Friday, 22 June 2012

OMM Rotor Smock

Disclaimer:  I bought this with my own money from a shop!


I purchased this little beauty in late summer last year.  I've a couple of down jackets that I use for camp use at the end of the day to keep warm in that period after you've stopped walking but before you want to get in the bag or quilt and settle down for the night.  They also supplement the bag, or quilt to keep you that bit warmer on chilly nights.  The down side side of down is that it's rubbish when it's wet so the jackets tend to stay in a dry bag in the pack during the day unless it's a dry day. 

For this reason I wanted a synthetic jacket that works (a bit) when wet and dry's quickly, something for use in summer as the down ones are three and four season bits of kit.  Having tried a number of other jackets which had bizarre sizing I ended up trying this on.  Happily for me I work about fifteen minutes from ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk (I am not connected to them in any way) so I could pop down there and mess around with it.

On first sight I though this was a ridiculous bit of kit.  The most lightweight bit of Primaloft One sandwiched between two layers of Pertex Quantum.  This would never keep you warm in a month of Sundays.  I tried it on and was very surprised.  It is quite simply amazing.  Don't get me wrong it's no where near as warm as a three season down jacket but for what it is (practically see through) it keeps you very warm.  Like an insulated wind shirt if you like.

The clever bit is that you can cinch the cuffs, bottom hem and the neck hole tight to trap in warm air.  Pertex is amazing stuff anyway, wind resistant, very breathable and super light.  Primaloft one is also pretty amazing.  If the gubbins Primaloft say is true and I have no reason to doubt it, then not only is it the most efficient synthetic insulation (I note Climashield Apex say the same) it reflects heat as well as trapping it.  However it works, it just works and works well.  The materials combined make for a fantastic garment.

I've used this on many days walking and a few backpacking too.  Because of it's properties you can use it for walking in, not just keeping in the pack until you set up camp.  When walking I view it as an insulated windshirt.  Very handy when for when a wind shirt isn't quite enough and a waterproof is a bit too much.  The collar, cuffs and hem can be opened as well as the zip at the front making for a very well vented smock.  As it's synthetic it doesn't matter too much if it gets damp from sweat as it soon drys out.  The pertex sheds light rain admirably and still does now.  I wouldn't use it in prolonged or heavy rain though.  Although when the sun comes out *snigger* you do get a bit warm in it and need to change to a more conventional wind shirt.

My two season clothing for my top half is Rohan Shirt, OMM Smock, Montane Featherlite Windshirt and North face Triumph waterproof, all mentally light, but all very functional.  I may add a long sleeve merino top for sleeping in on multi day trips.

On an overnighter at the end of March I was using the smock in conjunction with a Rohan shirt as a baselayer and the North Face Triumph Jacket over the top.  As you can see from the photo below it was quite nippy.


Well you may not be able to tell from the photo how nippy it was.  I was on the top of Black Hambleton on the North York Moors.  Slightly lower down frost was forming in hollows, the wind was keeping the frost at bay on the tops.  So slightly cold.  I however was lovely and toasty.  I slept in my summer quilt with my clothes on and was toasty all night.


A nice boundary stone I stumbled upon coming down from Black Hambleton in the morning.

I've rolled around in burnt heather with this on and it didn't rip, not purposely you understand.  I've walked around 50 miles with this on whilst using a pack with absolutely no sign of pack burn on the shoulders.  It is very lightweight kit and wont last forever but it works so well and is far more robust than it looks.  I have yet to find a single fault with it, well apart from the price of around £110.  It is worth it though.  I've yet to get it soaked through so I can't tell you how quick it dries but I'm guessing as there's not much to dry it'll be quick.


Conclusion

A superbly versatile, lightweight (my large is 260g!) and functional bit of kit.  In fact I would say it's probably the best bit of clothing I've bought in the last five years. Good for walking in, good for sleeping in and it also looks really really nice.  And, let's face it, it's all about the look.





4 comments:

blogpackinglight said...

The Rotor is similar to my Haglofs LIM Barrier smock, but I like the idea of adjustable cuffs.

I'm always surprised at how warm it is and compares quite well with down of a similar weight.

Probably shouldn't buy it tho :(

Shed Dweller said...

My only experience of synthetic insulation before this was stuff from around 20 years ago. Things have come on in leaps and bounds since then. It's getting very close to down in terms of weight/warmth and compressability (is that a word?). Combined with its ability to cope with the damp which seems more and more important with our lovely summers we may be at a turning point with outdoor insulation.

Martin Rye said...

Synthetic is great. Have a RAB smock but want a hooded synthetic top like my old Montane one. Light and lasted years. Good kit john, and like the thinking about kit selection.

Garden Sheds said...
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