The Cimalp Blizzard is a running jacket specifically designed for use in cold conditions.
Although not widely known in the UK, the French company Cimalp have been producing specialist outdoor clothing for over 50 years. With the weather taking a turn for the worse in recent days it seems like a good time to review their Blizzard jacket.
Our winters tend to be mild and wet and for most of my runs I’ll wear a long sleeved base layer plus a waterproof jacket if needed. However, occasionally we get very cold days where staying warm is more important than staying dry. What to wear on days like these? When the Arctic wind blows, a thin waterproof or windproof jacket might not offer enough insulation and a more substantial jacket is needed. The Blizzard fits that bill.
The Blizzard is a mid-weight jacket; my size S men’s weighed 404g. Don’t confuse it with a thin, ultra lightweight windproof that packs down to the size of an apple, that isn’t its purpose. The CIMAFLEX material is slightly stretchy and has a warm, fleecy feel on the inside with a smoother finish on the outside. The shoulders and upper back have panels of more durable Cordura offering protection from abrasion when wearing a rucksack or race vest. It has a full length zip and there is a reasonably sized zipped, outer chest pocket that will take a folded A4 map, compass, car keys etc. Thumb loops allow the sleeves to be held snugly in place and a high collar helps keep your neck warm. The collar also houses a hood which can be zipped away if you prefer. Reflective details front and back allow you to be seen when illuminated by headlights or head torches. The jacket is wind resistant and breathable and performed well at wicking away perspiration when I was working hard (slogging uphill in deep snow!) My version is blue with black trim, it is also available in red / black.
I’ve worn the Blizzard for several winter runs in very cold conditions. I’ve found it to be comfortable; my size small is quite a snug fit with the stretchy material providing sufficient give so as not to feel restrictive. It really does offer some thermal protection from the biting wind and I like how the high neck keeps the cold out. The CIMAFLEX material repels water and I noticed that snowflakes simply brushed off rather than melting and soaking in although you would still need to wear a waterproof shell in heavy rain. As well as being a good jacket for cold, winter runs the Blizzard would also be a good choice year round when you need a bit more insulation, for example on overnight Bob Graham support where you might not be moving fast enough to stay warm. It would be fine to use for hill walking and its stretchy nature would make it a good choice for climbers too. It also looks good, i.e. not like a running jacket, and I’ve worn it just as a casual jacket.
The thing I least like about the Blizzard jacket is the hood; it just doesn’t fit. I’ve only got a small head and yet the hood only covers three quarters of it! Whilst the rest of the jacket is a snug fit the hood is loose. If you face into the wind it blows down straight away!
The Cimalp Blizzard jacket has some good features and it offers much more protection from the elements than a lightweight windproof jacket. It is great for cold and windy conditions where it is best used as a top that you know you are going to keep wearing for the duration of your run, rather than putting on and taking off as needed. I really like it – apart from the hood which is useless!
Warm, slight stretch ensures comfortable movement, reasonably priced.
Poorly designed hood.
404g (men’s size Small on my scales)
Full details can be found on the Cimalp website.