Brooks Canopy Review
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|Pros||Good breathability, lots of pockets, portable||Ultralight, packs into its pocket, breathable, very comfortable, versatile||Lightweight, very breathable, comfortable, wool-lined hood, good visibility||Very light, excellent breathability, adjustable hood, great visibility||Very light, soft and comfortable material|
|Cons||No reflective accents for visibility||No reflective visibility features||Hood not adjustable||Harder to pack into its pocket than some||No pockets, limited weather resistance|
|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 models||When you're looking for an ultralight, packable jacket, this model is second to none||This is a very comfortable jacket with a wool-lined hood and wool panels for breathability in the armpits||You won't be missed in this super breathable and ultralight jacket with excellent visible colors and reflective materials||A comfortable, lightweight performance top that blurs the line between a shirt and jacket|
|Rating Categories||Brooks Canopy||Patagonia Houdini A...||Smartwool Merino Sp...||Asics Men's Fujitra...||Patagonia Airshed P...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Features and Visibility (15%)|
|Specs||Brooks Canopy||Patagonia Houdini A...||Smartwool Merino Sp...||Asics Men's Fujitra...||Patagonia Airshed P...|
|Measured Weight (size Medium)||5.6 oz||4.1 oz||5.2 oz||4.1 oz||4.5 oz|
|Number of pockets||3||1||2||1||0|
|Main Material||100% Recycled Polyester||51% Recycled Nylon, 39% Nylon, 10% Polyester with DWR finish||100% Nylon, non-PFC DWR finish||100% Nylon||100% Nylon|
|Unique Features||Carry sling attaced to integrated stuff sack||Carabiner clip-in loop||Packs in to right hand pocket, wool vented pits||Laser-cut ventilation holes||Integrated stuff sack, double zipper|
|Vent Type||None, breathable material only||None||Armpit||Armpit, back||Front zip vent|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The newest model of the Brooks Canopy is 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.
While it doesn't contain any built-in mesh panels, the Canopy's 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.
This jacket has two mid-torso buttons to aid in mechanical venting and breathability. These buttons, found roughly at the mid-chest and mid-sternum, 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 isn't on every jacket, either. Either way, this is a welcome addition that adds to the jacket's heat regulation.
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.
Overall, the Canopy falls a little short with its water resistance against some of its waterproof competitors. We know that this jacket isn't intended to be waterproof, but compared to some other windbreaker-style running jackets, this is one of the less waterproof jackets. It protect you in a light mist, but we found this jacket wets out quickly compared to some others.
Overall, we were pleased with the weather protection of the Canopy. The Drilayer Seal material softens the bite of the wind and impressively repels a light mist. During a rainy day hike, the Canopy impressed us with its water-repellency. We wouldn't hesitate to depend on the Canopy for higher-intensity runs in moderately wet and windy weather.
Comfort and Mobility
The Canopy is one of the most comfortable jackets in our lineup. It's light, soft, stretchy, and well-cut. This is 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. It is also 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 tightly-tailored athletic cut and a more generous and baggy regular fit. It's loose and billowy, but not too baggy to feel like it's constantly catching the wind. Combined with a subtle stretch of the material, this jacket moves well with the body and provides consistent, comfortable coverage. The sleeve loops and adjustable cuffs were removed in this edition, but their absence didn't feel like an important loss.
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. This jacket 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.
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 less than 6 ounces?
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 on the newest version of this jacket even has an adjustment cinch cord now. This is something we've been wanting to see added to this jacket for years. And, even after losing two pockets, this jacket still has the most pockets of any we tested. The pockets are large enough to be used and are all zippered and mesh on the inside, making them double as vents. There is also a tiny key pocket inside the right hand pocket.
Sadly, not all the changes were positive on this jacket. The newest version of has no reflective features. If purchased in black, this jacket becomes nearly invisible at night. However, this jacket does come in some seriously visible colors that we found more visible than most jackets. 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.
Should You Buy the Brooks Canopy?
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. Nothing else combines the overall comfort, performance, and value of the Brooks Canopy, and we'd highly recommend it for most runners.
What Other Running Jackets Should You Consider?
The Canopy has some of the softest, most comfortable material of any jacket in our lineup, and a lightweight and portable design, making it an ideal pick for most runners. If you're looking for something even more breathable, check out our Editors' Choice Award-winning Patagonia Houdini Air. If you need something more definitively waterproof for more extreme conditions, we recommend the Arc'teryx Norvan LT or the Salomon Bonatti.
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