OMM's Rotor Smock and Vest are two very interesting products. Although designed primarily for those taking part in adventure races, non-racers should take note of these ultralight weight insulated garments, as they have a much broader appeal than just to the race fraternity.
The Rotor Smock and Vest are made with Primaloft Gold insulation enclosed in a PointZero shell. This means we have top of the range synthetic insulation with a high warmth to weight ratio and a shell made up of an ultralight windproof fabric. This combination gives two excellent quality, packable garments, ideal for active use, walking or keeping a chill off in camp.
Initially when they came into our shop I was really surprised at how light the Rotor Smock and Vest were, I knew from the specifications they were lightweight but when you pick the garment up they feel almost weightless, with the bonus of the outer shell being supremely soft. Being in the market for a gilet for use in our shop I decided to forgo a full zip and purchase a Rotor Vest.
Now let us be quite clear, if you want an insulated garment to help keep you really warm in the winter then the Rotor's are not for you. What they do is keep chill off and keep your core comfortable. If I only used my vest in our shop or even around home I would have been happy, but out on the hill it really comes into its own and the two very different walks and the kayaking session which follow prove this.
Towards the end of December, on the spur of the moment and with a need for some fresh air, I put the dog in the car and drove from my home in Salford the twenty or so minutes to Jct 22 (Saddleworth/Rishworth Moor) and the Pennine Way. Now, before we I wax lyrical about my Rotor Vest some scene setting is needed.
Like a complete idiot and because it was spur of the moment decision I neglected to think the light wind and showers at home may be different at the higher elevation, which of course it was! Knowing my waterproof jacket was in the boot of my car I neglected to check it before setting off, which was another error. I had been having problems with a leak and condensation in my car, the result, which I am sure you will not be surprised by, was that my waterproof jacket was wet through. So on reaching the moor with rain and wind and wet jacket I had a choice to go back or grin and bear it and set out towards the Blackstone Edge.
Manufacturers of synthetic insulation claim that it works even when wet, which is one of the main selling points over down, walking on that Saturday afternoon with a wet waterproof jacket I can attest that in the case of my Rotor Vest this is true. All the time during the short two hour walk across the moor my core temperature was really comfortable which allowed me to really enjoy the solitude and the bleakness of the landscape. Considering that all I was wearing on my core was a mid weight baselayer, my Rotor Vest and waterproof jacket I was really surprise at my comfort, so much that the wet inner of my waterproof jacket was soon forgotten.
Parlick and Fairsnape Fell
Fast forward to beginning of May and a beautiful, if unfortunately hazy, Saturday on the edge of the Forest of Bowland a mile or so to the north of beautiful village of Chipping are the low hills of Parlick (432m) and Fair Snape Fell (520m). One of the gateways into the hills which make up the Forest of Bowland area. Parlick and Fair Snape Fell are ideal for a gentle stroll, with the way onto Parlick having a both gradual and steeper ascents with the walk up to the top of Fair Snape Fell being a gradual climb on a curve with a stunning vista of the lands to the east and the peak to the north.
The weather could not have been any different from my escapade on the Blackstone Edge, with the sun peaking through the clouds, it was ideal walking conditions. So with my favourite softshell trousers, baselayer, OMM Rotor Vest and again with my dog Reuben (a Ben Nevis veteran) and his best buddy Zak I hit the hill.
This time the Rotor Vest proved to be an excellent piece of clothing, with the location of Parlick and Snape Fell being on the outer edge of the range and with no land raised land between them and the Irish Sea some 15 or so miles to the east, it can get quite windy and even on a warm day wind chill can cool you quite quickly. Both the Rotor Vest and Smock are made from the windproof PointZero fabric which is excellent and walking from Parlick to Fair Snape Fell and back along the ridge line I can certainly thank the OMM's designers choice in using a wind proof fabric. With no wind getting through to cool my core whilst I was on Blackstone Edge, I was totally comfortable and able to enjoy the peace that you get when away from the city.
Salford Canoe Club
I am sure that when OMM's boffins sit round and design products they are thinking about active people running up and down hills like mountain goats, rather than nesh Gareth's who do not like the cold but want to paddle around the Salford Docks, or for those of you in this technology age paddle around Media City Manchester (by the way it is not Manchester it is Salford!) So for my first outdoor kayak session this year with light rain, I decided to put my Rotor Vest over my hired and damp wetsuit and underneath my light waterproof and flotation device, the result? A fantastically comfortable and warm core, despite the Rotor being damp as you would expect from the wet suit and sweat.
Rotors Hit or Miss For OMM?
I am not going to make any claims that I cannot substantiate, I do not know how well the Rotor Smock and Vest would cope in a race situation, I assume being created by the OMM they would do the job as all their kit does. However, I will say that for light insulation as I use my Rotor Vest, around camp, on shorts walks or as a layer to throw on in your sleeping bag they are in my opinion an excellent choice.
I believe that OMM's Rotor Garments have three main selling points,
- Weighing in at 135g (vest) and 260g (smock) and packing down to a really small size. OMM really achieve the aim, the Rotor's are ideal for just putting in your pack.
2. Primaloft Gold Insulation
- The Rotor's are designed to keep you comfortable and work when you are, so this high quality insulation that has a high warmth to weight ratio allows OMM to give a level of comfort with putting the weight up, add to this is that Primaloft Gold works when wet.
3. PointZero fabric
- A windproof fabric helps to insulate by stopping the wind from cooling you down, which means that OMM use less insulation saving weight and packsize.
Hit or Miss? definitely a hit, especially at the price.