I did what I have always said I wouldn't do and that was to buy a mountain jacket with an exposed zip. My opposition to this design was mainly to do with the trouble I had with my leaking OMM Cypher smock zip. However my opinion has been swayed with the success i had with my smock used on this years TGO Challenge made by Brenig but now available from Aclimatise. Also, the OMM problem was caused by the absolutely stupid 2 way zip design on the smock which eventually allowed water to permeate.
Cost of the Montane Minimus Mountain Jacket is:-. RRP £160. I paid £112 from Webtogs. The carriage was free and the service excellent.
The material of the Montane jacket is Pertex shield+, a newish 2.5 layer fabric. 53gr/m sq. 15 denier plus 40 denier rip stop nylon with microporous coating and mesh pattern print to the inner.
Zips- Main, YKK aquagurd. 3 Pockets YKK reverse coil.
All the seams are micro taped. Supposedly to aid breathability.
Montane market this jacket in the following way.
- Ultra light weight mountain rain wear.
- Exceptional breathability statistics on par with a technical mountaineering shell. 25,000 mvtr and a 20,000 hydrostatic head.
- Essential rain wear for any mountaineering activity in warm weather where short sharp downpours are expected.
- Micro packability.
- Activities - Mountain walking, high trekking, backpacking and mountain marathons.
So having read all the above, how did it perform, you may well be asking?
The recent wet weather has given me the perfect opportunity to get to know it. And as with any product there are good and bad points.
I really like the style and cut. I chose a large size rather than my usual medium size because if it has been designed for racing snakes then it might not have fitted. I was correct the large was perfect for me.
The hood is very pleasing. Almost perfect. Almost as good as the OMM Cypher. Good adjustment at the back and the sides and has a wired peak. Easy to adjust on the go. It's also helmet compatible.
Jacket length, excellent, covers the bottom and with hem tensioners on both sides.
Sleeves are long enough to cover the hands so that the need for gloves can be delayed. The cuff is quite wide and velco closures work well.
Pockets, 1 chest pocket, not huge but good enough for a phone, gps, music player or keys etc. 2 midriff pockets and as I have already said above they are cavernous, well designed and don't interfere with my rucksack straps. Well done for this feature Montane.
On the outside of the shell at the back of the neck is a hanging loop as well as one on the inside. A number of reflective patches are located on the sleeves and body.
The fabric has been treated with a DWR coating.
So what is there not to like about this jacket from a well know and respected company like Montane.
The hood's wired peak is not great and is a little short in my opinion. It deflects quite easily.
Even worse the jacket leaks like a sieve. Disappointingly after only one and a half hours walking without a rucksack in light rain I felt water run down my back. I thought I was dreaming. It couldn't be leaking could it. I went home and when I took the jacket off my hair was wet through and water was running off my head and down my back. My shoulders were wet as were my sleeves. Checking the inside of the jacket it too was wet through. All the dark spotty patches on the inner (see image below), is where water came through the fabric and also which is not quite clear was the sweaty patches on the back, so breathability is questionable from my experience, considering my walk was far from being strenuous.
So looking back at the marketing blurb above and noting how many times the word "mountain" is referred to, I'm at a loss to see where Montane are coming from. If I had gone for a mountain walk today instead of a local walk I could have been in trouble.
Its such a shame because there is so much to like about the jacket but at the end of the day being dry is the most important feature required from a mountain jacket and this does not deliver what Montane say.
I have now sent it back for a refund.
During this test I also wore a pair of Outdoor Research Helium 2 over trousers which are also Pertex Shield + 2.5 layer. Not a drop of water came through the fabric.