Ellie Clewlow reviews the packable and lightweight Montane Women’s Minimus Jacket.
As is the case with many lightweight waterproofs, the Montane Women’s Minimus Jacket jacket uses a 2.5-layer construction. This means that the waterproof membrane – here, a PU-based Pertex Shield laminate – is bonded to a face fabric and finished on the inside with a textured ‘half layer’. This lifts the jacket slightly away from the skin. This reduces that clammy sensation you sometimes get with waterproof shells. The Minimus is noticeably more comfortable to wear than most such jackets, thanks to a dry touch backer that rarely feels cold or clingy.
Price: $239 / £175 (available from montane.com)
The outer fabric of the Montane Women’s Minimus Jacket is a 15-denier ripstop nylon face fabric. This is lighter but also thinner than many rival shells, which is a potential drawback in terms of long-term durability. This isn’t a jacket that is designed to take too much punishment in terms of resistance to abrasion, snags or tears.
On the other hand, the construction keeps weight to a minimum and also ensures the jacket is extremely light and packable. So, although it doesn’t offer quite the same comfort or durability as a 3-layer jacket, it is significantly cheaper. All in all, it offers a sensible compromise.
For such a minimalist design, the Minimus boasts some useful and very hill-friendly features too. These include dual hem drawcords, fully adjustable cuffs with Velcro tabs and a roomy zipped outer chest pocket. You also get a laminated, reverse coil main zip with a bottom press stud and a chin guard.
However, our favourite feature is the excellent hood. This is a design element that can make or break a waterproof jacket, but fortunately this one is top notch – as good as those found on many all-season shells. There is a three-way adjustment and a wired peak. This moves easily with the head and offers great protection from wind and rain, which is an impressive feat. It is large enough to fit over a climbing helmet if required, but also works well over a bare head or beanie.
In general, our testers find that Montane gear tends to suit slimmer builds, and this jacket is no exception. The overall cut of the jacket is trim, with a streamlined fit. It has a fairly short hemline, but a slight drop tail and good sleeve articulation. It’s a great design for dynamic, fast-paced activity.
The Montane Women’s Minimus Jacket is very packable and stuffs neatly into its own chest pocket. We think it works well as a ‘just in case’ hillwalking jacket, but also as emergency rain protection for ultralight backpackers, trail runners and climbers.