Brooks Canopy Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable and stretchy material, good weather protection, breathable
Cons: Hood is not adjustable, slightly heavier than others
Manufacturer: Brooks https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Brooks Canopy is one of the most comfortable running jackets that we tested with its casual semi-fitted design and soft and flexible material that still provides surprisingly capable weather protection and breathability. While it's a couple of ounces heavier than the lightest models that we tested, the Canopy remains plenty portable with its fairly low weight and convenient stuff sack built into one of its pockets. It also comes with one of the most affordable prices in our lineup, earning it our Best Buy Award.
While it doesn't contain any built-in mesh panels or fancy zippered vents, the Canopy remains comfortably breathable with its Drilayer Seal fabric. 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. The built-in cuffs allow the sleeves to be rolled up and add just enough structure to the sleeves to keep some airspace between the material and your skin to enhance breathability.
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 or zippered vents. These features found on a handful of other competitors are noticeably better at neutralizing heat and moisture buildup before it becomes a nuisance, and expelling heat and promoting airflow once things do get steamy.
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 important features such as a stiffer brim to provide some structural shape and additional face protection, and a cinch cord to adjust or tighten the fit. We found that this hood fits very loosely, lacks sufficient coverage during windy or rainy weather, and can easily fall off while running at higher speeds.
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 ultimate 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.
Comfort and Mobility
The Canopy is one of the most comfortable jackets in our lineup with its soft and flexible material. The fabric provides a pleasant balance of warmth, softness, and breathability, and is noticeably quieter than the material of many other competing jackets. Each of the internal seams is also encased within a small fabric strip to help prevent chaffing or uncomfortable pressure points.
The Canopy comes with a more casual and semi-fitted shape that is somewhere in the middle between a more tightly-tailored athletic or performance fit and a more generous and baggier regular fit. Combined with a subtle flex within the material, this jacket moves well with the body and provides consistent, comfortable coverage in a variety of dynamic positions. The sleeve cuffs and thumb loops provide versatility in changing conditions, from rolling up the sleeves for ventilation to using the cuffs with thumb loops to warm your hands.
One notable downside of the fit on this jacket is the hood that is unable to be adjusted or tightened. The hood is soft and comfortable but doesn't provide a snug fit during quicker movements. Runners getting ready to lace up their racing shoes for a cold-weather race will probably prefer an option that is a little more well-fitted and lighter overall. That said, the fit and mobility of the Canopy is otherwise well-suited for the majority of runs and other fast-moving activities in cooler conditions.
At a measured 6.6 ounces in a men's size medium, the Canopy is in the middle of the pack when it comes to weight, but is just a couple of ounces shy of many of the ultralight models in our lineup. While it is ever so noticeably heavier than the lightest models, it also provides a better overall blend of comfort, warmth, and breathability than many of those models, giving those extra ounces a great bang for the buck. The Canopy packs quite a bit of comfort and performance in a relatively light and portable package.
Like most of the jackets in our lineup, the Canopy includes a built-in stuff sack within one of its pockets. While its packed size is not quite as small as that of some of the other competitors, it still packs down to the size of a piece of large fruit, and can easily be carried in your hand or thrown in the corner of a backpack. Unique to many Brooks offerings, the stuff sack also includes an elastic band that allows you to carry the stuffed jacket while on the move by wrapping it around your hand or arm.
In addition to its high-end comfort and a noteworthy blend of weather protection and breathability, the Canopy boasts a very impressive features list. This jacket comes with a lineup-leading five pockets, including a zippered chest pocket with a headphone port, two zippered hand pockets, and two internal stuff pockets. The previously mentioned built-in stuff sack is housed within the left-hand zippered pocket. The Canopy also has reflective trim on each arm and on the back for added nighttime visibility.
To help dial in a comfortable, customized fit regardless of the conditions, the Canopy also includes a built-in adjustable cinch cord at the waist hem, the previously mentioned sleeve cuffs with thumb loops, and a snapped hook and loop system on the back of the collar to roll up and stow away the hood when it's not needed.
For such a fully-featured, comfortable, and respectably 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 this Best Buy Award Winner.
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. With very few notable weaknesses, the Canopy performs well in nearly every rating metric and would be suitable for use in nearly any scenario. It should be on the list of any runner looking for a comfortable and versatile jacket.
— Nick Bruckbauer