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Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Review

A serious piece of kit aimed at runners who want to keep the weight down and stay dry while going fast
salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review
Credit: Salomon
Price:  $180 List
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Sam Schild & Walt Handloser  ⋅  Oct 25, 2022
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Breathability - 30% 5.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 8.0
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 6.0
  • Portability - 15% 7.0
  • Features and Visibility - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Salomon Bonatti Waterproof is one of the grandfathers of ultralight extreme weather jackets. Stripped down to only the bare essentials with a 2.5-layer waterproof design and a single chest pocket, this is a jacket designed for fast packing and mountain runners. The feature set reflects the maturity of the product and Salomon's long experience in the field. Unfortunately, the sticky, clammy interior makes this jacket feel like a throwback to ten years ago, when such problems were par for the ultralight waterproof materials available. Modern-day materials have moved on, but the Bonatti hasn't.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive for a fully waterproof jacket
Good phone pocket
Solid build quality
Thoughtful design details
REASONS TO AVOID
Uncomfortable inner lining
Poor reflectivity
Becomes a sauna in warm conditions
Editor's Note: This review was updated on October 25, 2022 with our test results with the latest version of this jacket.

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Pros Inexpensive for a fully waterproof jacket, good phone pocket, solid build quality, thoughtful design detailsUltralight, packs into its pocket, breathable, very comfortable, versatileLightweight, very breathable, comfortable, wool-lined hood, good visibilityVery light, excellent breathability, adjustable hood, great visibilityGood breathability, lots of pockets, portable
Cons Uncomfortable inner lining, poor reflectivity, becomes a sauna in warm conditionsNo reflective visibility featuresHood not adjustableHarder to pack into its pocket than someNo reflective accents for visibility
Bottom Line A serious piece of kit aimed at runners who want to keep the weight down and stay dry while going fastWhen you're looking for an ultralight, packable jacket, this model is second to noneThis is a very comfortable jacket with a wool-lined hood and wool panels for breathability in the armpitsYou won't be missed in this super breathable and ultralight jacket with excellent visible colors and reflective materialsA comfortable jacket with just the right balance of weather protection, breathability, and weight, with a lower sticker price than the higher-end models
Rating Categories Salomon Bonatti Wat... Patagonia Houdini A... Smartwool Merino Sp... Asics Men's Fujitra... Brooks Canopy
Breathability (30%)
5.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Comfort and Mobility (20%)
6.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Portability (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Features and Visibility (15%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Salomon Bonatti Wat... Patagonia Houdini A... Smartwool Merino Sp... Asics Men's Fujitra... Brooks Canopy
Measured Weight (size Medium) 5 oz 4.1 oz 5.2 oz 4.1 oz 5.6 oz
Number of pockets 2 1 2 1 3
Main Material Polyamide 51% Recycled Nylon, 39% Nylon, 10% Polyester with DWR finish 100% Nylon, non-PFC DWR finish 100% Nylon 100% Recycled Polyester
Unique Features Packs into chest pocket, waterproof Carabiner clip-in loop Packs in to right hand pocket, wool vented pits Laser-cut ventilation holes Carry sling attaced to integrated stuff sack
Vent Type Front zip with button closure, pit vents and vents on upper back None Armpit Armpit, back None, breathable material only
Reflective material? Yes Logo Yes Yes None
Hood? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Salomon Bonatti Waterproof has been kicking around the trail running scene for years. Salomon's ultralight waterproof offerings were some of the early favorites among extreme weather runners for their lightweight, stripped-down design and flashy looks. The Bonatti follows the Salomon tradition with a wide range of colorways, a minimalist feature set, and a simple, sleek design philosophy that benefits from Salomon's long experience in the sport. But in the many years that it has been around, huge advances have come about both in waterproof fabric technology and jacket design. Waterproof jackets in the last few years are lighter, more breathable, and more comfortable than ever.

Sadly, the overall design of the Bonatti has remained largely unchanged. In many ways, it feels like the grandfather it is. One of the best jackets on the market a decade ago is now a serviceable but unspectacular mid-pack performer.

Performance Comparison


salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - the bonatti has been a mainstay in the trail running world for years.
The Bonatti has been a mainstay in the trail running world for years.
Credit: Sam Schild

Breathability


Breathability can be a fraught concept with waterproof jackets. They need to keep the water out, but they also need to let air in and out. Non-waterproof jackets do this by just opening up vents and adding mesh patches. Waterproof jackets can't be so cavalier. Instead, they have to solve the airflow problem with breathable waterproof fabrics and rain-protected vents. The Bonatti has a line of vents tucked away in the middle of the back but no underarm or zippered vents. This is a shame since the actual fabric of the Bonatti isn't very breathable. Our testers found that in uptempo running, the jacket quickly gathered moisture on the inside and soon became a sweatsuit.

