While 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…
- I wanted a jacket that was sealed at the seams, &…
- 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:
- I want one that is seam sealed/taped.
- I want one that is a little stiff so that it wouldn’t become so clingy when wet.
- I wanted one that was light weight.
I really liked the idea of using an eVENT shell, however, 2 things kept me from eVENT:
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).
I 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!
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.