The Lite-Speed isn’t the lightest garment tested nor does it have the most features. However I think it has the best balance of weight, fabric and features and the price is very good. For a start it’s longer than most windproofs, which gives a little more protection and makes it less likely to ride up above a hipbelt. The fabric isn’t as thin as some and is adequate for all but the most severe conditions. It’s hardwearing too, even when used with a fairly heavy pack on multi-day trips (I’ve used it on several TGO Challenges and the Southern Upland Way). The hood fits well and moves with the head for good visibility. It has drawcords and so can be pulled tight to stop the wind blowing it off . It rolls into the collar, an unnecessary feature in my view, but this does mean you have a high snug collar when the hood isn’t in use. The front of the collar is lined with fleece that feels soft on the skin. The large chest pocket easily holds a map and isn’t impeded by a pack hipbelt. The Lite-Speed isn’t perfect of course. I’d like another chest pocket (the Páramo Fuera Ascent has the best pockets) and adjustable cuff s rather than elasticated ones. As it is, I do find my wrists getting sweaty occasionally. The elastic isn’t very tight though and the sleeves can be pushed up if necessary. A stiff peak on the hood would be nice too (the two Páramo windproofs have the best hoods). All that said this is overall the best garment here for year-round use. The difference in weight with lighter garments will only concern those for whom every gram matters while the thicker fabric over lighter garments makes it usable over a wider range of conditions.
29th July 2013