The Bonatti does have one very welcome breathability feature in the form of a snap in the center of the chest that allows you to unzip the zipper without the jacket flapping in the wind. Still, our reviewers reported that this didn't help with the underarms or arms, which still felt sauna-like even with the front open.

salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - the salomon bonatti waterproof has snap closures to keep the jacket...
The Salomon Bonatti Waterproof has snap closures to keep the jacket from flapping as you run with it unzipped for ventilation.
Credit: Sam Schild

Comfort and Mobility


The stuffy feeling of the Bonatti is enhanced by the limited comfort of the inside surface of the jacket. The three-layer waterproofing used on heavier jackets consists of an outer protective layer, a waterproof membrane, and a liner material to protect the waterproof membrane on the inside and give the jacket a good next-to-skin feel. This jacket has a more streamlined 2.5-layer design, in which the inside layer is replaced with a coating sprayed or otherwise attached to the inside of the waterproof membrane.

This fits with the seeming design ethos of the Bonatti, which trades comfort for performance in almost every turn. Sadly, like many 2.5 layer designs, the result is a jacket that sticks to your skin and feels clammy even when dry. This made it hard to get off once sweaty but also made it feel overly tight and warm where it touched skin.

In our reviewers' past experience, this stickiness with most 2.5 layer jackets does die down over time. However, it only does so as the inner coating begins to break down and the garment loses its waterproofing. By the time it fits like an old t-shirt, it may have the water-resistance of one, too.

salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - the bonatti is certainly waterproof, but gets clamming almost...
The Bonatti is certainly waterproof, but gets clamming almost immediately, too.
Credit: Sam Schild

Weather resistance


In even heavy rain, the Bonatti performed admirably. Like almost all ultralight waterproof jackets, it kept rain out to a point, after which it couldn't realistically be expected that anything but a poncho would keep you totally dry. It also did a fantastic job of keeping stiff winds out. Less substantial jackets we tested (and even some much heavier jackets) would stay warm until challenged by anything stronger than a breeze. Not the Bonatti, which stayed cozy even when the wind picked up.

We would even say that we'd trust the Bonatti in a lot of places where we just wouldn't trust other, often better jackets. Many jackets we've tested have better breathability, better waterproofing, better design, or more comfort. But there are few we'd trust as completely as the Bonatti if you had to choose just one jacket to keep you moving on a mountainside. What it lacks in many creature comforts, it makes up in pure utility. It's light, and it protects you from more and more diverse weather than most other jackets. If you want more, look elsewhere.

salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - the bonatti provides good coverage in bad weather.
The Bonatti provides good coverage in bad weather.
Credit: Sam Schild

Portability


The Bonatti is light, but mostly by the standards of high-tech jackets of ten years ago. It weighs exactly 50% more than our lightest tested waterproof jacket, but overall it's right in line with most ultralight waterproof jackets in its price point.

salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - the bonatti is super light and very packable.
The Bonatti is super light and very packable.
Credit: sam schild

Features


The feature set of the Bonatti may be minimal, but the details show the kind of thought and care that reflect the time the product has had to mature. The zippers are all chunky and well-made, it has elastic in strategic places to keep it form-fitting but not restrictive, and the rear venting runs nearly the entire width of the back.

Probably the single most positive feature of the jacket is the amazing hood. Hoods were the failure point of so many running jackets we tested, including those from companies who are famous for their hoods. At the ultralight running level, where so many of the pull cords, drawstrings, and stays that keep a hood in place have to be removed to save weight, many running jackets just don't have other ways to keep the hood from flying off without having the jacket zipped to the chin.

The Bonatti solves this problem with a soft piece of elastic-lined jersey under the brim of the hood. This can be tucked up when not needed, but in inclement weather or when you really need to keep the hood in place, it can be pulled down across the forehead. When paired with the small piece of elastic on the back of the hood, the combination keeps the hood solidly in place, even with the jacket entirely unzipped. It's the most stable hood of those we tested and was really a pleasure to wear.

salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - we love the hood on the bonatti.
We love the hood on the Bonatti.
Credit: Sam Schild

Should You Buy The Salomon Bonatti Waterproof?


Running jackets can be nose-bleedingly expensive, and waterproofing can add that extra little bit that takes the price into the stratosphere. This jacket falls firmly in the middle range, both of the waterproof jackets we tested and of the market in general. And because of the relatively poor performance of its material, it's likely that less expensive options would have similar or sometimes even better materials. What they wouldn't have is the thoughtfulness and solid design of the Bonatti. The material may have all the charm and next-to-skin feel of a rain slicker, but the features go a long way toward justifying the price.

salomon bonatti waterproof running jacket review - the chest pocket on the bonatti kept our phone waterproof during...
The chest pocket on the Bonatti kept our phone waterproof during afternoon storms.
Credit: Sam Schild

What Other Running Jackets Should You Consider?


If you're looking for a more breathable, but slightly heavier waterproof jacket, we recommend the Arc'teryx Norvan LT Hoodie. If waterproofing isn't your top concern, we recommend the Patagonia Houdini Air or the Asics Fujitrail for their excellent ultralight breathability.

Sam Schild & Walt Handloser
 
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