Montane Minimus Smock Review

Last updated: 17-Aug-18

By Luke Jarmey

British brand Montane, are well respected for their garments designed around the ‘fast and light’ philosophy. Offering up quite the array of waterproof jackets, we actually opted to test one of their mid-range options. The classic, but still superlight and waterproof, Minimus Smock. We were interested to see if a design that’s a few years old now, can still stand up to latest, though more expensive, goodies out there.

Waterproof, superlight, breathable and reasonably priced… hmmm that’s some hard criteria to pull off. But what better place to put this all to the test, than the harsh but beautiful environment of New Zealand.

Features

  • PERTEX® Shield + provides exceptionally high fabric breathability at 20,000 MVTR with a 20,000mm hydrostatic head
  • Micro-taped seams throughout increase breathable surface area
  • Articulated arms
  • Tiny pack size
  • Pre-elasticated snug fit hood 
  • Front map-sized bib pocket
  • Stretch bound cuffs
  • Stretch bound hem
  • Reflective details
  • ½ length YKK AquaGuard® front zip with internal storm flap
  • Weight: 151g

RUNULTRA_Montane-Minimus-Smock

Photo credit: Montane.co.uk

Pros: What’s good about the Montane Minimus Smock?

Well first off, what struck me the most, was the sheer packability of the jacket when compressed into its stuff sack. Whilst ‘the size of an apple’ may be a tad far-fetched, I’d comfortably describe it as the size of a large sweet potato. This combined with a feather weight of 151g, really makes it easy to just lob in your hydration pack and forget all about it.

Though extremely light, the outside of the fabric has got a relatively tough feel to it. Certainly more so than some other jackets I’ve tested in its class. Whether the material is actually tougher though, I don’t know. I wasn’t precious at all with it whilst running in the mountains and never experienced a nick or a tear. 

I’m a big fan of smock style jackets, especially in this superlight weight class. A smock style, cuts down on weight but also complexity. Light weight full length zippers are often fiddly and unlike a smock, if they break, the jacket is completely open. As the main purpose of these jackets, is to sit in your pack till you need them. I feel that the slight compromise in versatility, is worth it for the aforementioned factors. Furthermore, it’s also great to have a big ol’ map size pocket on the front.

Waterproofness seemed solid. I think if you were running in it for a whole day in seriously torrential rain, you might start to seem some minor water ingress. But when pounding the miles for a few hours in heavy showers, I was only damp from sweat, not rain. This brings me to breathability. It’s certainly breathable, but I would start to sweat a fair bit after a while, when running hard in the rain. Therefore, I’d put it midway in the breathability spectrum in relation to other jackets. The caveat here being that these are often a lot more expensive or made from a heavier, more breathable membrane material (i.e Goretex Pro Shell or eVent).

RUNULTRA_Montane-Minimus-Smock

Cons: What’s not so good about the Montane Minimus Smock?

Fit is, of course, subjective, but maybe it could have been a bit longer. That said the articulation of the garment is still good, with a non-restrictive feel when running in it. For reference, I am 183cm and weigh 80kg and wore the size XL. I run a lot in very cold conditions, so I wanted something I could comfortably fit over layers. Otherwise, I would have gone for the size L.

Probably my biggest niggle is the elasticated hem, which has a tendency to ride up a bit when running. Perhaps it would have been worth the few extra grams to install an elasticated draw string, which could therefore be loosened to stop the ‘riding up’.

The hood is very basic, which doesn’t particularly bother me. But I have seen more sophisticated hoods on jackets of a similar weight.

Being a 2 layer not 3-layer jacket. There isn’t a fabric layer separating the sprayed on membrane from your skin. This obviously cuts down on weight, but does feel a bit slimy on your skin when you’re sweating hard.

However, all said and done, it is important to put most of this jacket’s cons into context. Yes, other jackets in the same weight class include more features, but they are quite a bit more expensive.

Conclusion

Overall I am impressed with the Minimus Smock. Weight wise it ticks the box at 151g. Looking at its general design and performance, it’s very solid, but not perfect. Most of the downsides aren’t really an issue, but the hem riding up did bother me. I can live with this, as the jacket is more of an emergency garment and spends most of its time in the pack.

When considering this offering, you’ve got to take the price into consideration. It is markedly cheaper than a lot of better performing jackets. And for that reason, I think the Minimus Smock is a good buy.

Score  
Design 7/10
Features 7/10
Performance 8/10
Value 10/10
Total 8/10


Other jackets you may want to consider:

Arc’teryx Norvan Jacket – £280
Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket – £220
Montane Minimus 777 Jacket – £200
Montane Minimus Jacket – £150
Rab Flashpoint Jacket – £220

All images Luke Jarmey except when stated. See more Luke Jarmey images here.

Have you used the Montane Minimus Smock? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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OUR RATING:
4/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"when pounding the miles for a few hours in heavy showers, I was only damp from sweat, not rain"

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