool Jacket will be available in February 2012.

Overall, the Better Than Naked Jacket is fantastic for long distance running in unpredictable climates.

Other “stand out” features:

  • Laser-cut venting provides a cooling system for your body (underarms and on hood)
  • All around adjustability: cord loops around the waist and on the sculpted hood keep the garment close to your body even when running in wind
  • Lots of reflectivity
  • Great versatility: can be worn with only a tank underneath and stowed away when temperatures increase

Where other jackets fail to provide lasting comfort and freedom, the North Face Better Than Naked Jacket prevails. It’s a must-have for Fall running.

The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket (MSRP $129.00) is currently available for both men and women.

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The Sugoi Hydrolite Jacket: Intelligent Fabric, Brilliant Design

September 9th, 2011

The Sugoi Hydrolite Jacket

The advent of packable, lightweight running jackets isn’t an entirely new concept, but the Sugoi Hydrolite Jacket is absolutely original.

Sheer and intriguing, it features an “intelligent fabric” that reacts with water to create a moisture-blocking membrane. The film-like surface visibly activates as beads of water roll off of it, leaving a trace of “lifted” material. Unlike other jackets with waterproof material, the Hydrolite’s unique fabric actually breathes well; it allows excess heat and moisture to escape while also protecting you from the elements outside. This means that you can run comfortably in rainy conditions for far longer than most protective running jackets would allow. The Hydrolite even has 4-way stretch, ensuring great movement.

Between its one-of-a-kind fabric and its inherent versatility, the Sugoi Hydrolite Jacket clearly has an advantage over other weather-resistant shells. Beyond that, this stellar piece has ventilation panels and all-around reflective piping. It packs down to about the size of a muffin, making it a great “just-in-case” jacket for running in suspicious weather.

The Men’s Sugoi Hydrolite Jacket is currently available at Running Warehouse (MSRP $90.00).

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