Why We Chose It: Innovative materials, light weight, useful design details
Last year, long-running Japanese outdoor brand Montbell made it into our Outdoor 100 guide with the seriously impressive Alpine Thermo Bottle and also with their Seamless Down Hugger, which has become my go-to sleeping bag for three-season backpacking trips. This year, it’s this excellent 2-layer jacket that we’ve chosen to include, and it’s a might fine item.
Who Is The Montbell Rain Trekker For?
This jacket uses Gore-tex Infinium, a fabric that Gore market as being wind and water resistant but not totally waterproof. The thing is, Montbell say that their tests have shown that Infinium, when applied to this jacket’s system, brings a water resistance of 30,000mm – so that’s a pretty decent amount of protection. We used this as a waterproof layer on our trip to Snowdonia and can confirm that it protected us against the elements. Granted it’s not the kind of layer you’d want to rely on on top of a Munro in full winter conditions, but it’s perfect as something to keep the rain off on any summer backpacking trips.
At just 195g and offering 2-layer, breathable protection, this is the kind of jacket that’s really going to endear to any long distance hikers out there – as its name obviously suggests. It’s also got a kind of understated look that wouldn’t make this look out of place when worn in the city, as a jacket for commuting or walking to the pub in.
This is so light and stretchy that it’s quite hard to believe it can provide any protection against the elements at all – but it does. For anyone who has used Polartec NeoShell before, you’ll find it very similar. The hydrophilic layer on the skin side of the fabric is also designed to be moisture wicking, so it’ll ensure that any sweated moisture is lifted off the skin.
“This is the kind of waterproof jacket that’s really going to endear to any long distance hikers out there.”
At 20D, this jacket’s fabric isn’t the toughest out there, that’s for certain, but the stretchiness does give it a level of resistance against rough stuff. An unseen sharp branch could cause issues but it’ll be able to hold up against the straps of a heavy backpack.
The Montbell Rain Trekker’s hood features three adjustment points, with a back toggle, a velcro tab to pinch in the top and then tabs to adjust the fit around the face. There’s also a nice wired brim on the peak to keep the rain from your face. Always nice to have. When you don’t need the hood, it can be handily rolled up to leave you with just a collar.
On the pockets front, there’s just the two here, though they’re quite spacious – big enough for an OS map – and located so that they can be accessed when you’re wearing a climbing harness or a backpack with a hipbelt.