Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Bontrager Lithos Stormshell Jacket: Update

Some true Winter testing
Back toward the end of last year I wrote a bit of a review on my Bontrager Lithos Stormshell Jacket. Well, at that point we really had not had the bitter cold, snowy, windy weather that we have had the past almost two months since then. I feel as though I need to give a bit of an update now that I have used this jacket in what I would consider as pretty severe cycling conditions.

Things like heavy, wet snow fall, high winds, and bitter, below zero temperatures. Yesterday was a great example as it was in the lower teens and the winds were 20-25mph with blowing snow and flurries. All of my riding in the jacket during this period has been on my fat bike.

The fit of the jacket is roomy, compared to other cycling jackets, but when the winds howl, you will appreciate the fact that you can layer up underneath without bursting at the seams. I typically can do a wool base layer, a heavier wool mid layer, and then the Lithos jacket is typically my outer layer. This gives me all the warmth I need while being active on the bike. In fact, the jacket is absolutely totally windproof. The hood can be drawn down pretty tight around a helmet, or if you use a thicker cap or hat for Winter, the hood works well to keep out the wind and wet snow.

Speaking of wet snow, I got caught out in a heavy, wet snow, which at 34°F was melting as fast as it fell on me. Essentially making for a good test of the water proof claims of this jacket. Remember, in the beginning the entire reason I went looking for a jacket, and landed on the Lithos, was because another jacket I have failed to keep a heavy rain out and I was soaked when I arrived at home that day. Well, how did the Lithos hold up in equally as wet conditions? Fantastic. Perfect performance in all respects with regard to the waterproof feature.

I also did a ride with a heavy backpack, and one of the claims for the Lithos Stormshell is that it was designed with a hydration pack in mind. I was very impressed with how my big Osprey pack worked with this jacket. As advertised there for sure! 

So, I am increasingly pleased with this jacket, and although it doesn't feature pit zips, it is a very, very good piece of gear for cycling. If it featured pit zips, it would be nearly a perfect score for me so far. Long term, I cannot yet speak to that, but if I can squeeze out several season out of this Lithos Stormshell and get this sort of performance, I will feel very good about my purchase in the long run.

Note: This jacket was purchased with my own damn money and I was not paid, nor bribed for this review.


Joboo said...

Can you elaborate on this "Hydration pack compatible"??
I went back and read your original post, product page.... blah blah.
Do you/they mean a pack like the manta 36 could be worn under this jacket?? Sorry if I missed your explanation of a pack and this jacket.

Guitar Ted said...

@Joboo: Good question, and I am sorry I didn't elaborate in the post on that. What it means is that the vents won't end up underneath or crossing your straps on most hydration packs, so you have maximum access and air flow. Secondly, the jacket's material doesn't bunch up on the shoulders and chest underneath your pack, as some jackets will do, limiting freedom of movement.

blooddoc23 said...

Do you wear the hydration pack inside or outside of the jacket?

Guitar Ted said...

@Robert Ellis: Know that typically I do not wear a hydration pack for water. I usually just use double walled Stainless bottles or insulated bottles. So, when I used the hydration pack, it is to carry cargo/other items. So, outside the jacket.

Joboo said...

Thanks for the clarification!!

Scott1race said...

I have also reviewed this jacket, for Fat-bike.com. This is definitely the extreme condition jacket, and I too was very pleased with its waterproofness. The front mounted vent zippers are the longest I have ever used in a garment, and did great job. I liked the way I could ride in a rainy crosswind, and open one zipper on the lee side for ventilation while keeping the rain side zipper closed. When hiking I might prefer pit-zips, but for cycling these front mounted zippers were great.