Ultralight Rain Jacket
Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On
$280, 4.5 oz. (medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL
While any ultralight wind shell or rain jacket offers a lot of versatility, the Minimus 777 pushes the extreme low end in weight for waterproof-breathable outerwear, an appealing trait for hikers, trail runners, and climbers. And it demonstrated that versatility during the eight days I recently spent trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc: Whenever the wind started howling, or the sky began spitting rain, or we stopped for a break at a high pass, I reached for this sub-five-ounce shell. Here’s why.
Everything about the Minimus 777 Pull-On is engineered to minimize weight—certainly making it one of the lightest rain shells on the market. The Pertex Shield waterproof-breathable laminate fabric combines 7-denier nylon on the exterior with a 7-micron breathable membrane and 7-denier tricot fabric on the interior. Micro-taped seams keep water out without compromising breathability.
While Montane promotes it for running, a waterproof-breathable shell this packable and adequately durable also makes a good “just in case” choice for dayhikers and backpackers heading out with a good forecast; I carried it for just that reason on a mid-October overnight hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I found it fairly breathable, but not exceptional: In cool, strong winds on the Tour du Mont Blanc, I wore it hiking uphill at a moderate pace while carrying a 30-pound pack, without overheating. A friend sweated in it without it getting too damp inside during an 8.5-hour, 20-mile, 4,500-foot, mid-September trail run-hike and third-class peak scramble we did in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, in temps in the 40s Fahrenheit. Wearing it for an hour of aerobic Nordic skiing in heavily falling snow and temps in the mid-20s, I found the fabric repelled the snow well, but it did get clammy inside, and remained damp even after I wore it in my home for about 20 minutes afterward. Having a waterproof laminate makes it less breathable than ultralight wind shells that are only water-resistant, not waterproof.
The hip-length, athletic fit provides space for one or two midweight base layers underneath, and the articulated shoulders translate to zero hem lift when I raise my arms overhead. The deep, AquaGuard front zipper allows plenty of venting and repels water. As with most ultralight shells, the hood lacks any adjustability, but has stretch panels on the sides and back to maintain a snug fit around head even in wind, and the light brim juts out slightly to provide a little face protection.
The elasticized hem and cuffs keep out cool gusts, and I could easily push the sleeves up to my elbows. The Minimus 777 packs into its one zippered chest pocket, reducing to slightly larger than my fist; and the pocket is large enough for a phone or a light hat or pair of gloves. While its abrasion resistance compares with many ultralight shells—and the Minimus has a seam stitch count of 12 to 13, denser and stronger than is typical of similar jackets—this is nonetheless made with thin fabric, so exercise care in how much you abuse it.
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While it’s not the least-expensive or most breathable rain and wind shell you can find, it is the lightest I’ve tested and reviewed over the past several years. If you’re a hiker, climber, or trail runner counting grams, and looking for a four-season, ultralight shell that breathes well enough for moderate to cold temperatures, sheds a steady rain, and all but disappears inside a pack, the Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On will deliver years of use to justify its price.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking any of these links to purchase a Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On at backcountry.com, the men’s Minimus 777 Jacket at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com, or the women’s Minimum 777 Jacket at moosejaw.com.
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See all of my reviews of ultralight wind shells and ultralight rain jackets, trail-running apparel, climbing apparel, and hiking apparel that I like, and all of my outdoor apparel reviews at The Big Outside.
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.
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