A lightweight, high performing waterproof jacket is a must for any trail runner. You don’t have to be a serious runner to get good use out of an item like this. Having a packable jacket you can carry could be the difference between finishing and quitting a race and also a key health/safety item. Imagine being caught in a mountain during a torrential downpour, best case scenario is that you’re not going to be well after that!
Enter the Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on. I presume the name stems from its minimal weight, certainly not from its performance…
Just like the Allez Micro and Spider Hoodies, the fit is athletic and “close fitting”. It creates enough space to wear over other layers (I’ve had 3 different layers at one point, including the Fireball Verso!), but it doesn’t feel oversized when used purely to protect from the elements. I presume that is where the ‘Stretch’ comes from!
There is an easily adjusted hood which comes with a “roll over chinguard lined with brushed fine microfleece for comfort next to the mouth and chin“. In other words, the jacket fits over your jimmy hill chin comfortably. Two bungee whatsitts can be tightened to adjust the hood.
The arms are long and fitting and don’t ride up as your stretch. Think this is called articulated. The elasticated cuffs and hems are flexible and easily stretch over glover=s and make watertight seals.
Basically I’m trying to say it is a good fit!
I’ve predominantly worn this running in the Alps. Most of the time that meant I was ‘carrying’ the jacket. Weighing just 154g though, I’m not sure ‘carrying’ is the right word for it! When the clouds turned and the rain fell, the jacket was put to the test…
The jacket is made from a super breathable and stretchy 20 Denier PERTEX® SHIELD 2.5 waterproof fabric. More terminology I can’t process, but I can confirm that it is waterproof! Hours after the rain stopped and I removed the jacket, I was still dry (and warm). This is a testament not only to the waterpoof nature of the jacket, but its breathability. If I overheated I’d be very uncomfortable and also wet from sweat. I wasn’t. I was able to run for those hours on end without the discomfort I’ve experienced from other waterproof jackets! It was/is incredibly breathable.
Secondly, the water is repelled by the jacket. What do I mean, well, I was fascinated watching water droplets bounce off the material. Almost mesmerisingly so. they didn’t stick and run down onto my lower body. They bounced off like two inflatable sumo-wrestlers colliding at high speed. Pow! good by water. There should be a warning of the slight risk of injury here if you are too distracted by this phenomenon that you are not watching where you are going!
The zips on the jacket were easy to use (standard expectation right?) and allow extra breathability through the two-way operation (i.e. you can zip it all the way up to cover your chin, and then zip the bottom zip up a little without risking water ingress).
I’m a big big fan of the pull-on nature of this type also. When you get caught in a cold and wet environment, speed is essential. the last thing you want is to be fathing about trying to connect a zip with cold, numb fingers!
The jacket also has a useful chest pocket (fits a phone easily) and some tidy ‘VIA Trail Series’ reflective logo detailing and hang loop. When not being used, it packs into its own chest pocket for easy storage – the zip on the pocket is two way. Nice!
What I like
- The fit – nothing worse than a baggy fitting jacket!
- The functional spec – It repels water and is spec’d to a very high standard (this meets the mandatory requirements of extreme races like the UTMB!)
- It is super lightweight – I carry heavier chocolate bars when I go running!
- That it stuffs into own pocket for storage.
What I Dislike
- Probably that, like any waterproof jacket of this quality, it scares me. It feels fragile and I don’t want to break it somehow! To create something so light and breathable means it is high spec but comes with a delicate feel.
- It does “rustle” – that sound of the waterproof material flapping against itself. When the hood is up, it feels a little noisy. But that again is like most jackets and a small price to pay for being kept warm and dry!
I was recommended this item with the sentence “It’s the tits!”. It lives up to that recommendation. I’ve no doubt in my mind that this isn’t a nice-to-have item. At some point this is going to be a lifesaver if I continue to run in such locations as the Alps!