ultralight wind shell reviews

Review: Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on and Jacket

The Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on in the Grand Canyon.
The Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on in the Grand Canyon.

Ultralight Rain Jacket
Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on and Jacket
$185 (pull-on)/$205 (jacket), 6 oz. (men’s medium pull-on)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL, women’s US 6-14 (jacket only)
Sunnysports.com

From bone-rattling cold wind on a September dayhike in Glacier National Park and a back-to-back, rim-to-rim dayhikes across the Grand Canyon in October, to wind and rain while scrambling peaks in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, Montane’s Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on keep me dry and warm, thanks to its solid wind protection and good breathability. Certainly one of the lightest and most packable waterproof-breathable shells out there, this pull-on, and the jacket version, are a top choice for trail runners, hikers, climbers, and ultralight backpackers. Here’s why.

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10 Tips For a Smarter Layering System

A backpacker on a rainy and windy day high in the Olympic Mountains.
A backpacker on a rainy and windy day high in the Olympic Mountains.

By Michael Lanza

Think of your layering system of clothing for outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, and skiing as a musical instrument. When you’re first learning how to play, you practice one chord or note at a time. But you only begin to produce music once you link chords in a way that sounds good. Similarly, only by treating your layering system as a dynamic, interconnected whole can you move more comfortably and safely in any weather. In this freshly updated article, I offer 10 specific tips for making your layering system work better—which ultimately helps you spend your money smartly.

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Smartwool Men’s PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket.

Review: Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket

Ultralight JacketSmartwool Men’s PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket$115, 4.5 oz. (men’s medium)Sizes: S-XLbackcountry.comSmartwool Women’s PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket (hooded)$120, 5 oz.Sizes: XS-XLbackcountry.com Whether hiking, trail running, or mountain biking, when I need a jacket to manage variability in my exertion levels and/or the inevitable wind, temperature swings, and maybe light precipitation, I look for a couple of qualities in …

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Review: 6 Super Versatile Layering Pieces

 

Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody

By Michael Lanza

Whether climbing peaks, taking an ultra-dayhike or trail run, Nordic or backcountry skiing, or backpacking, the more time I spend in the backcountry, the more I value and wear lightweight jackets and vests that pull double duty as middle and outer layers. Unlike with heavier, warmer, and less-breathable jackets, you can often wear this type of garment while on the move—while your body is producing heat, but you still need some warmth. That makes you more comfortable and, ultimately, safer in widely ranging mountain weather. Plus, you get more bang for your buck from versatile layers like these because you use them more.

Here are six of the very best.

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Review: Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On

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
backcountry.com

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.

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