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Brooks Canopy Review

A comfortable jacket with just the right balance of weather protection, breathability, and weight, with a lower sticker price than the higher-end models
Brooks Canopy
Photo: Brooks
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $120 List | $89.73 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable and stretchy material, good weather protection, breathable
Cons:  Hood is not adjustable, almost no reflectivity
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Nick Bruckbauer & Walt Handloser  ⋅  Aug 9, 2021
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 9
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 10
  • Portability - 15% 8
  • Features and Visibility - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Brooks Canopy stands out from the crowd with an incredibly comfortable fit and an ideal blend of warmth, weather resistance, and breathability. Combined with one of the lowest prices in our lineup, the Canopy earns our Best Buy Award for its solid all-around performance. While it's not the most weather-resistant model that we tested, anyone from casual joggers to weekend warriors to serious competitors who are looking for a bit more warmth and comfort compared to an ultralight windbreaker will appreciate the Canopy.

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Brooks Canopy
This Product
Brooks Canopy
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $89.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$139 List
Check Price at REI
$67.48 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Comfortable and stretchy material, good weather protection, breathableLightweight, good breathability, packs into pocketEven temperature regulation, comfortableVery light, soft and comfortable materialFeature-packed, retro style
Cons Hood is not adjustable, almost no reflectivityNot the most weather resistant, fit is hit-or-miss for larger framesNot very water resistant, low wind resistanceNo pockets, limited weather resistanceHeavy, poorly-constructed, not breathable
Bottom Line A comfortable jacket with just the right balance of weather protection, breathability, and weight, with a lower sticker price than the higher-end modelsOur favorite model, this lightweight, breathable running jacket is ideal for all occasionsA highly breathable and comfortable soft shell that makes aerobic activity in the cold much more comfortableA comfortable, lightweight performance top that blurs the line between a shirt and jacketMore of a lifestyle or fashion product that doesn’t do any type of running particularly well
Rating Categories Brooks Canopy Arc'teryx Incendo H... Salomon RS Softshell Patagonia Airshed P... Nike Trail Windrunner
Breathability (30%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
Comfort And Mobility (20%)
10.0
7.0
8.0
10.0
2.0
Portability (15%)
8.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
5.0
Features And Visibility (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Specs Brooks Canopy Arc'teryx Incendo H... Salomon RS Softshell Patagonia Airshed P... Nike Trail Windrunner
Measured Weight 5.4 oz (Size S) 4.4 oz (Size S) 11.6 oz (Size L) 4.5 oz (Size M) 10.3 oz (Size S)
Number of pockets 3 1 2 0 2
Main Material DriLayer Seal 100% ripstop polyester Lumin 100% nylon 20D Ripstop fabric Polyester 100% nylon Taffeta
Unique Features Elastic cuffs, packs into pocket Media pocket 3-layer softshell with DWR coating Integrated stuff sack, double zipper Mesh liner, full sized mittens
Vent Type Chest zip vent Mesh panels under arm Stretch jersey backing Front zip vent Chest vents
Reflective material? Blazes Logo and blazes Yes No Blazes
Hood? Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brooks Canopy underwent a major revision in 2021. It dropped a lot of weight (and a few pockets) and gained an interesting new stuff sack. The new Canopy is now one of the lightest jackets in our lineup while remaining one of the most comfortable running jackets that we tested. Its casual fit and soft, stretchy face material still provide surprisingly capable weather protection and breathability. And its fit and finish are on par with much more expensive jackets, making it an easy Best Buy Award winner and among the highest-scoring products we tested.

Performance Comparison


The Canopy is an incredibly capable running jacket, especially for...
The Canopy is an incredibly capable running jacket, especially for its price. Light, breathable, comfortable, and feature-packed, it's our go-to cool weather jacket.
Photo: Walter Handloser

Breathability


While it doesn't contain any built-in mesh panels, the Canopy's Drilayer Seal polyester fabric remains comfortably breathable. The material is noticeably softer and quieter than the nylon materials found on other competitors in our lineup and retains a very comfortable feel against the skin.


While the material of the Canopy is certainly more breathable than most other weather-resistant fabrics, it does not provide the ventilation found on jackets with built-in mesh panels. The chest and side pockets do double as zippered vents, however, which eliminates a complaint we had with previous models. Still, mesh panels are noticeably better at neutralizing heat and moisture buildup before it becomes a nuisance and would be a welcome addition in future revisions.

The Canopy has one more feature in its fight against moisture: mid-torso buttons. At two points, roughly at the mid-chest and mid-sternum, the Canopy has buttons that can hold the jacket closed when the zipper is down. These allow you to unzip the front of the jacket entirely without the body panels flapping freely in the breeze. It's not a unique feature to this jacket, but it is still a welcome addition and adds to the jacket's heat regulation.

The Drilayer Seal material is the key to its breathability; it's so...
The Drilayer Seal material is the key to its breathability; it's so thin it's actually translucent.
Photo: Walter Handloser

Weather Resistance


The Canopy is constructed with one of the most unique and versatile materials out of any jacket in our lineup. The Brooks Drilayer Seal fabric is wind and water-resistant while maintaining breathability, and also boasts a UPF 30 sun protection rating. While not as wind-resistant as softshell jackets with thicker materials, and not as water-resistant as shells with waterproof membranes, the Canopy strikes an impressive balance between protection, comfort, and weight.


