Tag Archives: Montane gear reviews

Review: Montane Ajax Jacket

March 20, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Montane Ajax Jacket

Montane Ajax Jacket

All-Season Shell Jacket
Montane Ajax Jacket
$380, 16 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: US men’s S-XXL, women’s 6-14

As the wind-driven snow came down heavily while a partner and I backcountry skied in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, I cinched the hood of my Montane Ajax Jacket closely over my head, looked around, and thought: “beautiful day.” We were skiing untracked, light powder, and despite wind chills around zero Fahrenheit or below hammering us for hours, I felt dry, warm, and almost completely sealed off from the inclement conditions in this all-season shell. If your usual mountain playgrounds often turn meteorologically unfriendly, the Ajax’s performance and price warrant a close look. Here’s why. Continue reading →

The 5 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking

November 24, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Pluma Jacket.

Wearing the Patagonia Pluma Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for dayhiking, backpacking, or climbing in the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging from under $100 to over $600, and from less than half a pound to over a pound—with just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. I’m going to make the choice easy for you.

I’ve tested dozens of rain shells while hiking through soaking rains all over the world over the past two decades, writing reviews for this blog and previously for Backpacker magazine; I’ve learned how to distinguish the mediocre from the excellent. Here are my picks for the five best rain jackets for backcountry adventures. Continue reading →

Review: Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On

August 22, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On.

Wearing the Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On while trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc.

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. Continue reading →

July 29, 2015 Dusky Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Ask Me: What’s the Most Breathable, Three-Season Rain Jacket?

In Ask Me, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments


I sweat profusely while hiking. I love winter and fall, but summer kills me. In your opinion, what is the most breathable, light rain shell out there? Money is no object, and I was hoping I could use it for three-season hiking, if possible.


Everett, MA Continue reading →

Review: Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

March 27, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

Rain Jacket
Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket
$399, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL

Not many corners of the globe receive more rain than southern New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, which sees anywhere from seven to 10 meters of precipitation annually—that’s anywhere from 275 to almost 400 inches of water falling from the sky, upwards of 10 times as much as received by famously gloomy Seattle. That makes it a pretty good place to test a rain jacket. The new Featherlite kept me dry and comfortable—sometimes for many hours of hiking in steady rain or wet snow—on Fiordland’s Kepler and Dusky tracks earlier this month. Continue reading →

Like This Story? Get My Free Email Newsletter!

Enter your email for updates about new stories, expert tips, and gear reviews.

Grand Canyon Hiker