Not everyone can afford specialist gear for every occasion, and if you are looking for a general purpose lightweight jacket that might double up for running, cycling or other outdoor activities in wet, windy or cold conditions your eye might stray towards the Rohan Windshadow jacket. There are men’s and women’s versions, both retailing for £95.
Women get the better colour choices with nice turquoise blue and purple options while men are stuck with rather boring deep blue and grey. Men, though, win out in terms of pockets with a zipped breast pocket in addition to two zipped side pocket, while women don’t have that upper pocket. As with the 2011 version of this jacket the Rohan web site says the women’s version has a chest pocket. It doesn’t.
Rohan sent me the eye-catching purple Women’s Windshadow Jacket to test – it looks rather pinker than it really is in my photos and pinkophobes ought to be OK with it.
Now, two years ago I tested the earlier version of this jacket and found it rather good. I said then that it was a great outdoor jacket that could double up as a running jacket for colder, showery conditions. I stand by that. Rohan let me keep the jacket from that first review and it has seen me through runs in some really cold conditions, as well as acting as a windbreaker and shower jacket for everyday use.
The latest model features some design modifications. The length feels about the same as the earlier version and it is relatively loose fitting – the model in the main photo must be really tall and on average height people the jacket will fall a little lower. The the arms seem a bit shorter this time round, and that suits me better as I am quite short.
More significantly, the wrists are now elasticated where in the earlier version of this jacket they were adjustable thanks to Velcro strips. I prefer the elasticated system which feels more comfortable to wear. Only the tiniest of wrists are likely to find it too roomy in terms of fit and that Velcro is a bit of a pain to work with on a day to day basis.
There are drawstrings round the bottom of the Women’s Windshadow Jacket on the inside so that you can pull it snug around you. Two toggles sit on the inside of the jacket in line with the side seams. That’s exactly where they should be. At the front opening they can foul the zip and be a nuisance, but here they are totally forgettable until you need them.
The pockets are very roomy which is great news. They’re large enough to accommodate my ultra-thick beany which is great for those times when it is too cold to start a run or walk without serious headgear but I know I will want to take it off at some point and stow it. On the other hand, the pockets aren’t really snug enough for keys or a mobile phone. Both clatter around too much when you’re running. Of course that’s less of a problem if you are wearing the Women’s Windshadow Jacket for walking and in those instances the pockets’ roomy nature could well save you from the bother of carrying a small rucksack or bag if you are out and about in town.
The hood was the least pleasant feature of this jacket when I tried it last year, and that’s the same this time round. It has an elasticated edging which does pull it into the head a little, but there’s no drawstring and I really do miss that. Without the ability to pull the hood into the shape of your head and fit it snugly round your face you don’t get a close fit. The consequence is a hood that can flap about in the rain, let water droplets inside during rain showers, and make it difficult to see when you turn your head sideways. I’d really like Rohan to address that in the next version of this jacket.
The Women’s Windshadow Jacket is not fully waterproof so don’t expect it to see you through a serious rainstorm. It is, though, showerproof and I found it did keep me dry through sprinkles of rain. It has about the same level of protection in this respect as its predecessor did. It is breathable of course, and can function as a layer beneath a fully waterproof top jacket.
The jacket packs down into an inner stow pocket which is held together with a smallish Velcro strip in the centre of the pocket leaving the two sides unsecured. On the earlier version that inner pocket was zipped and I prefer that. Not only does the zip mean nothing can wiggle into the packed pocket and rip it while it is being carried for travelling, it also means the pocket doubles up as an ultrasafe inner pocket – for your housekeys or phone – when you are using the jacket for walking. Cutting out the zip might have saved a little on manufacturing costs, but it also reduces usability of that inner pocket.
The stow pocket lets you pack the Women’s Windshadow Jacket down very small, and it weighs just 195g so it’s really easy to justify carrying on weekends away or longer trips when you have no idea what the weather will do and want some decent layering.
I said early in this review that Rohan let me keep the older version of this jacket, and I have found it very, very useful. Constant use of the earlier version has made me biased in favour of its successor and inclined to be critical of it too. I really like the elasticated wrists, a great improvement on the Velcro on the older version. But I dislike the use of Velcro on the packaway pocket.
The lack of attention to improving the fit of the hood rankles and I’d really like the women’s version to have the breast pocket that is found in the men’s. Still, I do have a soft spot for this jacket which makes a great rucksack staple for both activity and leisure based weekends away.
- Easily packable
- Shower proof
- Hood that packs into collar
- Good elasticated wrists
- No reflective piping
- Ill-fitting hood
- No chest pocket in women’s version
- Not fully waterproof