By: Matt Setlack
The Ronhill Trail Vertex running jacket is designed to keep you warm when running in sub-zero temperatures. It is a very versatile jacket meaning that you can wear it in a wide temperature range just by varying the number of layers you wear underneath. I have been wearing this running jacket for the past month and typically wear it during my run commute to and from work every day (10 mile round trip). So far, I have worn it for approximately 300km in temperatures ranging from -30C to +5C (with varying layers underneath, of course).
The Ronhill Trail Vertex running jacket is one of, if not THE, greatest running jacket I have ever worn. The greatest qualities of this jacket is its ability to help you thermoregulate, which I believe is one of the key ingredients of a comfortable jacket.
I wore the Ronhill Trail Vertex running jacket in Vancouver, Canada (see photos above) in temperatures around -5C to +5C. Underneath the jacket I wore the Ronhill Merino 200 long sleeve top. It was snowing heavily (those big fluffy snowflakes) and was warm enough that when the snowflakes touched down, they melted (it was a slushy mess to run through). I ran with my wife, Emily for 100 minutes (1:40) and was AMAZED that I was not even a little bit wet (neither from sweating nor from the wet snowflakes on the outside). For those who don’t know, this is revolutionary! Apparel manufacturers have struggled for years to make a jacket that is BOTH water resistant AND breathable but Ronhill has really done it with this jacket. On the exact same 100 minute run, Emily was wearing a different jacket and by the time the run was over, her jacket had completely soaked through and her undershirt was completely drenched...Emily didn’t enjoy the run. I was completely dry and thoroughly enjoyed the run.
A Note on Ronhill Running Clothing
While I was studying a masters in Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, one of my professors, Mr. Phill Stocking showed us a quote one day about what good engineering design is. The quote went something along the lines of, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Whenever I wear Ronhill clothing, I am reminded of this quote as I believe that Ronhill has done a brilliant job at designing and manufacturing running apparel very fit for purpose and not unnecessarily complicated.
Although I could be wrong, I get the feeling that Ronhill is constantly designing their products to be the absolute best for the end user. Because of their defined scope of making functional apparel for runners (in addition to backpacks and other running accessories), they do an exceptional job at it. Every Ronhill product that I have worn has been designed and manufactured with the utmost care and it seems that every little detail is well thought out – and works extremely well. Of all the running apparel manufacturers out there, Ronhill, in my opinion makes some of the greatest running apparel that I have ever worn. I find Ronhill products to be more durable, functional, reflective and comfortable than most. If you want quality that will last for years, you should really consider taking a look at Ronhill products.
What I Like About the Ronhill Trail Vertex Running Jacket:
Overall Fit - I wear size medium in Ronhill clothing (except gloves, which I wear large). I think the medium form/model that Ronhill uses for its clothing has my exact shape and dimensions because medium fits me perfectly as if it was custom made.
Arm Fit – The length of the jacket arms is a bit longer than typical, in order to allow the runner to stick their thumbs in the wrist thumb holes. I like that the arms are a bit longer as they keep my wrists warm when my arms are bent while running.
Another nice thing about the arms is that they are nicely cut to your arms; there is no loose fabric flapping around in the wind. It’s just perfect the amount of material Ronhill left in the arms. The circumference of the wrist feels slightly bigger compared to the Ronhill Wind Lite running jacket that I have been wearing in the summer (it's the bright green and blue jacket that I'm wearing in other blog post photos). This is a good idea because when you’re wearing this jacket you will likely also be wearing mitts or gloves and having a bit of extra room in the wrists helps accommodate the gloves.
Torso Fit – The jacket torso length is perfect for me. The circumference of the jacket torso is not restrictive nor too loose so cold air doesn’t come up from below.
Versatility - I have worn this jacket in +5 with a thin t-shirt underneath and I have also worn it in -30C with two long sleeve wool tops on underneath. I like to wear this jacket with the Ronhill Merino 200 wool top (fantastic piece). The temperature range for this combo is around -5C to -20C. You can wear it in such a large range of temperatures because the wool top seems to do an amazing job of keeping you warm.
Thermoregulation (Temperature Regulation) – You can unzip the front pockets or unzip the front of the coat to cool off or do the opposite to warm up. The PrimaLoft panels in the front and back of the jacket keep you warm but the material in the arms is thinner (no PrimaLoft) so that you don’t sweat. It’s a brilliant design.
Material - The material that the jacket is constructed of is stretchy, which, in addition to having a really nice fit, makes it super comfortable. Another advantage of the stretchy material and the particular stitch pattern that Ronhill used is that it allows the runner to easily stretch the jacket wrist cuff over their watch or GPS watch (a really nice touch). Most other jackets I have worn have non-stretchy wrist cuffs and usually what happens when you check your watch while running is that you either accidentally press the buttons because the cuffs are so tight or you don't bother checking your watch because you can't access it. The stretchy wrist cuffs on this Ronhill jacket are one of the things that make this jacket really fit for purpose.
Water Resistance - The jacket has a special coating (DWR – Durable Water Repellent) so the rain/wet snow just beads and runs off the jacket, which is really nice. If you're sweating, the DWR coating doesn't prevent the water vapour from leaving the jacket.
Lack of Hood – This is a good thing. It makes the jacket lighter and 99% of the time when I'm running, I don’t use a hood anyway. I also find it annoying when a hood is bouncing around behind me and partially filling up with air as I run.
Lightweight (257 grams) - It is light enough and packs up small enough that if you get too warm on the run, you can take it off and easily carry it in one hand while you complete your run.
YKK Zippers – They are nice and small but still big enough to use with mitts on. When you flick them down so they are in-line with the zipper, they are locked in place. I like that they don’t flip/flop all over the place when you are running. Behind the main zipper is a wind block strip of material to prevent the wind from blowing through the zipper.
What Could be Improved with the Ronhill Trail Vertex Running Jacket:
Thumb Holes in Arms – Personally, I never really use these thumb holes and I find that when I do, I feel like the design could be refined a little more. Emily likes using thumb holes so I guess it’s just a personal preference. However, these thumb hole do not take anything away from the jacket and do not affect its performance in any way.
Reflectors - When I wear this jacket on the run commute in the mornings and evenings, it is usually dark outside. Ronhill could possibly consider putting reflective stripes on the front/back of the jacket. However, there is a currently a reflective Ronhill logo on the front chest and a small reflective triangle on the upper back torso. This is a non-issue when I wear the Ronhill tuque (beanie) because it has a reflective stripe that goes all the way round the head making me visible to passing motorists.
I think reflectors on running clothing are a personal preference. The nice thing about not having reflectors is that you can always add reflectors later (via arm bands, reflective belt, etc) but if you buy a jacket with a lot of reflectors already on it, it is near impossible to take them off. I like the reflector scheme that was used on the Ronhill Wind Lite running jacket.
The Ronhill Trail Vertex running jacket is very likely the greatest running jacket I have ever worn. Ronhill has nailed the design of this jacket. This is the perfect running jacket for anyone running in sub-zero temperatures. I highly recommend this running jacket to anyone who is looking for a high-quality, functional, comfortable, durable jacket to wear in cooler temperatures.
You can find the Ronhill Trail Vertex running jacket at Running Room by clicking here. I personally like the Running Room located at 8537 - 109 Street in Edmonton as they have a fantastic selection of running shoes and apparel. The staff there are super friendly and they also have a back room with many discounted running shoes. I even saw last year’s model of this jacket (red colour) at the 109 Street Running Room this winter at a discounted price.