In the beginning of April, I bought the Salomon S/LAB jacket and since then I’ve been regularly wearing it for running and on my hiking trips. The Salomon S/LAB jacket is a so-called windbreaker which means that it provides protection against the wind and is super lightweight. It weighs merely 85 grams (3 oz.) and when packed into its own pocket it’s so small you can store it in the pocket of your shorts without a problem.
I decided to buy the Salomon S/LAB jacket because the spring here in Denmark was very windy and I was training for a half marathon. Therefore, I needed a jacket that is lightweight, breathable and wind-resistant. As I’m of course into hiking as well as running, I also wanted a jacket which can be efficiently used for both running and hiking (fast ascents). I wasn’t looking for protection against rain because you anyway get wet during high-intensity activities – if not from rain, then from your own sweat. After a thorough research I decided that the Salomon S/LAB jacket fits my requirements the best and luckily, I got it with a discount. Without the discount, the jacket retails for more than $170 which indeed isn’t cheap.
Over the last several months I’ve worn the jacket for around 300 kilometers of running and 20 kilometers of hiking and here is what I learned about it.
The Salomon S/LAB Jacket is suitable for:
- Trail running
The Salomon S/LAB jacket is made of the Pertex Quantum Air fabric, which is marketed as a lightweight, wind-resistant and highly breathable fabric for intense activities. The fabric is indeed very lightweight and wind-resistant. With a weight of merely 85 grams (3 oz.), the Salomon S/LAB is the lightest jacket I’ve ever had and you don’t even feel you are wearing it while you are running. It also provides great protection against the wind. I’ve been wearing the jacket with gusts of wind at 30 km/h and the jacket didn’t let any wind through.
Now, the outstanding wind protection does come at the cost. The jacket is not as breathable as I expected. The fabric doesn’t permeate air as such but rather moisture; the moisture gathers on the inside of the fabric and gets pushed to the outside by body heat. You can read more about this here. Luckily, the Salomon jacket has vents on the back and under the arms for extra ventilation. For additional temperature regulation, I typically use the zipper, meaning that I always run with the zipper 1/3 unzipped in warm weather. As the jacket has a magnetic collar, it does not bounce around if the zipper is partially unzipped which is great. I did wear the jacket in rain several times (it is Denmark after all) and I believe that it’s treated with DWR because in light rain it didn’t leak at all (except a tiny bit through the vents). It did, however, leak in heavy rain but that was expected because it’s not designed for protection against the rain. The Salomon S/LAB jacket is a typical windbreaker and thus it doesn’t provide any insulation which is convenient for warm but windy weather. In cold weather you might want to pair it with a breathable mid-layer.
The jacket is equipped with a high magnetic collar which protects your neck from wind. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the magnetic collar but after my first run I figured out that it’s really awesome. The magnet is strong enough to keep the collar closed while running – even when the jacket is partially unzipped. The Salomon jacket only has one internal pocket (without a zipper) which is primarily designed for packing the jacket away to a miniscule size. The logo is made of reflective fabric, so you stay visible while running or hiking in the night.
The Salomon S/LAB jacket also has elastic cuffs and a drop-tail hem. The elastic cuffs work great and prevent the jacket from covering your palms or watch on the go, while the drop-tail hem keeps your lower back protected against wind. The zipper has a pull loop for easy zipping/unzipping. Despite that the jacket is very minimalistic, I’m very satisfied with the few, but functional features.
Sizing and Fit
I got the jacket in size L and it fits me perfectly – snug but not too tight. My chest diameter is 98 cm (38.5 in.) and I’m 180 cm tall (5 ft. 11 in.). The jacket also offers great freedom of movement and even though it’s a shell layer, it’s not stiff at all. On the contrary, the material is quite stretchy and smooth, so it moves with your body rather than impeding its movements.
Washing and Drying
The Salomon S/LAB jacket is machine-washable at 30° C but should not be tumble-dried. However, I haven’t been and won’t be washing it in a washing machine anytime soon because the fabric is very thin and delicate. I suspect that washing the jacket in a machine would significantly decrease its lifespan, making it a less sustainable investment. Instead, I recommend washing the jacket in a sink with cold water and letting it drip-dry outside. As it only absorbs a tiny amount of water, it gets dry in a matter of minutes.
I’m very satisfied with the Salomon S/LAB jacket as it is very light and provides great protection against the wind. The only downside is its breathability but luckily the jacket has vents and a zipper which can be partially unzipped for better ventilation. I typically wear the jacket over a long-sleeved base layer, but the stretchy material makes the jacket comfortable enough to wear it directly over a t-shirt. The jacket is ideal for running in windy weather but can also be worn for hiking and mountaineering. Because it’s light and packs very small, it’s perfect for fast ascents in the mountains. However, I would not recommend wearing the jacket while carrying a heavy backpack as its material is very thin and delicate. A lightly packed daypack, hydration pack or lumbar waist pack would be better suggestions. All in all, I think the Salomon S/LAB is a great windbreaker for runners, hikers and mountaineers.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.