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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > MontBell Tachyon Anorak > Test Report by Kurt Papke
MontBell Tachyon Anorak Windshirt
|Height:||6' 4" (193 cm)|
|Weight:||235 lbs (107 kg)|
|Email address:||kwpapke at gmail dot com|
|City, State, Country:||Tucson, Arizona USA|
|Manufacturer:||MontBell Co. Ltd.
|Year of manufacture:||2012|
||US $ 99.00
(Sunset Orange), also available in Fresh Green and Sax
||7-denier rip-stop Ballistic Airlight nylon|
also available in small, medium and large
2.3 oz (65 g) - Medium
Measured: 77 g (2.7 oz) with stuff sack,
74 g (2.6 oz) without the sack
Many jacket manufacturers are now building the stuff sack into
the garment, i.e. creating a pocket that can contain the whole
enchilada. I can understand MontBell designing a separate
sack to allow the minimalist to save a few grams by leaving the
sack at home. I've also found I can use clothing to fill
voids in my pack, something that a tightly compressed Tachyon in
its sack would not do. That said, I would hesitate to do so
with this garment as I would be concerned with puncturing or
tearing it, and it is so tiny it wouldn't fill much of a void.
Features not listed by the manufacturer, but notable in the
The first thing I had to
do when I opened the package was attempt to stuff the windshirt
into the microscopic-sized sack. MontBell claims it packs
down to 2.8 x 0.8 x 3.5 in (71 x 20 x 89 mm). That's about
right. And it does it without any cramming. It's a
To accomplish this feat MontBell has to use some pretty
lightweight material. I can say without actually performing
the test that if this jacket tangles with a fishhook barrel cactus
on one of my hikes, the jacket will lose bigtime. I think
I'm also going to have to be mindful of leaning against an
abrasive log at a campsite. I often layer my windshirt or
rainshell over a fleece in the evening to trap as much heat as
possible, which subjects it to a lot more wear and tear.
After removing the jacket from the stuff sack I visually examined
it, and as I have come to expect with MontBell products the
workmanship is exquisite.
I slipped the garment on. It went on effortlessly, seeming
to glide over the shirt I had on. The zipper worked well to
secure me snugly inside. The drawcord adjustments worked
nicely to tighten up the fit. The elastic cuffs fit closely
around my wrists, but were not constraining. Overall the fit
is very good, though it is none too long. I am very
long-waisted, and I normally have to buy Tall sizes to get
garments to fit well, but MontBell seems to tailor theirs a little
longer in the back to keep drafts out. In this case the
windshirt fit well, but when I bend over I have a bit of an
exposed lower back.
One of my concerns before receiving the Tachyon was that the windshirt is unlined, and I was concerned it might be rough against my skin. These concerns evaporated into thin air as soon as I put it on; the fabric is so light and smooth that I hardly know it is there.
Color: I like the orange, as I want to be able to use it as a
safety garment when riding my road bicycle. Visibility is a
good thing. It will also match my brown hiking pants
nicely. The color does seem a little bit darker than that
depicted on the MontBell website and catalog; note the difference
between the first picture above I copied from their website, and
the one at left that I took myself, and at least on my computer
monitor, the latter is very true to my garment color.
I found the care instructions on a tag
sewn onto a lower-left seam of the garment (see photo at
right). I sought them out as I really wondered if/how I was
going to clean this fragile-looking jacket! I cannot imagine
ironing it to get the wrinkles out -- I would think the wrinkles
would be right back as soon as I put it in the stuff sack, but I
guess if I want to take the jacket out on a night on the town I
could do so. I certainly would not throw it in the dryer...
Some hikers wear a windshirt right over their skin. I have
extremely oily skin, so I always wear at least a T-shirt
underneath. This should prevent having to wash the Tachyon
too often, though I do sweat profusely so I expect it will still
have to get laundered every hike or two.
I often wear my windshirt on morning bicycle rides. They effectively keep me warm with little bulk. On Sunday morning the wind was very calm, temperature about 50 F (10 C). I donned the Tachyon and off I went.Perfect. It kept me at just the right temperature until I was ready for the last hill climb home, when I removed the windshirt, stuffed it in its little sack, and stowed it in my tiny seat bag. Normally I carry a small backpack when I ride with a jacket so I have someplace to stash it when I get warm. It was great to not require the pack, and just store the Tachyon in a small bag.
|March 30-April 1,
||Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado
National Forest near Tucson, Arizona
|Sonoran Desert to Ponderosa pines
||Sunny, nighttime lows about 45F (7 C),
daytime highs 90 F (32 C)
|April 20-22, 2012||Rincon Mountains in Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona||Miller/
|Sky Island ridgelines: from rocky desert canyons to Ponderosa Pine woodlands||40-95 F (4-35 C), sunny, light evening & morning breeze||4240-7920 ft
|June 21-23, 2012||San Francisco Peaks in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona||Mt Humpreys
|Forests to mountain peak tundra||Sunny, 50-80 F
(10-27 F), very windy especially near the peak
|July 27-28, 2012||Santa Rita Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona||Vault Mine Trail
|Sky Island canyon||Partly cloudy, 60-85 F (16-29 C), rain at night||5500-7300 ft
On April 27 I headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a wedding, and
then on from there to Switzerland for a business trip. The
Tachyon rode along in my carry-on luggage as my sole jacket.
It sure was nice that it took up so little space in my one
suitcase. I did a half-hour run in Minneapolis, it was about
45 F (7 C) with a light mist falling. The Tachyon was
perfect for these conditions. From there I flew to Zurich,
Switzerland and took the train to Lucerne where I spent several
days. Again, I used the Tachyon for my morning runs with
temperatures around 55 F (13 C). Overall, the Tachyon was a
functional piece of travel gear for me on this trip.
The performance synopsis from my Initial Report holds true.
In addition, my concerns about the durability of the light Tachyon
fabric have so far been unfounded -- no punctures, rips or tears
despite the days and nights on the trail and traveling all the way
to Europe and back with me. It has been a pleasure to have
the Tachyon windshirt with me. I look forward to using it in
the months ahead.
Photo courtesy Derek Hansen
This was a 3-day 2-night backpacking loop hike consisting of the
Kachina, Mt Humphreys and Weatherford trails in the San Francisco
Peaks, including a summit of Mt Humphreys. The photo above
shows my typical windshirt use up to this point of staying warm in
the morning and evenings, in this case just prior to setting out
on the trail from base camp near the trail head.
In my opinion, the photo above shows what a windshirt is all
about. The temperature wasn't too cold, maybe 60 F (16 C), but
it was difficult to gauge due to the high winds of about 70 mph (115
kph) and the resulting wind chill. It was not easy to judge
wind speed either for that matter; all I know is during the initial
segment of my descent I was pretty much crawling on the ground to
avoid being blown off the ridgeline, as I could not stand up.
Photo courtesy Derek Hansen
The Tachyon has survived some pretty severe conditions and survived unscathed. At the end of four months of testing it has no punctures, rips, tears or damage of any kind. All of my initial concerns about durability have been proven unfounded.
The Tachyon has gained a well-earned permanent spot in my
pack. I won't use it year-round; in fact it wasn't easy to
find opportunities where it was really needed during an Arizona
summer, but for about 9 months out of the year it will be tucked
in a corner of my day or overnight packs. The weight and
space penalty of this garment is so extremely low, and the comfort
and utility provided is so high, that I cannot make a compelling
case to leave it at home.
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