First Look at the Montane Minimus Smock

P1010225While hiking approximately 3 hours in pretty steady rain on a previous hike, I learned a few things about my silnylon rain jacket. While it is great as far as weight is concerned, and even despite the most excellent fit, I am afraid that the silnylon rain jacket may not be for me. There are 2 things that really got my head to spinning while hiking that day… 

  1. I wanted a jacket that was sealed at the seams, &…
  2. I wanted a jacket that was not so clingy when wet.

Now first off let me say that I am not necessarily complaining about the silnylon jacket I have. I bought the jacket with the knowledge that silnylon becomes clingy when wet, as well as the fact that it comes with the seams not sealed. I also made the decision not to seal the seams before actually using it. I am just saying that for me, I am not sure if it is what I want…

So, I decided to go on the hunt again. At the moment, I now have 5 “hard shells” in my closet (not counting the DriDucks, or my Poncho Tarp). I like them all for one reason or another, however, none of them seem to quite fill all of my needs, so I keep searching for one that does.  While researching different shells, I kept in mind 3 things:

  1. I want one that is seam sealed/taped.
  2. I want one that is a little stiff so that it wouldn’t become so clingy when wet.
  3. I wanted one that was light weight.

I really liked the idea of using an eVENT shell, however, 2 things kept me from eVENT:

  1. Weight
  2. Price

In that order.

While reading on multiple sites, 2 brands that stuck out to me was Rab & Montane. I actually considered both the eVENT, as well as Pertex Shield, models that was offered by both companies, but in the end, I ended up focusing on the Pertex Shield models (due to, as I said: weight & price). But, when it came time to actually lay down the $$, I decided to go with Montane.

To be more specific, I opted for the Montane Minimus Smock. A few reasons that I decided to go with this specific model is:

  • I have previous experience with Pertex Shield (my GoLite Tumalo) and find that it is acceptable for me. IME, I found the material to be stiff enough not to be cling-y when wet. As far as breathability, it has been ok, however, given my previous needs for/use with rain shells, this is something that I don’t really worry about too much (at this point).
  • The seams were taped.
  • I liked the idea of the smock. IME with my other rain shells, if my zipper was unzipped more than half way, then the shell was coming off anyway. However, I also realize some of the less than ideal situations that may occur while using a smock (such as removing it while inside a short/small shelter). Regardless, I am looking forward to trying this style of rain shell.
  • Due to the fact that this is a smock and only features a half zip, this creates the opportunity for the kangaroo pocket. I have never used this type of pocket on a jacket while hiking, however, after using my ZPacks Multipack for the last 18 months, I enjoy having a large center pocket on the front of me. At this point, I feel like this pocket has lots of potential.
  • The weight (or lack thereof…)
  • I have read some good things about Montane in general, and even more specifically, Brian Green had some great things to say about the Montane Minimus Jacket. (I do understand that there are a few differences between the jacket & the smock though.)

I will admit, I was a bit worried about fit, and TBH, this is what pointed me towards the Montane just a bit more than the Rab. Maybe it was just that I found more to read about the Rab jackets, but I noticed a lot of people commented on how athletic cut the Rab line is. I did read this some about the Montane products too, but it didn’t seem to be such a constant subject in all of the reading I did…

So, I ordered the Montane Minimus Smock…

The Minimus arrived at my doorstep today, and boy, was I excited!

Initially, all-in-all, the Minimus looks promising. There are no flaws that I can find while looking over the smock. All the stitching appears to be straight, and the tape on the inside is aligned over the seams as expected. The YKK Aqua Guard zippers all work well. Simply put: It looks good!

The Pertex Shield actually feels just a little thinner than that on my GoLite Tumalo, however, the Minimus actually uses “Pertex Shield+,” whereas my Tumalo is simply “Pertex Shield.” So, I can only assume that the Minimus is using an updated version of Pertex Shield. Although, as to whether or not it will keep me dry (from the elements) is yet to be seen, however, the overall quality of the Minimus (as well as my previous use with Pertex Shield) leaves me with a good feeling… but of course, only use will tell.

As far as fit is concerned, this is definitely an “athletic cut” piece (which is how it is described). I understand that sizing is not straight across the boards, but in general, a large jacket usually fits me as it probably should, while an XL gives me a little breathing room (or room to layer under). When researching these jackets, I understood that the Montane jackets were indeed “athletic cut,” so I opted to size up to the XL… and boy am I glad I did! The XL fits me as snug as I would expect a large too, if not just a bit more so. (To be honest, this is the first XL jacket that I have ever tried on that was this snug… even compared to my Mont-bell jackets).

Test Test1I have tried on the Minimus with my Patagonia R1 layered beneath it, and that is almost to the point of pushing it, so no way will I get my Mont-bell UL Down Inner Parka under this. Considering this, If I ever carried the Minimus on a cold weather hike, I would have to be content with the fact that I could not wear my hard shell over my puffy. This may be ok considering I never hike in my puffy, however, at camp I may need it layered over the puffy. So, with this in mind, I may be reverting back to my GoLite Tumalo, or even my DriDucks jacket on cold weather hikes.

