Recently awarded ‘Best Running Jacket of the Year’ by the Trail Running awards, our Phase Nano Waterproof Jacket has rightly earned itself a reputation as an unrivalled running jacket.
Our lightest and most breathable Gore-Tex waterproof shell has been especially engineered for fast and light adventures in the mountains. This makes it the ultimate waterproof jacket for serious runners looking for protection on the move. Eager to put this claim to the test, we asked #TeamMontane ultra runner Galen Reynolds to put it through its paces in the Slovenian mountains where he is currently based.
Having taken on some of Europe’s most prestigious ultras, Gaken knows exactly what’s needed to keep him well protected in extreme environments, and able to perform at his peak. Keep reading to hear his review…
Through the first two training blocks of the season, the weather and access to the mountains remain moody in the Slovenian and Austrian Alps. Cross-training features highly in my training, mainly when the year's goals are still months away. Ski mountaineering conditions had a beautifully snowy year this winter. I could get out into the mountains consistently in some inconsistent weather. The piece of kit I was putting through the wringer was the Montane Phase Nano Waterproof Jacket.
Spring mountain weather didn't disappoint in giving plenty of challenging adverse weather to test in; snow, hail, rain and one of the more difficult ones - rain with wind and dropping temperatures below zero while high up in the mountains. When gear can't fail.
I'm an ultra mountain runner who thoroughly enjoys the long, technical mountainous races typically lasting several days. Some of my favourite races include the Montane Dragon's Back Race crossing Wales over several days, the Swiss Peaks 360 single-stage race over rugged Swiss mountains and, one I can't stay away from, the Tor des Geants race with 330km and 26,000m of elevation gain and descent in a single stage mind blower.
There are two goals this year - the World Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck in June and the Tor des Geants in September. In the lead-up to these races, I dial in the kit through multiple tests and fine-tune nutrition for what I will use during these races.
Phase Nano Waterproof Jacket
When the incredible team at Montane reached out to me about a new trail running jacket, I probably giggled. Montane's jackets have always been incredibly impressive. When starting my running career a decade ago, and far before I ever thought there was a remote possibility I could do this wild sport professionally, I bought a Montane waterproof jacket that I still use occasionally.
During endurance races, a piece of kit that is curiously imperative is the jacket. When I'm putting on my jacket, the conditions are no longer ideal. Without a strong jacket, it jeopardises the entire race. On the extreme end, a helicopter to the closest hospital is a quick way to DNFing in expensive shame; even becoming uncomfortably cold and slightly hypothermic significantly impacts performance.
I'm always trying to balance saving on weight, comfort and functionality in races; the Phase Nano lets me have my cake and eat it - gluten-free.
During all my testing, the Phase Nano was quick to get on and easy to get off - without taking my pack off, a requirement for a top-end race jacket. The front zipper with the storm flap came in handy, possibly hypothermia-saving handy, on a grim outing while backcountry skiing. The day started sunny but, with one roll of the mountain weather dice, turned rainy with dropping temperatures. I was getting cold when I skied up to the mountain pass. Standing still while taking off the soaked skins and preparing for the ski down furthered the problem. Skiing down when already cold is, well, understandably, even colder. Thank you, zipper storm flap.
Fit. Seems basic. But so important. Kit fit is easy to get wrong, and when it's right, it's hard to notice, which is perfect. Too big or small, and that slight annoyance has turned into significant chafing. Once ending up in the medics tent for 20 minutes during a race as the skin off my back had chafed off.
At 182cm, I'm comfortably getting cosy in the medium Phase Nano. The fit is excellent with the dart base layer underneath. It works equally well with a mid-layer like the Protium Lite Pull On Fleece. The jacket hasn't bunched up while worn under backcountry skiing backpacks or the Gecko VP 12+ running pack.
The half-elasticated cuff on the wrist makes things so much easier when putting on and taking off the jacket. I've been caught in races looking like I'm wearing a straight jacket as I try to remove my jacket underneath my pack while running, just to have the wrist cuff snag on my watch, become crazy stuck and wrap me up like a pretzel. The half-elasticated cuff is the solution.
The Gecko VP 12+ running pack holsters the Phase Nano in a snap of the elastic cords in the back. I can easily remove the jacket, bundle it up and hook it through the adjustable elastic cords on the back of the pack, all while running and not having to stop, take the pack off, stow away the jacket, have tea, and then keep going.
I'm looking forward to bringing the Phase Nano on all my mountain adventures this year, from long days traversing peaks to my backcountry ski jacket when the weather turns at the end of the year. However, I'm most excited to have this premium race kit ready for the unpredictable weather of the high passes in the Italian Alps during the Tor des Geants.
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Galen reviewed our Phase Nano Waterproof Jacket for men. Looking for more kit reviews from our team of athletes? Don’t miss Alyssa Wendt’s thoughts on our Minimus Lite Waterproof jacket. For more options to choose from, take a look at a guide to the best waterproof jackets for men or view our full range of waterproof jackets and trousers to get started.