Phoenix (a.k.a. The Valley of the Sun) is known for having 300+ days of sunshine a year. But believe it or not it actually does rain here, especially during our summer monsoons in July and August, and also in the winter, seemingly always during Phoenix Open week at the end of January (they moved the date of the tournament next year to February most likely for this reason. No, not really.). So having a quality rain suit to stay dry on the course comes in handy, even here in Phoenix.
Nike Golf has recently come out with its 2010 Outerwear Collection and I recently tested the Storm-Fit Elite Full-Zip Jacket and Storm-Fit Elite Pants for this review. Below I’m reviewing this rain suit in two parts — PART 1: STYLE speaks to the fit, feel and features of the jacket and pants. PART 2: PERFORMANCE features the results of my field test of the rain suit on the course. I summarize my findings and opinions of the product in the last paragraph.
PART 1: STYLE
When I unpacked the jacket and pants, my initial impression was that this was definitely not a typical rain suit. The fabric is more like that used in athletic apparel — it features breathable laminate technology and a four-way stretch material (per Nike Golf’s press release) that gives the jacket and pants their sporty quality. Immediately you can see the unique style, cutting edge design and attention to detail that Nike is known for.
The all-black material with contrasting piping on the sides of the pant legs and jacket sleeves and body gives the rain suit a sharp look. There is a design (a ‘rubberized’ grid pattern) imprinted on the upper torso of the jacket that’s adds to the up-to-date style. The cut of both the jacket and pants is athletic, but not tight, giving the suit a slim overall profile.
My jacket and pants size for this rain suit is XL, and I was really happy with how true the sizing was. The jacket fit as I would expect (hope in most cases), with room for a sweater in winter but not too loose with just a golf shirt in summer. The XL pants have a sizing of 38/32, luckily for me my exact pants size. The pants feature a snap hem at bottom (nice, see ‘Features’ below) that allows for adjustability of the pant leg length — for me I snapped the hem up and it’s perfect for a 32” inseam, unsnapped It would fit a 34”-36” inseam. The pants were not loose and not tight, and the stretch material adds to the comfort of the sizing, as there’s “give” in the material. The neck, when zipped to the top, was not tight, but fit snug enough to keep the rain out. Of course fit will vary among different people, but I was really happy with how the suit fit overall, without being either bulky or too tight or restrictive.
Features and Details
This where this rain suit separates itself from other rain suits I’ve seen. Among the performance details Nike has incorporated are the fully sealed seams (see photos below) featuring “no-sew technology” (again from press release), and fully sealed zippers and zipper housings that contain the zipper pulls when they’re closed. The pants have a snap and a zipper at the front (not the norm for all rain pants) making them easier to put on, elastic at the back of the waist and a drawstring cord for adjustability. The pant legs have extra long 14” zippers at the bottom for easy shoe access, and as mentioned above a snap hem at the bottom of the pants legs makes for flexible sizing. The pants have an articulated knee that helps with mobility, like when squatting down (as you would when marking and replacing your ball on the green). The jacket zipper is protected top to bottom with a flap that keeps the rain from the zipper, and the zipper is fully sealed for double protection. Laser cut Velcro tabs at the bottom of the jacket sleeves and pant legs allow for adjustment of the sleeve and pant leg openings.
Smaller details did not go unnoticed – the jacket has a cord at the bottom to adjust at the waist, and the cord is held in place by a small elastic tab so it doesn’t hang out of the bottom of the jacket. The zipper pulls on the pants have nylon tabs with small rubber dots (and swoosh) to make it easier to grasp the tab when it’s wet. And the pulls on the jacket have a red line under the Nike swoosh reminiscent of their new VR line. All of these details speak to how thorough the Nike Golf designers are when designing their apparel.
PART 2: PERFORMANCE (ON-COURSE FIELD TEST 12.7.09)
My prayers for rain were finally answered on December 7th, when a strong winter storm blew through the Valley of the Sun. The storm brought an all-day soaking rain to Phoenix, and the opportunity for me to finally test the Nike Storm-Fit Elite jacket and pants out on the course. I headed to my local course Stonecreek Golf Club where GM Kevin Weber allowed me out on the course for the test, which was closed at the time due to the adverse conditions (not to mention the flooded creek that runs throughout the course). If you are ever in the Phoenix area, check out Stonecreek and play a round if you can – it’s a fun, interesting and challenging layout that’s guaranteed to please. And make sure to tell Kevin I sent you.
