Ellie Clewlow reviews the Alpkit Women’s Gravitas Jacket, the lightest in their range.

The Alpkit Women’s Gravitas Jacket is the lightest fully waterproof shell in the brand’s range. It’s a true featherweight that tips the scales at under 200g. The Gravitas jacket is an ultralight layer designed for multi-sport use, so this is a versatile ‘just in case’ jacket for hillwalkers who also bike or run in the great outdoors.

Price: $129.99 / £179.99

Its remarkably low weight is all the more impressive as this is a 3-layer jacket, unlike most light and packable shells, which tend to use 2.5-layer constructions. In contrast, the Gravitas offers better comfort for the wearer, without such a clingy feel next to the skin, as well as excellent breathability.

When fellow TGO reviewer Chris Townsend tested the men’s version of the Gravitas back in 2019, he found the breathability to be adequate but not exceptional. However, we felt that it breathes pretty well even when working hard. That tallies with Alpkit’s own lab tests, which claims a high Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate (MVTR) of 30,000g/m2/24hrs. It’s a competitive figure, as is the 20,000mm Hydrostatic Head test result for waterproofing. We’ve no reason to doubt either statistic – we stayed dry and comfortable across a wide range of conditions.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the 10-denier nylon face fabric is extremely thin though – almost translucent in fact. And although it is windproof, it can be a bit flappy in stiff breezes. For its weight it feels fairly durable, but it wouldn’t be too hard to puncture it. We were particularly concerned about the possibility of abrasion from pack straps, and though we didn’t notice any discernible damage during testing, this isn’t a jacket we’d recommend wearing for extended periods with a heavy rucksack.

Then again to be fair, the Gravitas is not designed as an all-season backpacking shell. This is primarily going to be used as an emergency layer on trail runs, bike rides or day hikes when you just can’t tell what the weather’s going to do, and for that sort of use it is excellent. And as an aside, the face fabric is 100% recycled, and finished with a PFC-free water repellent treatment. Both of which are big pluses for sustainability.

Features are intentionally minimalist in order to keep the weight down, but you still get a roomy zipped chest pocket and dual hem drawcords with a drop tail to prevent wind whipping up your back. There’s no cuff tab adjustment, but the cuffs are semi-elasticated, with a contoured profile that cover the wrists well. We also liked the well-designed hood, which has a wired peak and rear adjustment. It is nicely shaped and stays in place surprisingly well, despite the thin fabric. The elasticated binding also means you can pull the hood on and off even when the jacket is fully zipped up.

See more of the jacket here: https://alpkit.com/products/gravitas-womens