Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tracksmith Downpour Jacket and Brighton Base Layer Tee Reviews

Article by Sam Winebaum

Tracksmith Downpour Jacket ($400),  Brighton Base Layer Tee ($85)

Tracksmith understands the “weath’a” as we say it here in New England where they are also of course based and inspired. Wind, rain, damp and cool when it isn’t the same but also snowing and cold with summers hot and humid.  To get the miles in you have to gear up!

This past winter in New Hampshire and Utah two of my most reached for winter run gear were the Bislett Pants and Brighton Long Sleeve with both also on many runs this spring. They joined the Downpour Jacket and Brighton Short Sleeve on several runs in, if not quite “downpours” rough wet weather followed by momentary sunny moments in the mid to upper 40’s F /  7-10 C. 

The Downpour is Tracksmith's take on foul weather run rain gear. It features a 3 layer construction with in the mix a breathable waterproof PU membrane layer.  

Unlike any other similar rain focused jacket I have tested it also features chest and back “capped” openings for ventilation. 

Note the “Made in Portugal” on the label. In my experience running apparel made there is always top top notch. 

Also unlike most others in the full shell water proof breathable jacket category it has a soft top of back free standing mesh lining to help transmit moisture away from a lower layer and to prevent sticking. At times I wished the rear inner mesh extended further down as the lower blue area below was the part of the jacket that got wettest. I think sweat more than anything  

Another surprise is the soft, crinkle noise free, and somewhat rubbery feeling to touch outer shell fabric. It is not only quieter than any similar 3L jacket I can recall on the run but very soft and luxurious to the touch and notably stretchy. On feel alone (outside and inside) this $400 jacket is top of the class. Paired with Brighton Tee (or Long), with my comments on the Tee below, we have a power comfort combination for wet chilly runs. Now let’s see how it performed. 

The Downpour is a 3L construction jacket. By this we mean it has 3 layers: The outer durable water repellent 100% nylon shell, a breathable PU waterproof membrane and an inner thin scrim next to skin 100% woven polyester. If you count the back mesh panel one might say 3.5 layers.  

Tracksmith does not specify whose membrane they use so it is definitely not Gore-Tex which is always branded but in my experience competitors such as Pertex and Toyoda are equally as good and here we have a fine membrane helped on the breathability front by the cape design.

We have two deep front zip pockets, a hood with rear draw cord, and a lower hem drawstring.  There is no obvious reflectivity, something I miss and which could be improved. I was unable to fully stuff the jacket into one of its zip pockets something I am usually able to do with this type of jacket. 

The fit is generous yet sleek. I am 5’9” and it fits me just right with enough room for some layers under. I noted that even with a short sleeve under the arms are roomy enough and the barrier water resistant enough with the inner layer having a tiny touch of texture to not cling to bare arms when the outer shell was getting somewhat but not fully soaked by rain.

For sure the $400 pricing gives pause. The completely PFC free Gorewear Concurve, at a mere $280, is lighter, snugger and less relaxed in fit and just doesn't have the relaxed luxurious feel, stretch or for that matter the breathability enabled by the front and rear vents of the Downpour. It does have extensive reflective elements, something lacking in the Downpour.

The pricing and feel discussion done, let's talk about performance. I run very warm as a rule and at the temperatures I tested Downpour in relatively balmy mid 40’s to even 50 F or so only once did I feel I had to take it off and that was on a damp day with no breeze. Every other wet run was at least breezy and the front and back venting worked extremely well to regulate my temperature and far better than most non vented 3L storm type shells at those temperatures. 

In a “downpour” standing still I might prefer no venting maybe but the Downpour, is focused on running and movement- the vents not only regulate temperatures but make movement easier than full shells as did Tracksmith 1980’s remake of the Bill Rodgers jacket with similar front and back venting. 

Tracksmith also sent me the Brighton Base Layer Tee and I tested it under the Downpour for most runs with temps in the mid 40’s. This layer, with long snug short sleeves and overall fit is made of a thin 52% Wool, 28% Nylon, 20% Polyester, 16.5 Micron, 145 gsm perforated material. 

It definitely has a snug base layer type fit and I also appreciated its long fit to fully cover and keep the lower back warm.

Ideal under a singlet on a cool race day, it  also made for a perfect layer under the Downpour. Never chilled and never overheated, the combination was just right for the damp rainy cool days I tested the jacket under and was great standalone as well if a bit too "trim" for my physique!

Note the cool “sash” ventilation holes across the chest in the picture above as well as the “long” short sleeves.

The Downpour for men and women (also in Ebony) is available at Tracksmith HERE

The Brighton Base Layer Tee for men and women is available at Tracksmith HERE

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is in his 60’s  with 2024 Sam’s 52th year of running roads and trails. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very, very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s

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Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. 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'.

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