I had planned on walking the course to give the outerwear the maximum test, so I headed to the first tee in a moderate, steady rain, keeping my umbrella in the bag. A couple of practice swings and a smooth drive down the middle of the first fairway and I was on my way. Most of what I’ll write from here on about the on-course field test reiterates the results of the mock field test, so see Part 3 below for the specific details as I won’t repeat them here.
I can’t say enough about how comfortable this rain suit is. The best way to say it is I really didn’t notice that I was wearing a rain suit — there’s no nylon swish-swish sound and the material flexed with me when I was walking and swinging the club. I felt confident in the waterproof material and didn’t give it an extra thought. The jacket is plenty long and completely covers the top of the pants, even with my arms fully extended over my head when stretching before the round, or fully extended during my swing. The jacket collar was comfortable zipped all the way to the top, and no aspect of the jacket or pants were distracting in any way while I was playing (not so with other rain suits I’ve used in the past).
The zippers were easy to use and conveniently placed — I mostly used the side jacket pockets to store my balls tees, etc. during the round, and when I got back to my car the pants pockets were easy to navigate through to my pocket underneath to get my car keys. And when I took the jacket and pants off at the car, there were no wet spots and no leakage — my clothes were 100% dry.
I’d go so far as to say this rain suit was a pleasure to wear, and I look forward to our next rainy day so I can have the course to myself again. Although being Phoenix, that might be a while.
PART 3: PERFORMANCE (MOCK FIELD TEST 10.20.09)*
* It hasn’t actually rained here in Phoenix since I’ve had this rain suit, and there’s no rain in sight for the foreseeable future. So I had to get creative for the purposes of the field test portion of the review — I had to make my own “rain” (a.k.a. shower and sprinklers — strange I know, but effective for testing, see photos below) for an initial “mock” field test. I’ll be updating this review with an “official” field test when it actually does rain here in Phoenix and I can test the jacket and pants on the course.
Ease of Use
I simulated how I would put on this rain suit on the course if it started raining mid-round – over my shoes and standing up. The wide leg openings and stretch material made it easy to get the pant legs over my shoes. A quick zip of the leg openings and the pants were on in under a minute. The jacket is a simple slip on and go.
I took about 100 practice swings in the back yard, both in the “rain” and out, and the rain suit did not disappoint. I could really notice how the 4-way stretch material allows the rain suit move with you, not just by sliding over your clothes but by flexing and stretching. Neither jacket nor pants were binding at all during the swing, and the suit was perfectly comfortable when bending or squatting down. The best way I can describe it is I didn’t notice I was wearing a rain suit when I was swinging the club.
The Storm-Fit Elite jacket and pants come with a 100% waterproof guarantee, and I won’t need to refer to that any time soon. Right away it’s apparent how water immediately beads up and runs off the special laminate material (see photos below). I gave all zippers a good direct dousing (with the shower head, again see photos), and not a drop made it through to the inside. Sprinkler spray from top and sides was repelled over a 20-minute test. The rain suit performed as advertised in my mock field test — I’ll do another test on the course when it actually rains and can test over a typical 4-hour round, but I don’t expect the results to be any different than they were here.
When I tested the jacket and pants it was a balmy 93 degrees outside, and I noticed how I wasn’t getting overheated during the test. I have two other rain suits (a.k.a. sweat suits) that feel like a sauna when I wear them. Thanks again to the “breathable laminate technology”, I didn’t end up getting soaked from the inside out like I do with my other rain suits. This rain suit breathes very well and kept me cool in the heat.
You know that annoying nylon “zip-zip-zip” sound you get when you walk, swing, even move in a standard rain suit? I didn’t get any of that with the Storm-Fit Elite jacket and pants. It’s not completely silent when you swing or move, but the sound is very minor, much less than I hear with my other rain suits. It’s what you would hear if you were wearing a microfiber jacket (and pants), and the sound goes pretty much unnoticed unless you are listening for it.
The bottom line on the Storm-Fit Elite jacket and pants is they make the best rain suit combination I’ve ever tried by far. The real standout is the 4-way stretch material that does not restrict the athletic moves in the golf swing. Its extensive features and modern design make the suit easy to use and stylish to wear. This rain suit will be on my body the next time we have wet weather here in Phoenix — and I’d go so far to say that it actually has me hoping for rain for a round of golf in the near future.
Editor’s note: The product reviewed above was supplied by the manufacturer to the reviewer/author free of charge for reviewing purposes only. The reviewer/author was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.