"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Monday, November 14, 2011

Brooks L.S.D. Lite II Jacket Review

Oh shit, I thought as I bounced across the pavement.  Running at night can be dangerous, even with a headlamp.  Somehow I missed the branches that lay across the sidewalk and cruising along in my own little world, tripped hard.  As I gingerly picked myself up, I decided I was ok, and nothing was broken.  Then I thought, oh man, I am sure I trashed my new jacket.
Photo - Runningwarehouse.com

The run had started a good 3.5 hours earlier, when I learned that Montrail along with local shoe store, Playmakers, was hosting a fun run at the Harris nature center.  Excited to actually have some destination running, I packed my Nathan pack with a headlamp for when it got dark, a couple gels, a pair of gloves, and my arm sleeves.  I also strapped my Brookes L.S.D. II jacket to the shock cords before I left. 

Strap it on and forget about it.  Until you need it, of course...
I bought this jacket for several reasons.  1) I wanted a ultralight jacket that I would not notice carrying around.  2) I wanted something that would provide some measure of protection if caught unprepared in rain.  3) The vast farm fields in the East Lansing area really get windy during the winter.  4) I was concerned it would rain at OC100 and wanted to avoid the ultrashakes as much as possible.

So far I am quite happy with my purchase.  Most of the time it remains strapped to the back of a waist pack or backpack, but occasionally I will tie it around my waist.  It is advertised as a lightweight windproof shell with a DWR water resistant coating, and it is certainly windproof (now I just need some windproof briefs), and while I have yet to test it in a downpour, it works great during light showers.  There is one small pocket that the jacket itself can stuff into.  I dont use this feature often, but I guess its a nice touch.  One of the huge selling points for me was that it came with a hood, and while its not a fancy adjustable hood, its compact and fits my head well.  The zippers etc seem to be well made, I guess we will see how well it holds up after a winter of abuse.
Compact yet protective - very nice!

When the jacket first arrived, I was amazed by how light it was.  Compared to other running jackets I have, its unbelievable.  Surprisingly, it breathes fairly well, probably much better than a true waterproof jacket.  However, I find that it keeps me very warm.  Its advertised to be used between 40-55 degrees, but I start to cook pretty quick when running if it is warmer than 40 outside.  On the other hand, when standing around, I pull on this jacket and instantly warm up (especially if its windy), which is a big plus for such a light jacket.  Upon noticing that it was so lightweight, I was immediately concerned I would get it snagged on a branch or plant or fall down and tear it up.  To my astonishment, when I fell on the sidewalk hard enough to scrape up my elbows, the jacket didnt seem phased.  While the sleeves dont have a lot of stretch, I find that my size small can still roll up past my elbows if I want to keep my core warm and cool off my arms a little.  That being said, the size small still has plenty of room underneath, maybe too much.  The baggy fit might be nice for this winter though, as I plan to use this over one or two layers for running outside.  Probably my biggest disappointment, was that the jacket quickly will fall down and wont stay in place if not zipped up.  I noticed that Salomon puts a small button and tie across the chest of their jacket, so that this doesn't happen.  If brookes would include this small feature, the L.S.D. lite II would be hard to beat, especially at Runningwarehouse.com's prices.  

Overall, this is a great piece of gear for an ultrarunner who never knows what to expect from the weather.  When shopping around I was between the L.S.D lite II, The North Face Better Than Naked, Sugoi Helium, New Balance NBx windblocker, and the Salomon Fast III Jacket.  TNF was too expensive, Sugoi fit like a windshirt, NBx was fairly heavy and the Salomon jacket - well I couldnt find my size.  Again, I am very pleased with my decision to get the L.S.D. Lite II, a good price with more than adequate protection.  I imagine a windproof water resistant jacket is almost an absolutely necessary piece of gear for a mountain runner, but I wouldnt really know :)  I am very pleased with the durability as well as the weight of the garment.  And because of its super lightweight and easy stow-ability, this jacket comes almost everywhere with me.


  1. didn't know how to send this to you. but a good deal on this minimalist trail shoe. normally $100


  2. thanks Rob. Campmor is a great site in general. Im still on the fence as to whether my wallet can afford another pair of shoes, but who knows!