Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Road Trail Run 2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners Part 4: Run Jackets, Vests, and Pants

Articles by Dominique and Sam Winebaum, Sally Reiley, Jeff Valliere, Jeremy Marie, Ben David, Mike Postaski, Renee Krusemark, Marcel Krebs, & Markus Zinkl

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners Part 4: Run Jackets, Vests and Pants

The RTR team went to town this holiday season to bring you this holiday gifts guide. The ideas kept on coming as we pondered great ideas for runners, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, most tested over many miles in all conditions during 2023.

We ended up with well over 60 gift ideas (with mini reviews) across 12 categories for the runners in your life! 

Guide 4 : Run Jackets, Vests and Pants.

Products in the guide are identified as review samples (RS)  or personal purchases (PP)

Purchases at links in the article to our affiliate partners and on our site help support RoadTrailRun and are much appreciated. Happy Holidays!

Men’s & Women’s Brooks Run Visible Insulated Vests  ($160)

Any Light Run Visibility and High Performance Versatility 

Every year  as the days get shorter, the light dimmer, roads narrower with snow Brooks releases its Run Visible Collection of everything from shoes, to shirts,to tights, to outerwear to accessories all with a combination of tested contrasting colors and big black out reflectivity. Over the years we have tested and enjoyed all kinds of Run Visible, 

This year Brooks offered us Insulated Vests for men and women to test.

In addition to the high contrast colors and reflectivity, the Vests have highly breathable, quick drying bands  of insulation across the upper chest and back, the gray areas shown below in the men’s above and below noting that the center back white strip in the men’s is not insulated but has a breathable wind resistant fabric which extends from neck  to the hem.

The women’s version has somewhat more insulated narrower more angled bands across the front with the insulation extending all the way to the hem.   The men’s insulated area stops at the upper chest although below that the pockets are lined with grid mesh.

The women’s vest back construction is very different. 

Instead of insulated areas all the way across the back as in the men’s we have a black wind and water resistant fabric lined with a lightly insulating grid mesh with behind the insulated areas also a grid mesh.

The fit in the women’s medium, Dominique’s usual size was appropriately snug fitting with a Brooks midlayer long sleeve while the men’s was more generous with a light Brooks baselayer. We were both comfortable during runs in the mid 40’s F and could run the combination considerably lower in temperature. Very comfortable.

Both vests feature extensive 3M blackout reflective strips, dual deep front pockets with one having a no bounce inner mesh pocket, and two super useful front snaps behind the zipper to run with the vest unzipped yet kept in place.

The Run Visible Insulated Vest is one super versatile piece of run gear combining, with of course high any light or no light visibility but also storage and adaptable insulation and ventilation it can be an  essential piece of any runner or walker’s kit. RS

Shop for Brooks Run Visible including the Insulated Vests 


SHOP HERE 30% off through Nov. 20

 Running Warehouse 


Rab Vapour-Rise Summit Jacket ($220)

Jeff V: The nicest softshell hoody I have ever worn, with superb temperature regulation, warmth to weight, next level quality, style and functionality with a soft, fuzzy interior.  

I have worn it running in temps in the single digits with just a long sleeve wool base layer and was very comfortable, yet on warmer days do not overheat.  

This will be my go to this winter for trail running , hiking, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing.

RAB Vapour Rise Summit Jacket and Vapour Rise Collection


Rab Incline Vapour-Rise Pants ($170)

Jeff V: The Incline VR pants are a midweight softshell jacket that match the jacket, with a fuzzy fleece lining for warmth and comfort.  

These are a bit warm for running, though will be great for those coldest winter mornings and especially good for mountain hiking, snowshoeing or just day to day wear on those frosty winter days. 

RNNR Heavy Weight Hoodie  ($85)

In a world of wildly technical synthetic fabrics how about some cozy, soft and stretchy “technical” 14% cotton content in the mostly polyester mix? 

Super comfortable, this thick cocoon’S cotton is Dri Release which dries up to 4x faster than cotton and is moisture wicking to regulate skin temperature while remaining very soft. 

It has other tech features not commonly found in old school sweatshirts such as toggles to tighten the yet softer lined hood and two side pockets, one zippered.

