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Supertest: Lightweight Training Jackets

Our best training jackets put to the test

With winter upon us, this edition of rugbystore’s SuperTest is all about lightweight training jackets from the big hitting brands Under Armour, Skins & Canterbury.

Our SuperTesters are once again, Andrew (AM, Welsh rugby player and Ospreys supporter), Zach (ZK, Australian league player and Brisbane Broncos diehard), and Mark (MM, proudly representing his fellow English rugby players and London Irish fans).

The jackets they have been testing are:

Canterbury Thermoreg First Layer – MM

Under Armour Storm Swacket – ZK

Skins Skylab Run Puffer – AM

To test the jackets, our SuperTesters each went on a 5km run and performed some rugby skill circuits. Before putting the jackets to the test, the guys spent some time drilling down to the most important features of a lightweight training jacket:

  • Weight
  • Breathability
  • Range of movement
  • Comfort

Weight

 

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Canterbury – MM

Score: 5/5

Being a first layer, this top was extremely lightweight and didn’t feel heavy during the 5km run which was great. After a quick inspection of the competing tops, it was clear in my mind that the Canterbury top was the perfect lightweight choice. The only heavy element to the top was the zip, which is clearly reinforced to ensure it doesn’t easily tear or break.

Under Armour – ZK

Score: 4 / 5

The Under Armour’s Swacket fabric, lightweight fleece panels and bonded construction ensure an ultra-light jacket, without sacrificing strength, warmth or wind protection. It doesn’t add noticeable weight to the upper body while running – this jacket encourages a very free running action. Having said that, it is the heaviest and bulkiest of the training jackets in this SuperTest, but with this comes extra warmth and wind protection.

Skins – AM

Score: 5/5

Quilted for warmth in cold conditions you would expect the Skins Skylab jacket to be feel much heavier and bulky. It was surprisingly very light and also comfortable to run in and the jersey material down the sides made the jacket more streamlined and provided a good range of movement when running.

weight

 

Breathability

breathability-image

Canterbury – MM

Score: 4/5

Despite being so thin, this training top was surprisingly warm. Looking at the product in more detail, it boasts the use of Thermoreg technology which essentially regulates your body temperature. From my initial test, I felt it worked quite effectively and didn’t feel the need to remove or add more layers. My only slight concern was that if temperatures really dropped, I’m not sure my top would be as warm as the competitors. 

 

Under Armour – ZK

Score: 5 / 5

Under Armour have cracked it – a water-repellent jacket that doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a sauna. As I was out running, conditions were perfect for testing this out. Light drizzle with the occasional downpour didn’t bother the Under Armour Storm Swacket, and I held a comfortable body temperature throughout the run.

Skins – AM

Score: 4/5

The Skins Skylab puffer kept me very warm, even providing sleeve cuffs for added warmth which is an advantage over the others in this test. While warm, Skins state that the advanced wicking in the fabric will ensure moisture is drawn away from the skin to keep you dry during exercise. I was a little sceptical about this but have to admit that it worked well and kept me comfortable during the run compared to other jackets and first layers I’ve worn in the past.

breathability

Range of movement

movement-image

Canterbury – MM

Score: 5/5

Being lightweight and made from polyester and elastane material, this top was extremely flexible and didn’t feel restrictive when I was running or during the drills. From personal experience, similar tops can feel a bit restrictive during warm up when you perform things like circular arm movement, but this wasn’t the case with the Canterbury Thermoreg First Layer. 

Under Armour – ZK

Score: 4.5 / 5

The Under Armour Storm Swacket offers a very good range of movement, helped largely by its looser than normal fit and stretchy material. The jacket allows plenty of freedom to move, and feels strong enough to hold up to the test of time in this regard.

Skins – AM

Score: 5/5

I didn’t feel like the Skins Skylab jacket hindered my movement in any way, which I think this is a key element of any good running or training jacket. The side panels make the Skins Skylab puffer feel less bulky which is great for running or winter skills training on the rugby pitch. I couldn’t really find fault with it so had to give it full marks here!

movement

Comfort

comfort-image

Canterbury – MM

Score: 4/5

This top was extremely comfortable when worn over my rather old looking t-shirt. When you take the top off, you can stretch it and all sorts of directions and it doesn’t lose it shape. The beard protector on top of the zip was also a nice touch for a beardy person. From a personal perspective, I prefer zip tops to pull overs, so that slightly impacted my comfort score.

Under Armour – ZK

Score: 5 / 5

The inner fabric is very soft, and not at all itchy. This makes it comfortable to wear directly over a t-shirt or vest. The Under Armour Swacket is fairly loose around the torso, which I don’t mind but others may prefer a tighter fit. It’s also got a secure internal phone pocket which means you can run about without worrying about it dropping out. Finally, the hood adds extra convenience and comfort, especially in chilly or wet conditions. A very comfortable, well designed jacket.

Skins – AM

Score: 5/5

The Skins Skylab Jacket is very comfortable. I have worn it over baselayers, compression tops, training tops and t-shirts over the last couple of training sessions and all are comfortable. Even with slightly thicker underlayers the jacket doesn’t make you too warm or hinder your movement. It also has the added benefit of 360 degree reflective technology built in which makes it a great choice for training in the dark through the winter months.

comfort-2

 

Conclusion

conclusion

It’s been a close battle between the training jackets with not much between them. Unfortunately, we can have only one winner and that goes to the Skins Skylab Run Puffer.

It’s safe to say that our testers would happily take any of these products to keep them comfortable and warm during these chilly winter nights. If you’re not training with one, check out our full range and see what difference it can make to your game.

If you have any product ideas for the next edition of rugbystore’s SuperTest, let us know in the comments and we’ll consider getting it tested!

 

 

 

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