It took me a few years into my running career and one run in particular before I decided that the investment in a quality waterproof running jacket was worth it. The run in question was a Paradise Park loop on Mt. Hood https://www.strava.com/activities/1209358460 . It would be my first run in tights, and the only shell I had was my trusty Houdini. It was a cold, windy, and rainy day with snow on much of the trails. The plan had been to run Paradise Park Loop and then run some more miles on the Salmon River trail. However, due to not having appropriate gear, nor additional gear to change into, that plan was scrapped. The decision to purchase a more waterproof jacket came directly from that experience, and the Storm Racer jacket has been a welcome addition.
There are really three reasons that I chose the Storm Racer over other options on the market today: price, a built-in stuff sack/pocket, and my positive experience with the Houdini. In truth, the only other jacket that was ever seriously in the running was the Arcteryx Norvan SL. The Norvan is one of the lightest waterproof jackets on the market currently, beating the Storm Racer by 1.8oz. That said, the Norvan does not currently have an integrated pocket that can convert to a stuff sack like the Storm Racer does, and that for me is worth a little more weight. It is a feature from the Houdini that I really appreciate, as it appeals to that “keeping things organized” part of my brain.
Fit and Function
The Storm Racer may not be the lightest jacket, but it does what you would expect of a waterproof running jacket and does it well: protect you from the elements. The waterproofing holds up under the differing rainy conditions we have here in the PNW, and the tricot backer feels comfortable against bare skin which makes wearing it with only a short sleeve shirt underneath quite pleasant. The hood fits my big head, so it should be more than adequate for others, and the drawstring is easy to make adjustments. The overall fit can easily accommodate other layers without feeling bulky. In terms of breathability, for a waterproof jacket, it is fairly breathable. The chest pocket can fit a plus-size iPhone without issue. There is some bounce while running, but I would feel comfortable going at least 12 miles if not further.
I have two: the cuffs need to expand as easily as the Houdini which would make looking at my Garmin Fenix much easier. The storm flap behind the main zipper has a tendency to get in the way when zipping up the jacket. The storm flap is something that plagues other jackets as well, so if Patagonia can update this jacket with a storm flap that doesn’t get in the way of the zipper…they will easily be the best.
Overall, I have found the Storm Racer to be a good addition to my running kit. It provides excellent protection in stormy weather and feels comfortable when worn with just a tee-shirt, unlike other jackets that have a plastic feel against bare skin. It packs down small enough to toss in your pack for those stormy Pacific Northwest adventures in the mountains. I highly recommend this jacket for any running adventure where you think in-climate weather is a possibility.
* Material: H2No Performance Standard 3 layer 1.74oz 12-denier 100% nylon ripstop with 7-denier tricot backer for a waterproof/breathable barrier and a DWR finish
* Weight: 6 oz
* Size: Slim fit
* Zippered chest pocket that converts to a stuff sack and will hold the plus size of iPhones
* Half-elastic cuffs
* Adjustable hood
* Reflective logo on chest and center back neck