When writing gear reviews, I find that it’s a lot harder write about clothing than it is to write about shoes or technology. Perhaps that’s because I’m an admitted shoe and tech junkie, but I tend to think rather that when it comes to clothing, as long as it fits well and looks good, I’m pretty much happy with it. Both of the items that I’ll review below fit both of these criteria quite well.
Earlier in the winter I received a package of trial running gear from Backbone Media to review here on the blog (disclosure – the products were free, but I received no payment in return for these reviews). Among the items contained were a Cloudveil Run Don’t Walk Vest and a Marmot Lightweight Crew LS tech long-sleeve shirt. Below are descriptions of these products along with my short reviews.
Cloudveil Run Don’t Walk Vest
Here’s a description of the Clouveil Run Don’t Walk Vest from the Cloudveil Website:
“A new addition to our popular Run Don’t Walk line, the RDW Vest is an ideal warm layer for aerobic exercises from skate skiing and snow shoveling to winter running. Flexible Polartec® Power Stretch® adds insulation in the front and back, while Polartec® Power Dry® side panels decrease overall density. The seven-ounce weight makes it perfect to pack along for a weekend ski trip, on an extended Nordic tour or as insurance against an approaching front.“
My Thoughts: This is a really nice, lightweight vest, that is perfect for those early/late Winter and Spring/Fall runs where it’s just not quite warm enough to go without a second layer. The fabric is extremely soft, the vest is very lightweight, and it tends to breathe well and not trap sweat, which makes it perfect for running. In fact, I like the Cloudveil vest so much that I wear it out and about quite frequently, and have even worn it while teaching on a number of occasions (I’m pretty informal when it comes to my work attire these days, and the position of the chest pocket is a perfect spot to clip a microphone when recording my Exercise Physiology lectures). The MSRP of $75.00 is a bit higher than I would have paid for the vest, but I suspect with some creative web sleuthing you could find it for less.
Here’s a description of the Marmot Lightweight Crew LS from the Marmot Website
“For shoulder season when wickable breathability is essential, the Lightweight Crew’s Cocona® fabric delivers maximum performance, while its design gives it the appeal of an outer layer.”
My Thoughts: While I’m not quite sure what “shoulder season” in the description above means, I’ll agree with Marmot’s statement that the Lightweight Crew LS provides outstanding “wickable breathability.” There are a lot of gimmicks out there when it comes to tech wear, but I’ve become a true believer in the benefits of some of the newer plant-based tech fabrics. Of all the tech shirts I own, the most comfortable by far are those made of either bamboo fiber or the cocona fiber found in this Marmot shirt. There’s just something about the softness and smoothness of these fabrics that makes them incredibly comfortable, and they tend to shed moisture extremely well. Another benefit is that given the way they are woven, they tend to cause a lot less chafe on the nipples (and men, you know what I’m talking about here!). This Marmot shirt is now one of my go-to shirts for long runs, and I’ve been extremely happy with its performance – I wouldn’t hesitate to wear it in a marathon, and that’s about as good a recommendation as I can give. It retails at an MSRP of $42.00.