Inov-8 Race Elite 260 Thermoshell
The Inov-8 Race Elite Thermoshell is a lightly insulated (Primaloft Sport), reversible jacket with an emphasis on trail running features. With 40 g/m2 on the chest and body and 25 g/m2 on the arms and collar you get just the right amount of insulation, where you need it, in cool to cold weather running.
- Weather resistance
- Synthetic insulation
- Thumb loops too small
- Elastic hem too tight/ My waist too big?
Retail Price: $200
Weight: 9.9 oz (including stuff sack)
Packed size: Roughly a Nalgene bottle
*Warning: this review is filled with far too many selfies, if you are squeamish, look away now. Also fun side game: track the testing time through the facial hair, and in my defense, it was Movember, not a sign of a Hipster takeover.*
In a word? Perfection. The cut sits slightly below my waist and has an elastic hem to keep it in place. I have found the elastic a little too tight, and if it rides up, say if you lift your arms above your head, it will get held in an awkward belly top kinda way! I'm hoping over time it will lose some of its elasticity.
The fit is so good that it allows this jacket a lot more versatility. Its uses, in my opinion, compare favourably to how you would use a down sweater. The big advantage here is that the synthetic insulation handles any excess moisture far better.
The sleeves are, by design, long, with thumb loops to keep them in place while running. Having a layer of Primaloft covering your hands in frigid temps is akin to the comfort of snuggling a puppy Golden Retriever in front of a warm fire. Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there, but you will be thanking the heavens (or Inov-8) when you need to use them.
My only complaint is the opening on the thumb loops is a little tight, I'd like to see it a little bigger for a more relaxed fit.
I found the Pertex Quantum fabric shell was able to fend off all but the strongest downpours, and the insulation is a welcomed feeling in a cold rain. My previous choice for winter running was either a light wind shell, or an unlined softshell, this will replace both.
Having the zipper down it vents adequately well, but I wouldn't want to be running in this at much over 0 degrees Celsius (32°F). The warmest I have been able to test it in was 4 degrees Celsius and I had to roll up the sleeves. The coldest I'd be comfortable recommending this at is around -20°C, and I generally run hot (pun intended). Below that, anyone that's out running is more dedicated/ less lazy than this guy!
"This unique reversible shell isn't just for show, the innovative design delivers 10% more warmth on the reverse, giving genuine resting and starting options in the mountains."
This is Inov-8's claim. While the science behind it makes sense—having the insulation exposed as opposed to behind a windproof layer, 10% is such a small amount to be able to perceive. I'd like to think I felt warmer with the Pertex (orange) side out, but I also know I'm a sucker for marketing...probably why I have so many snuggies sitting around (j/k....kinda...lol...awkward silence).
Packability: Packs down real small, roughly a Nalgene, although you can wrestle it slightly smaller.
Reflective Details: Nice touch for night running, although there are more on the black side. Seemed a little backwards to me. I like to run at night with the FAR more visible orange side out. Maybe they are just trying to aide visibility on the black side?
Included Stuff Sack: Nice touch but I wish the jacket stuffed into its own pocket. I'm the type that if it's not attached then I run the risk of losing it.
Chest Pocket: Fits the essentials...keys, ID, music. It also has a smaller pocket within it. I've used it to store my iPod or the stuff sack on separate occasions.
About me: I am six foot, 165 lbs and ordered the size large.
I'd like to thank Trailspace and Inov-8 for the opportunity to test this jacket. If you have any questions about this product I'd be happy to help in any way that i can.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample provided by inov8 for testing and review)
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9.2 oz / 260 g