If I were an adventure traveler looking for a lightweight hardshell jacket, I would not want to pass over the Montane Minimus Smock. Weighing just 5 ounces and packing to the size of an orange, the Minimus Smock fits the bill of any ultra-light traveler or hiker.
This jacket will protect you from the elements with style, although durability and features are sacrificed to save weight. Here’s how it weights up:
- Extremely lightweight (5 oz)
- Packable to the size of an orange
- Waterproof and breathable
- Smooth waterproof zippers
- Roomy main pocket
- Comfortable well-fitting hood
- Includes stuff sack
The Minimus smock uses the Pertex Shield + waterproofing technology which is both waterproof and breathable. For those who aren’t familiar with Pertex, it’s pretty much like Gore-Tex. I’ve stood out in the rain and wind several times with this jacket and can confirm that it is completely waterproof and windproof.
The standout feature of this jacket is its weight and packability. Weighing at only 5 ounces (according to my kitchen scale) this will appeal to your inner minimalist. When not in use you can easily stuff the jacket into the included mesh pouch, barely taking up space in your backpack. As a comparison, this jacket weighs about as much as an iPhone 6.
The included mesh pouch is lightweight and convenient, however it might be even easier if the Minimus Smock could be packed into it’s own pocket.
With the single main pocket I find myself often putting my hands at my sides just to find that there are no hand warmer pockets, instead one large main pocket. The pocket is meant to accommodate large maps and also for ventilation. Although it’s a roomy pocket, I find its unorthodox positioning to be awkward at times since I’m more accustomed to side hand warmer pockets, like those on the First Ascent MicroTherm down hoodie.
When running with the Minimus Smock on, I have noticed that the jacket is breathable, not as much as a softshell, but impressive for a hardshell. In addition, middle pocket does a good job at letting warm air and moisture out when doing high-output activities.
From wearing the jacket, you can tell that a lot of attention to detail was put into the design. One aspect I’ve noticed about main pocket is when it is open, the top zipper edge hangs over the bottom zipper edge the same way a plastic window deflector would prevent rain from getting into a car when the window is slightly open. Therefore, if rain rolled down the jacket, it would not roll into the pocket if it were open. The cuffs are stretch bound and the hood is well fitted.
This jacket has an athletic fit meaning you may want to size up if you prefer something roomier. I’m quite skinny (5’8”, 135 lbs), so the montane jacket fits well for me in the chest and arm areas, however I’d prefer if the jacket was a bit longer on the torso area. There is enough room in the jacket for me to wear a baselayer and light insulating layer under the Minimus Smock.
- Somewhat fragile
Towards the end of my routine 3 mile run, this time with my Minimus Smock on, I happened to brush past a thorn bush, cutting my hand and poking a tiny hole in my jacket. Pretty disappointing since I had just received the jacket that afternoon. Thankfully I was fine and the hole in the jacket didn’t get any larger, however that experience showed me to be a bit more careful when wearing the Minimus Smock.
Since it is so lightweight, the jacket is paper thin making it prone to damage. It is made of 15 and 40 denier rip stop material.
The jacket’s hole didn’t get any larger, or begin to tear thanks to the rip stop material, but after that experience on my first day with the jacket, I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing it in situations where I know thorns and other abrasives will rub against the jacket.
Frills are at a minimum with this jacket to make it as lightweight as possible. The cuffs aren’t adjustable, the hood isn’t adjustable, the jacket has a half length front zip and everything is cut down to make this jacket streamlined.
If you’re looking for something super lightweight, perfect, the Minimus Smock is for you, but if you’re looking for a few more features, you may want to try the Minimus Jacket which weighs 8 ounces and has a full length zipper and other features.
In spite of slight concerns with durability, the Minimus Smock is ideal for hikers and adventure travelers looking for an ultra-lightweight waterproof hard shell jacket. Just remember not to go crazy around thorn bushes with this jackets on (or in general). At around $200, the jacket is reasonably priced according to similar waterproof jackets, although it may be a bit pricey if you aren’t planning on using it often.
I’ve seen that the jacket is on sale at Backcountry.com for $140, so that’s definitely a steal for a waterproof jacket of this weight.
Where to get it:
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The Montane Minimus Smock Jacket was provided for this review. As always, this Montane Minimus Smock Jacket Review contains only my honest views and opinions.