The fit is generous but not sloppy for my usual medium. I weigh 162 lbs and am 5’9””

It's a great gift idea for run warm ups and cooldowns,morning runs and of course lounging around! And why not my fun purple color or the lime to brighten up dark winter days! RS

Brooks High Point Waterproof ($198)

Mike P: I love the breathability features of this jacket. There’s air venting along the chest as well as the back. Along the inside of the zipper, there’s not one, but two snap buttons so you can fully unzip and not have the jacket flapping around. Due to the good venting, I also like it as a cold weather jacket because I find it doesn’t get too steamy. RS

Shop for Brooks High Point Waterproof


30% off through Nov 20

Tracksmith Rapid Transit Pants ($168)

Sam: Tracskmith is of course known for their Ivy inspired performance run apparel but where I think they actually shine brightest is in their multi purpose “apres run”, commuter and travel Rapid Transit gear. 

Always made of high performance run worthy luxurious fabrics, comfortable and stylish every piece I have tested not only performs but gets many unsolicited compliments. 

The Rapid Transit Pants are no exception. Made of a soft 4 way stretchy fabric they look sharp and stay sharp. And if need be they are more than up to the task  to move fast to catch that plane, run home tor go out on the town.

They are worth every penny for their multi purpose versatility and style. Available in 2 weights regular and heavyweight for men and women. I have the regular and it is 3 seasons fine.  RS

Tracksmith Rapid Transit Collection SHOP HERE

Arc'teryx Norvan Windshell Jacket

Marcel: It’s extremely light (90g), packs very small, fits well and is pretty effective at what it is supposed to do: protect you from wind and short rain showers. In contrast to a lot of other windbreakers which are so light, the fabric is comparatively firm and does not stick to your skin as soon as you start to sweat. RS

Arc'teryx Norvan Windshell Jacket 


Ryzon Phantom Lightshell Active Pants   200€/$230

Jeremy: My perfect winter running pant. Loose fit at the thigh, closer at the calves, they never bothered me while running, no flapping whatsoever. For temperatures as low as minus 2-3°C, I find they’re perfect and never reached for something warmer. They’re very light and pair perfectly well with their jacket sibling.  Review  RS

Shop for Phantom Lightshell Active Pants HERE

Ryzon Phantom Lightshell Jacket  200€ / $230 forncurrent hooded version)

Jeremy: Breathable, water repellant, light, packable and  with a nice amount of stretch. Just like the pants, the lightshell fabric from Ryzon is incredibly efficient at providing both protection from the wind and cold temperatures while staying perfectly breathable.

By adjusting the first layer under the jacket, I’ve been able to cover up all my winter/cold season running, save from the most rainy days where a proper waterproof jacket is unbeatable.

Shop for Phantom Lightshell Jacket (hooded version)  HERE

For Cyclists

MAAP Apex Jacket 2.0 Now €201.00 EUR €335.00 EUR

Jeremy: This is a personal purchase for my riding activities (which, actually, is more than half of my yearly sport volume). I’ve switched my Alpha ROS2 jacket from the cycling apparel behemoth Castelli) to the MAAP one and never regretted it. 

Lighter, more breathable, way cooler looking if you’re into understated looks, they also use a very good membrane from Scholler without any environment-harming material, and they have a crash policy. Generally speaking, MAAP apparel is top notch, albeit quite costly. 

The  Apex is now on sale at MAAP €201.00 EUR €335.00 EUR  


Thanks for checking out RoadTrailRun's 2023 Gift Guides (more below) & for considering shopping for your gifts at our many partners

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners Part 6 : Poles, Lighting, Sunglasses HERE

Road Trail Run 2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners Part 5: 

Packs, Race Vests, Hydration, Filtration, Nutrition, Non Alcoholic Beer HERE

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners Part 4: Run Jackets, Vests and Pants HERE

Gift Guide 3 : Books/Podcasts/Subscriptions, Recovery and Form Tools, Recovery Shoes, Insoles HERE

Gift Guide 2 : Run Socks, Hats and Gloves HERE

Gift Guide 1: GPS Smartwatches & Music, Run Tops and Shorts-17 Gift Ideas HERE

Some samples were provided at no charge for review purposes, others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!

RoadTrailRun Official Store Custom Fractel Caps and Bucket Hats
Limited Release! SHOP HERE
$5 off now through Dec. 3 with code: RTRHolidays23
                       Cap:$39                                                                     Bucket:$49
Limited Release! SHOP HERE
$5 off now through Dec. 3 with code: RTRHolidays23


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