As far as weight is concerned, I am pretty happy with this. Montane states that the size medium weighs 5 oz, and I feel like this is pretty accurate. As I said, I have the size XL, and after setting mine on the scale, it came to 5.3 oz (without the stuff sack – with the stuff sack it comes in at 5.6 oz).

All-in-all, I think I am going to be pretty happy with the jacket. I am confident in its ability to be waterproof (although, I could be wrong), as well as the fact that I feel like it won’t cling to me so much when it is raining. As well, I am pretty excited about the weight as this is only a 0.6 oz increase from my silnylon rain jacket I was carrying. I will admit, the fit is not as great as that of my silnylon rain jacket, but to be fair, the fit was stated for me to see.

Other than this, I find that the Lycra cuffs and bottom hem works quite well, but I am curious to see how they do over time (will they stretch out?). I am super excited about the kangaroo pocket on the front, the front zip is pretty deep, and the material feels ok next to my skin. The hood is ok, although, I gotta admit, I enjoy the fit of the hood on my silnylon rain jacket more than on the Minimus, but it is not as bad as others that I have tried. Plus, I will be wearing my OR Sun Runners cap beneath the Minimus, so this will be of some help.

So, I am looking forward to getting this rain jacket… err…. smock wet while on the trail sometime… Until then, thanks for stopping by!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: Look, I paid for the Montane Minimus Smock with my own money. I didn’t have to write about the Minimus, and I am not being compensated for writing/videoing about it in any way. It is what it is… my initial opinion after putting my own 2 hands on it.

 

 

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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15 Responses to First Look at the Montane Minimus Smock

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  3. Kirby says:

    Luke’s is making Jackets out of Pertex Shield. Just received mine, excellent build quality, generous cut and only 117g for a medium with taped seams.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      He actually makes them out of a few different materials. I have even seen one that he made from 7D… was pretty sweet, and super light! I agree too about his craftsmanship, Luke does a superb job on his items.

      Thanks for sharing.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. What did you end up doing with the smock. I know when we last spoke you were thinking of returning it. What’s the deal? I told you that my Montane Minimus rain “jacket” was also small and I needed a large despite being a medium in all other tops I wear.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Brian,

      I actually noticed that Backcountry.com finally has 1 XXL smock back in stock (which is a bit odd… how did they end up getting 1 of them in, and in a size XXL at that?)

      Anyway, I clicked the “Chat Now” button and spoke with a rep about sending mine back to swap for the XXL they have in stock, however, since it has been more than 30 days since I purchased it, I would have to pay an extra $60 now to exchange it since it is no longer at the sale price. TBH, I am not really sure why this is necessary since this would be an exchange, but it is obviously the rules…

      So, I have decided to just keep the XL. As I mentioned, it does fit me, just a bit more form fitting than I am used to. So, I will just hang onto it. I do like the smock, and am not sure what else I would like to exchange it for at this point. (Also, I could drop a few pounds and this one would fit me better too…)

      So are you still going to use yours?

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Nomad says:

    Thanks for the review, man! Seems like you can stuff the down parka into That big Kangaroo Pocket and have a really nice pillow too 😀

    Like

  6. Fozzie says:

    I’m sold on the whole poncho thing. Keeps me dry, my pack dry, use it as a groundsheet in the Hexamid, no need for jacket or trousers (pants), separate groundsheet and pack liner. All that weight and space saved. It genius.
    However, Montane are a dam fine brand.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Fozzie,

      I have the GoLite Poncho Tarp, but haven’t really used it much. I am more of a jacket kinda person I think… but I am not completely ruling the poncho’s out. Also, I have thought about the Packa’s (especially in cuben!)…

      As far as Montane, it does look like a nice piece and am looking forward to using it…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. dcbortz says:

    My OR Helium II is made from Shield+, and I like that fabric quite a bit. It’s light, but still sturdy. Works pretty well for me!

    Like

  8. Ian says:

    Disappointing to hear that I’ll never fit into one but enjoy!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ian,

      I am tempted to try an XXL, but I don’t really want to go through shelling out more $$ and then having to do the return and what not…

      Anyway, for a point of reference, when relaxed, my measurements under my arm pits is 45″ (in circumference) and over my shoulders is 52″.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. Woot, thanks for reviewing this!

    An X-Large and you cannot get a puffy underneath it, and you are fairly fit and trim these days… so, in other words, those of us with a bigger body size are pretty much screwed come winter time. Good to know.

    Good write up.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      A puffy would get squished along the back of my shoulders and under my arms, so it wouldn’t be any good. I think that if I went with the XXL it would be ok, but of course I can’t say for sure.

      And I wouldn’t say I was “trim”… but I am working on it… slowly… 🙂

      Anyway, I am looking forward to using it some and seeing how it works out.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      ~Stick~

      Like

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