Review of the Salomon Bonatti Jacket
Salomon Bonatti Jacket I will make an exception. Waterproofs that can truly cope with running a few and far between, for years my main preference has been the Haglöfs Endo. Made from Gore-Tex Active Shell it provided a reliable, durable and very well fitted option for running in whatever precipitation the sky wanted to throw at me as well as providing protection from the wind. The one downside for me was it’s bulk and weight. When I first got it I thought it was the lightest thing since sliced bread and most lighter jackets were just sweaty plastic bags in disguise. Compare the Salomon Bonatti to the Haglöfs Endo and you’ll be able to feel the 82 gram difference straight away.
I see the requirements of a waterproof running jacket as the following:
- Well fitted
The reason I’ve listed durability last is it tends to be the most subjective of the features. Everyone wants one that’s ‘properly’ waterproof, is as light as possible etc. However some people may look for a highly durable jacket, either because they want it to last a long time or because they’re going to give it a tough life. This is the tipping point, if you’re looking for a super durable waterproof then I’m afraid the Bonatti isn’t for you. BUT if you want the lightest, most compact breathable waterproof jacket then you’re in the right place.
As soon as you put the Bonatti on the active cut is immediately noticeable, the arced sleeves, the tapered tail and fitted hood. It's made with Climapro which has a hydrostatic head of 10,000mm and a breathability rating of 10,000 g/m2/24h. The Climapro is 4 way stretch which really helps the fit and allows the jacket to move with you instead of tugging on the elbows and shoulders. Despite not having a fully adjustable hood it fits well with or without a hat and the peak gives your eyes enough coverage when you’re head on into the elements. It's got an elasticated part at the back and front which give a comfortable fit without any toggles bashing you in the face. Let’s not pretend that looks aren’t important, the Bonatti looks awesome and who doesn’t look good in red?!… Having said that I’m not here to give you fashion advice, nor am I at all qualified too. It's also available in Yellow/blue and black or blue in womens.
I’ve had the Bonatti out in rain, hail, snow and strong winds (welcome to spring time in Yorkshire) and glanced off everything that was thrown at it. My biggest concern was breathability, I heat up quickly when I run and have often decided not to wear a waterproof, even in the pouring rain just because I would end up so sweaty. I almost didn’t believe how breathable the Bonatti was, even out on a challenging interval session I got hot but never overheated, whilst the rain was kept well and truly outside. It’s fully taped too so none of this, I’ve found an awesome bit of kit but I can’t use it in a race because it doesn’t meet the qualifications.
One feature that no doubt will be changed on future editions is the zip and rain gutter behind it which can easily get caught when putting it on. It’s easy enough to work out how to put it on without letting it snag - put the top of the side of the jacket with the gutter on under your chin, keeping it tight while you do it up. Not really a show-stopper but one to be aware of, no one likes getting a new bit of kit with unwanted surprises.
Packed down the Bonatti fits into a much smaller space than most waterproofs, yes there are some very packable, lightweight waterproofs on offer, Montane in particular have a very good selection but the Bonatti has a higher all round score sheet than any of these that I have tested. In terms of storage the Bonatti has one small pocket, on the mens version it sits on the left breast and on the womens version it's on the right hand side of the back, it's easily big enough for an iPhone/MP3 player (there's a handy headphone wire access point on the back of the pocket) or a cut out bit of map, gloves/hat etc. Personally I don't like heavy things in any jacket pocket as they tend to bounce around but it's always good to have a bit of space to stash things away.
I mentioned earlier about durability, it feels (I've not had it wear out or tear yet) less durable than Gore-Tex Active Shell but more durable than most own-brand waterproof fabrics - which most running waterproofs are made from. Apparently the Climapro is Ripstop but funnily enough I'm not prepared to walk through a bramble bush to find that one out!
To summarise, the Bonatti is a genuinely fantastic waterproof for running, it’s combination of high breathability, good protection from the elements, lightweight and compact, well fitted and decent durability is bang on the money and most definitely should be considered next time you’re looking at options. It’s not often that a product comes along and really stands out, the Bonatti most certainly stands out as a high quality, well researched piece of running kit.
You’ll notice that in this review and all my other gear reviews I don’t mention cost and value for money - This is too subjective, everyones view on value for money is different and reading about mine wont help you. If I can explain about features, what I like and don’t like about a product then you can add that to other opinions and your own to make a decision about whether you want it in your kit bag.
Thanks for reading and happy running!