inov-8 AT/C Stormshell

If anyone follows me on social media, you will have seen a lot of inov-8’s new AT/C Stormshell waterproof jacket this year. I first saw this being used by Damian Hall in the build up to UTMB in 2017, and have been waiting for my turn to get my hands on one. Beyond a simple “this is what it does, etc, “I reviewed the previous version Race Elite 150 Stormshell and will look to highlight differences.

There are many.inov-8 ATC Stormshell 1inov-8 ATC Stormshell 4First up, this looks nothing like it’s predecessor. It has a full zip, has a longer body and many other alterations. It’s very different. Different isn’t always for the best, but, in this case, it really is. I wore a medium Race Elite 150 Stormshell, however, I’m a small in the AT/C.inov-8 Racelite 150 Stormshell 2The fit is different, as you can see when comparing photos, the arms are slimmer, the body longer. Yes, yes, I can hear some of you saying they are different sizes, but think outside of the obvious label on the neck…. I needed a medium 150 Stormshell to get it over my shoulders. A full length zip changes how you put the jacket on, but also the usability. Once you put the 150 Stormshell on, you had to commit to it, whereas the AT/C means you can get this on and off a lot easier and more convenient.

Outside of looking sharper aesthetically, the main difference is when the wind picks up. The 150 was a bit of a sail and flapped around when it got gusty, however, the AT/C Stormshell is better mapped to the body and is more of a race fit, which doesn’t catch the wind in the same way. Result.

I wore the AT/C throughout the “Beast from the East” and it was much better for prolonged exposure to wind.

I mentioned earlier, the jacket sits lower/provides more cover over your glutes and quads, which is also beneficial when running with a bumbag or pack, as the effects material riding up are mitigated. inov-8 ATC Stormshell 14So. It’s longer, better fitting, bright and is clearly different. What about the features?

To the touch, the material is totally different. The 150 Stormshell rustles a little and lacks stretch. Move on a few years, the AT/C has some stretch to it and the Pertex Sheild is soft between your fingers. With that, it is really comfortable against the skin and much easier for shoving in your pack or into it’s own pocket (see below). I feel this is why it wraps around the contours of your torso.

Like the 150 Stormshell, it has a 20K waterproof/20K Breathable rating, however, this 2.5 layer jacket feels more breathable in real world testing. I have less build up of sweat internally and I take longer to overheat. Science aside, it works better for me and being a sweaty beast, I’m encouraged to wear the jacket in precipitation, rather than holding off until I’m drenched. Trust me, I’ve done this before and it really isn’t a good tactic.img_5379inov-8 ATC Stormshell 5Hood.

If you have been paying attention (there won’t be a test at the end), you may have noticed the differences in collar height. The AT/C naturally stands up higher and in conjunction with the main zip, is pre shaped around the chin. When it gets breezy, this makes a big difference to resist ingress down the collar and this can be easily countered by partly undoing it. inov-8 ATC Stormshell 7inov-8 Racelite 150 Stormshell 3The collar/neck when the hood is up is taught, yet allows full articulation of the neck. The toggle adjusters from the face guard section are gone and the fit ins’t as tight around the face. The wire brim of the AT/C is lighter than before and isn’t as stiff. I’d quite like the 150’s wire inserted, but it’s no deal breaker.inov-8 ATC Stormshell 9The single hand hood adjuster, sits slightly higher than before and alters tension in multiple directions. It holds the hood secure on the head or over a light skull cap/headband. inov-8 ATC Stormshell 10inov-8 Racelite 150 Stormshell 7inov-8 ATC Stormshell 2The left arm, chest and rear have reflective branding, good for night runs and makes the most of the limited branding over the jacket. inov-8 ATC Stormshell 12There is a pocket on the left hand side of the chest, with cable routing that easily takes a phone, gloves, hat or some food. The ultra light zip works well and keeps the weight right down. inov-8 ATC Stormshell 11The chest pocket also doubles up for packing the AT/C Stormshell away. Invert and stuff!inov-8 ATC Stormshell 17The cuffs and waist hem are pre-elasticated. One thing I forgot to shoot, the thumb loops at the end of the sleeves. I’ve used them numerous times, to protect the palm of my hand, when caught without gloves and the temperature dropped with precipitation. An added benefit is the length of the sleeves around the hand. To accommodate the thumb loops and your hand, they are longer (although tapered) and I’ve run up to 10 miles with my hands inside the sleeves, without pulling the shoulders of the jacket tight over mine.inov-8 ATC Stormshell 15inov-8 ATC Stormshell 16Now, the inov-8 AT/C Stormshell has a small popper near the collar. What? I know. Different. What this does allow is extra ventilation when things calm down on the trail and the possibility of letting your sweat dry out a bit. Likewise, you can keep the jacket done up to half way and allow the extra ventilation, without the collar slapping your face every 5 seconds.

Overall, the inov-8 AT/C Stormshell isn’t really an update. It, in my opinion is a whole new jacket. The fit is way better, the material comfier, breathability improved, day to day user experience, great. It’s been great in winter, but given it’s lightweight design, will be as at home in the summer, as mandatory kit for racing or a waterproof you are happy to wear when the elements dictate it’s time.

Would I change anything?

I’m struggling. It does everything I need and doesn’t bother with gimmicks. I’ve worn the AT/C Stormshell throughout the winter and will be throwing it into my back for the Sky Running season and mountain adventures that await.

 

 

Jacket supplied by inov-8

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