Raincoat: Stoic Wraith Shell Review
For a while I have wanted a raincoat that would allow me to stay dry but would breath on runs. My “everyday” raincoat has been the EMS Thunderhead SYNC Jacket. For most occasions this jacket is great: the fit is fine (though my abnormally long torso makes most shirts and jackets too short on me); it does its job and keeps the rain out, the synch-ties helping to keep the hood secure even in high winds; and it can be worn as a outer-shell in cold weather. No complaints.
What I have wanted is something that is a bit lighter, that can be stowed and used on longer runs, but which can keep me dry. To that end I decided to try the Stoic Wraith Shell.
I had first heard about it when it was reviewed in the May 2012 Runners World, and then I saw it on sale at Backcountry.com (which, it turns out, is the sole distributor of Stoic). I wound up getting it for something like $40, which, for a raincoat of any sort is pretty cheap.
The first thing you notice is that this coat is really lightweight. The material is silky light, and is described as being able to repel “light moisture.” The coat itself only weights 2.5 oz and can pack into its own zipper pocket and be carried with you in a pack. The hood is “fitted” compared to other raincoats; which, along with the rest of the coat, makes the Wraith more formfitting. I am 5’10” and 155 lbs, and the medium fits me pretty well. (I actually had to send the small back because it was a bit too fitted, even for me.)
So what is the verdict? Well, its a bit of a toss-up. I have been wearing the Wraith whenever I have had to go out in the rain, and so far I have not gotten wet—so long as the rain is lighter (hence the Stoic’s light moisture repellence). Finally I decided to bring it on a run, though it wasn’t raining; I simply wanted to see how breathable it was. My verdict is this: in warmer weather the Wraith simply does not breath well, so unless I am going for really long runs I would probably opt to just be a little wet. As far as keeping the rain out the Wraith is much more suited for little, misty rain rather than heavier ran. I was pretty wet after a bike ride the other day, and getting the thin material off me was a bit of a chore.
I want to love the Wraith because it is incredibly little-weight: it stows easily, and it will make it a great light-shell to put over a fleece or thicker shirt in winter. It is great in lighter, misty rain; and in light wind (as the Wraith does seem to do a decent job at wind repellence). For its weight and its price the Stoic Wraith is a steal. But, if you are looking for a jacket that will keep you completely dry on runs this is not the jacket for you. (E.g., The Mammut Felstrum Half-zip is said to be one of the most breathable jackets out there, made of Gore-Tex—but it runs $390!!!) The Stoic Wraith will not be my go-to for staying dry on runs. Instead, I will use it as a light shell for walking around town (read: walking the dog), and I will try to make due with it in combo with the EMS Thunderhead.