One area where the Canopy falls short is this metric is with its built-in hood. The hood is constructed with the same soft and lightweight material as the rest of the jacket but lacks some key features like pull-cord adjustment present in other models. Still, even here the designers seem to have been aware of past failings. Compared to the previous model, the current Canopy's hood is much more fitted, with a smaller face opening and a band of elastic to secure it around the edge. Though our testers never faced hood-removing winds, we were never able to run fast enough to make the hood come off as in previous models.

The Canopy's new (left) vs. old hood shows the level of design...
The Canopy's new (left) vs. old hood shows the level of design overhaul the jacket went through.
Photo: Walter Handloser, Nick Bruckbauer

Overall, we were very pleased with the weather protection of the Canopy during our testing period. The Drilayer Seal material softens the bite of the wind and impressively repels water just as advertised. During a rainy day hike with another competing jacket from our lineup, the Canopy impressed us with its far better water-repellency. While the hood may not provide great protection in extreme weather or while moving at higher speeds, we wouldn't hesitate to depend on the Canopy for higher-intensity runs in moderately wet and windy weather, or more mellow walks or hikes in more extreme weather.

The Canopy blocks wind and rain surprisingly well and is light and...
The Canopy blocks wind and rain surprisingly well and is light and comfortable at a variety of intensities.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Comfort and Mobility


The Canopy is one of the most comfortable jackets in our lineup. It's light, soft, stretchy, and well-cut. It's one of the few running jackets we've ever had to remind ourselves to take off. It's the running equivalent of that comfortable sweater you throw on after coming home from work. The fabric provides a pleasant balance of warmth, softness, and breathability, and is noticeably quieter than the material of many other competing jackets. The internal seams are flatlock-stitched and even the tags are designed to be removed (a feature we wish more of their competition included)


The Canopy's fit is somewhere between a more tightly-tailored athletic or performance fit and a more generous and baggy regular fit. Combined with a subtle stretch of the material, this jacket moves well with the body and provides consistent, comfortable coverage. The sleeve loops and cuffs were removed in this edition, but their absence didn't feel like an important loss.

The Canopy shed the previous version's multi-paneled arm, stiff...
The Canopy shed the previous version's multi-paneled arm, stiff cuff, and thumb loops in favor of a much more stripped-down, ultralight experience.
Photo: Walter Handloser

Portability


As previously mentioned, the Canopy dropped over an ounce between the previous and current models. It did this by jettisoning small features such as the cuffs and two of its previous five pockets. While it's still technically in the "middle" of our tested product lineup, it is now firmly in the ultralight category.


It's a high compliment to the designers that it lost weight without sacrificing its defining features. On the contrary, almost everything got better.

One of its best new features is the new stuff sack. Stuff sacks for ultralight jackets have a tendency to be just a bit too small for their jackets, as if the designers were worried you wouldn't make the best use of space unless the process of packing your jacket nearly broke your thumbs. The Canopy is a welcome counter-example. Unique among running jackets we tested, it places the generously sized light mesh stuff sack directly down the center of your back. It's so unobtrusive that we didn't even notice it at first, thinking it was a weird mesh addition to the back piece.

The interior of the Canopy, with the stuff sack in the center of the...
The interior of the Canopy, with the stuff sack in the center of the back.
Photo: Walter Handloser

We ran some tests and found that starting with the jacket in hand, we could get the entire thing in the stuff sack in roughly three seconds. Once there, the stuff sack converts into a micro-backpack, complete with adjustable shoulder straps. Did we mention the whole thing weighs only 5.4 oz?

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Features and Visibility


In addition to its high-end comfort and versatility, the Canopy boasts a very impressive features list. There's the previously-mentioned stuff sack and closure buttons. The hood has a helpful tie-down strap to prevent it from flopping around when not in use. Even after losing two pockets, it still leads our lineup with three. The pockets are large enough to be used and are all zippered and mesh on the inside, making them double as vents.


Sadly, not all the changes were positive. The reflective detailing has almost entirely disappeared from this model, going from three reflective blazes down to a single small one on one arm. If purchased in the black colorway, this jacket becomes nearly invisible at night. Running jackets are primarily used through fall and winter when the days are short, so it's difficult to understand why so many running jackets lack adequate reflective marking.

The one piece of reflective adornment. Worse, it's on the wrong arm...
The one piece of reflective adornment. Worse, it's on the wrong arm for runners in the U.S., who run on the left side of the road.
Photo: Walter Handloser


Value


For such a fully-featured, comfortable, and lightweight jacket, the Canopy surprisingly also comes with one of the lowest list prices in our lineup, making it an outstanding value and the winner of our Best Buy Award. There are higher-performing models out there with better specific features that come at a much higher price, and there are less expensive options available that compromise on comfort or performance, but nothing else combines the overall comfort, performance, and value of the Brooks Canopy

With impressive performance at a reasonable price, the Canopy...
With impressive performance at a reasonable price, the Canopy provides excellent value.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer


Conclusion


With some of the softest, most comfortable material of any jacket in our lineup, combined with an impressive features list, a lightweight and portable design, and a dependable balance of weather protection and breathability, the Brooks Canopy runs away with our Best Buy Award. The changes in 2021 were enough to bring it up even further as a contender for our top spot. This jacket was a joy to wear and will be the jacket that at least one of our testers uses as their new daily winter runner. Very few other jackets on the market strike as strong a balance of casual and professional. Brooks has a real winner on their hands in the Canopy.

Nick Bruckbauer & Walt Handloser