A couple of months ago Montbell sent us some really exciting gear to test in rain and moist conditions. However, many of our team live in the High Desert of Utah and found conditions less then favorable for testing. We even got so desperate we took the Tachyon jacket to the supermarket to see how it would work in the produce isles. Pretty impressive first impressions.
All joking aside, after much delayed testing, we were pumped to finally get some real field testing in the gear.
The Montbell Tachyon jacket is an excellent addition to the minimalist runner’s repertoire. The jacket packs down into a tiny 2″x3″ built-in pocket that tosses into even the lightest hydration vest or waist pack. At only 1.4 oz this is one of the lightest jackets on the market. The jacket shields well for light wind and rain without being too stuffy. It fits well and runs true-to-size. The only drawbacks are that it’s difficult to pack all the way back into the pocket on the fly, and because it does pack down so small, it’s easy to lose it in piles of gear, in the car, or falling out of your pack without you noticing if it’s not well-secured. Overall a really clever and minimal piece to add to your line of lightweight gear. A piece we will keep in our arsenal for sure.
The Convertible Rain Jacket and Pants by MontBell stay true to their slogan of “Light and Fast Outdoor Clothing and Equipment”. Weighing in at 6.1 oz for the Pants and 9.0 oz for the Jacket, and each stuffing into a 3”x3” pouch, they both offer hard shell rain protection while not taking much more room than a lightweight stash jacket. In addition they feature zip off arms and legs for those days when it’s too warm or you are moving too fast for full coverage, but it’s still important to keep the core dry.
I wore the jacket and pants while in torrential rain and sleet in pre-dawn hours, while chasing elk through thick underbrush (the rip-stop nylon is a little too noisy to effectively get close J), and while on tempo runs (with the arms and legs unzipped) in moderate precipitation. The DRYTEC Ballistic Airlight Ripstop nylon kept me dry, I was able to move at a quick pace without overheating, and the material breathed extremely well. I have found my go-to rain gear for everything from multi-day back-packing trips to walking the dog. Great stuff!!
Price: $99 (Pants) & $179 (Jacket)
Rating: Pants- 5 Jacket- 5
This Montbell Wickron Stretch Trail Skirt Women’s piece was difficult to use in its intended context. As a lifestyle piece it works very well, but as a running skirt, the fit and function make it difficult to love. Because there is no built-in brief or short, there’s nothing keeping the skirt from riding up. Starting with the skirt on the hips, after about a 1/4 mile, the skirt’s waistband was riding up around ribcage level, even with shorts underneath. The fabric has a nice stretch, but the fit is a little too form-fitting for an activity like running and likely contributes to the way it rides up. As a running skirt, it’s difficult to recommend, although there likely are body types that could successfully run in it. As a lifestyle piece, however, it shines. The rating reflects the skirt as a running piece. As a lifestyle piece it is great!
The Thermawrap Trail Skirt is a well designed and quality skirt. The skirt is well made and the materials are very nice. Additionally, the Thermawrap is a relatively entry-level thermal skirt compared to other brands. The waistband is very minimal, which in this case is actually a disadvantage. The skirt stays in place well, but if the waistband is against skin, it causes chafing after about 5 miles. It did protect well from wind and cold, and the diagonal zipper pocket on the front was pretty conveniently placed. Overall, it’s a good option for cold weather running.
The Montbell Cross Runner Pouch waist pack initially seems like a good idea, but as a running piece, it proved to be difficult to use. The pack has only one pocket, which did fit a phone the size of an iPhone 6, but only barely. It wouldn’t fit with any sort of case on it. The pack is one-size but the waistband doesn’t stretch so it’s difficult to get it to stay down around the hips. The way the waistband adjusts, it only goes down to about 29 inches, so it couldn’t be tightened around a natural waist any smaller than that to get it to stay still while running. This piece would work well as a minimal wallet for cards, cash, or keys while hiking or traveling, but as a running piece it needs improvement to compete with other products on the market. At this price point, one doesn’t have much to complain about though.