The Stealth Jacket is well named. It lets you run light and silent on the trails, while providing a decent amount of protection against the elements. Obviously, it won’t cope with a downpour, while the reflective detailing is only limited to the runner’s right-hand side, so it isn’t the best option for the roads. However, the barely-there feel and ventilated back make it a great jacket for hitting the trails, whether you’re hiking or running.
No swishing sound
Packs into its own storage pocket
Fast drying and moisture wicking
Limited reflective detail
Not suited to really harsh conditions
Zip a little fiddly at times
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Nathan Stealth Jacket: first impressions
American brand Nathan’s Stealth Jacket (available for men (opens in new tab) and women (opens in new tab)) replaces the swish with silence, allowing you to hit the trails and enjoy nature’s symphony rather the rhythmic swish of your running jacket. It’s also wonderfully lightweight – weighing in at only 125g (4.4oz) – packs down small and is moderately priced too. Made from moisture wicking and fast drying nylon, it’s a great, minimal soft shell windbreaker, perfect for chilly winter and shoulder season runs.
A running jacket has to tread the middle ground between being light and breathable enough to run in comfortably, while giving you enough warmth and protection from the elements to be worth wearing in the first place. The Stealth does this well. It’s gloriously comfortable on the trails thanks to its low weight, breathable fabric, ventilation features and fit. Meanwhile, it forms a decent barrier against cold conditions.
List price: $90 (US)
Weight (men’s small): 125g / 4.4oz
Gender specificity: male and female versions
Sizes: XS to XXL (men’s) and XS to XL (women’s)
Water resistance: DWR finish
Fabric: 100% nylon bod
Colors: black, bright lime, charcoal and more (men’s); bright teal, plum, black and more (women’s)
Compatibility: hikes and trail runs in all but very wet conditions
Of course, being an ultralight soft shell, it’s not designed for taking on harsh and wet conditions. There’s a DWR (Durable water repellent) finish to give a degree of water resistance for the occasional drizzly spell or sudden shower. Added to this, the Stealth is windproof and effectively stops windchill in its tracks. However, when persistent rain is forecast, you’ll need to pop the heavier option of a waterproof running jacket in your pack.
There’s quite a lot packed into the Stealth considering its minimal bulk. It packs down small into its own front zippered pocket for easy transportation, easily slotting into a hydration pack's main compartment. The same zippered pocket can be used to store keys, gels and snacks too.
The back of the jacket has four vents that enable effective airflow, which work in tandem with the Nylon to ensure a good level of breathability. Its flat lock seams are designed so that chaffage is not a concern. There’s basic hood with an adjustable drawcord, while there are also thumb loops in the sleeves to top them riding up when adding an additional layer.
The reflective detail on the Stealth is somewhat limited, with only the logo on the right arm illuminated by headlamps and car headlights. This seems like a bit of an own goal to me, as it means night runners and road cyclists will look elsewhere. However, I tested the Black version and some of the colorways seem to be garishly bright, so there’s always that option.
On the trails
I took to my local trails and the mountains and hill of England’s Lake District National Park to test the Stealth. It was comfortable throughout and its lightweight qualities meant that I often found myself reaching for it when taking the dog for a walk or when heading into town. It's a good-looking jacket too and was even donned a couple of times for the pub. Cheers!
Its breathability and ventilation are real assets. Never did I feel as though I was overheating, regardless of whether I was powering along a flat trail, pushing hard uphill or launching myself down a long descent. On the flip side, I never felt chilled upon stopping to take in the views having reached a windswept summit cairn.
The water-resistance is decent, enough to fend off light drizzle but not great in a downpour. However, I found that the Stealth was pleasingly quick drying. As a windbreaker, it’s adept and is much more pleasant to wear on a long hike than a stiffer, stuffier hard shell.
One irritant I noticed a few times when taking the jacket off was that the front zip gets a bit stuck at the bottom. This is perhaps the price of having such lightweight components, though I'd have expected better considering its price point.
Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader, adventure writer and content creator with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently the President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a Winter Mountain Leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com (opens in new tab)
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