Harald Krauss is a blogger from Germany who has a strong interest in running, especially ultra trails. His major achievements in 2012 were the Zugspitz Ultratrail (100k) and the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
He writes for his own blog (www.das-lauferei.de) as well as a column for www.laufticker.de, a major German netzine specialising on running.
“Equipment wise the jacket (with drop back) follows the usual standard with velcro cuffs, hem toggles and wind protected front zip. Two large pockets (with net on the inside) offer enough room for tissues, gloves and what else one might want to pack. There’s another pocket on the left sleeve to carry a mobile phone or MP3 player. The zips give an impression of good quality, though being a bit hard to operate, which is probably owed to them being water- and windproof. However, there’s a superb handle on the front zip. I was immediately smitten by the collar: high, close fitting (but not too tight), and covered with the same wonderfully soft material they use for the front zip’s wind protection. Needless to say it’s got a zip guard.
First Impression– was that of a wonderful surface feel. The outside material feels just great, reminding me of a thin suede jacket. If somebody was looking to use the words “haptics” and “greatness” in one sentence, here it is. Since the material – thanks to Elastane – adapts to the movements of the body, the words “second skin” come to my mind.
Running – the conditions were circa -5 to +10 °C, cloudy, windy, with occasional rain. I wore underneath the Sub Zero soft shell Jacket a lightweight base layer and I also tried an additional thermal mid layer, which means I expected to get hot. Nevertheless I had to try it (sometimes curiosity is stronger than sense). Sure I did sweat, soft shell fabrics are not overly breathable, consequently even the slightest jog made me feel wet. When winter – the real winter – returned with temperatures around zero, plus a bit of wind, the Sub Zero soft shell proved its abilities. One or two layers underneath, and, no matter what weather, I was warm and cosy. In my eyes, running is not quite the jacket’s domain. It is possible to use it for running, even better when it’s cold, but I might say it’s range is for cold and windy weather. I once tried the combination of a super thin windbreaker and thermal layer, truly running stuff, for comparison. Back in the soft shell, it feels more “jacket”.
Hiking – is a different story. Once tried, the Sub Zero soft shell instantly became my favourite jacket. I either wore it right from the start – depended on weather and situation, of course, or I had it ready in my pack for the next belay. Light rain didn’t come through at all, I guess it needs heavy rain, or an extended stay outside until you feel the urge to put a rain jacket on top.
The Sub Zero soft shell is a true all round jacket. If you like, it’s the generalist amongst clothing. Provided it doesn’t rain cats and dogs, it’s not freezing cold or your training schedule says “speed”, you’re doing right by wearing it: windproof, water resistant, warm enough, this jacket is just great!”