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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > MontBell Thermawrap Classic Jacket > Test Report by Michael Pearl

MONTBELL THERMAWRAP CLASSIC JACKET
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - October 06, 2019
FIELD REPORT - January 03, 2020
LONG TERM REPORT - February 25, 2020

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 25
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1


Manufacturer: Montbell
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer's Website: www.montbell.us
Made in: Vietnam
MSRP: US$189.00

Listed Weight: 9.6 oz (272 g)
Measured Weight: 9.5 oz (269 g) with stuff sack 0.2 oz (6 g) medium size jacket

Listed Compressed Size: 4.5 x 8 in (12 x 20 cm)
Measured Compressed Size: 4 x 9 in (10 x 23 cm)

Sizes Available: Small through Extra Large
Size Tested: Medium IMAGE 2
Colors Available: Dove Gray, Black, Khaki Green
Color Tested: Dove Gray

Shell Fabric: 10-denier ballistic airlight rip-stop nylon
Insulation: EXCELOFT synthetic insulation, 60 g/m2 (1.8 oz/yd2)
Standard DWR treatment

Center Back Length: 28 in (71 cm)

Features:
- DWR treated zipper
- Elastic cuffs
- Draw cord hem adjustment hidden in pockets
- Two zippered hand pockets
- Two interior drop-in pockets
- Front zipper; Left hand insert
- Stuff sack included

Description:

This latest version of the Thermawrap is a return to the Montbell roots. The idea behind Classic is a focus on holding in the heat. This jacket features Montbell trademarked EXCELOFT their warmest synthetic insulation wrapped in DWR treated 10-denier nylon. The combination of hydrophobic, quick drying synthetic fill inside wind resistant nylon fabric makes the Thermawrap Classic a warm mid layer.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The ThermaWrap arrived neatly folded in a plastic bag. It's an eye catching distinct shade of gray on the outside and black on the inside. All stitching is even and tight with no loose ends. It is a neat and stylish jacket. On first inspection I like the jacket's quality of construction and appearance.

Trying the ThermaWrap on I notice how light it feels and that it fits nicely. I like the elastic cuffs. They stretch going over my hands and then close around my wrist leaving a small gap. Surprising to me the interior side of the collar is made of different material. It has a different texture than the rest of the jacket. It's slightly stiffer and doesn't have the usual "slippery" feel that puffy insulated jackets have. I have never really cared for that usual nylon feel against my skin. I quite like the feel of the ThermaWrap collar.

The zipper slides together and zips up without hesitation. The two outside zippered pockets are big enough to accommodate my hands. I also put a medium weight fleece glove in each pocket and could still comfortably fit my hands. The pocket zippers also slide open and close smoothly. All three zippers have fair sized easy to grasp pulls.

The hem is easily adjusted with the hidden draw cord. Reaching in a pocket with one hand grasping the end of the cord and squeezing the barrel lock inside the jacket near the respective pocket with the other hand the cord moves to tighten or loosening the hem. The end of the draw cord stays hidden inside the pocket.

The hand pockets also form two interior pockets accessed from inside the jacket. They are fairly sizable. I can see stowing a hat, gloves or phone in them. These pockets are large enough to fit the one liter water bottle used as scale in the above stuff sack photo.IMAGE 4

This brings me to the stuff sack. It nicely accommodates the ThermaWrap jacket with just minimal effort. The draw cord closure is different and much simpler than others I have seen. It's just a loop of plastic tightly fitted around the draw cord. It slides down the cord toward the stuff sack to cinch the sack, then slides away to open it.
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I wore the jacket while writing this wearing a T-shirt sitting inside at 63 F (17 C). I was quite cozy and very warm but not clammy or moist. This would be a good point to mention the main feature of the ThermaWrap its insulation. Montbell used their trademarked EXCELOFT synthetic insulation. This material is said to have high heat retention even when wet, excellent compressibility while maintaining loft that is quick to dry when wet. I am never eager to be wet when the temperature calls for an insulating jacket. However I am very intrigued to just how much I might be able to push this jacket when it comes to moisture and cold.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Care instructions for the ThermaWrap jacket are easy. It can be cleaned in a front loading washer or by hand. However there are no instructions or suggestions for drying.

TRYING IT OUT

The ThermaWrap arrived just as our morning temps began to dip. I walked the dog on 40 F (4 C) morning wearing the ThermaWrap. At first I didn't really notice the chill until my hands started to go numb. I pulled out the fleece gloves hanging out in the pockets. They went on easy sliding inside the cuffs with a gentle pull of the elastic cuffs. I warmed nicely as I built heat from walking. The ThermaWrap showed promise of being toasty on this brief, mild walk.
IMAGE 5

SUMMARY

The Montbell ThermaWrap is a well made, stylish and warm jacket. I like the no frills simple, functional features. The fit is good for me and comfortable. I am excited to put the EXCELOFT insulation to the test. This could decrease my sense of being overly concerned about dealing with moisture control while hiking in freezing temperatures. I am looking forward to working out my layering system with the ThermaWrap jacket.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Wrights Mountain - Bradford, Vermont
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 1000 to 1822 ft (305 to 555 m)
Pack Weight - 12 lb (5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 45 F (7 C) sunny with winds at the summit

Balch Hill - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 5 mi (8 km) from 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 35 F (2 C) and cloudy

Boston Lot - Lebanon, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 6 mi (9.5 km) from 800 to 1100 ft (244 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 20 F (-7 C) and windy

Girl Brook - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 6 mi (9.5 km) from 530 to 390 ft (162 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 25 F (-4 C) and sunny

Burnt Mountain - Lebanon, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 600 to 1000 ft (180 to 300 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 33 F (1 C) with snow, rain and sleet mix

Quarry Hill - Lebanon, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 10 mi (16 km) from 600 to 1100 ft (180 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 15 F (-9 C) with light snow

IMAGE 1

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have used the Thermawrap in a fairly wide range of conditions during several day hikes. From a mild and sunny day to chilly mixed precipitation to cold and dry. The Thermawrap has worked well on all my hikes. The fit of the Thermawrap lends to its versatility. It's comfortable worn with a T-shirt or a lightweight fleece. Further it's not bulky so combines nicely with other outer layers.

At temperatures above freezing I have become too warm wearing the Thermawrap. When this has happened I stuff it into my daypack. It compresses well and takes up little space in my pack. Then when resting or at a windy summit the Thermawrap shakes out and lofts up to quickly retain my warmth again.

At temperatures below freezing the Thermawrap does an excellent job maintaining a comfortable degree of warmth. I like the elastic cuffs for the secure seal around my wrist. This blocks cold air from creeping in and works nicely with my gloves. I feel this also helps to keep my hands warm. Additionally I like the internal pockets for storing and warming my gloves before and after wearing them.

On one hike I encountered variable and constantly changing mixed precipitation. The day started cloudy but dry. I wore the Thermawrap without a rain jacket to start. When the snow began to fall I continued without additional layers. The Thermawrap shed the light snow nicely and the DWR kept the jacket dry. As the snow turned over to rain the Thermawrap felt damp. This was either from the rain or my excess warmth or the combination of the two. At this point I put on a water resistant windbreaker to help shed the rain. I remained warm in the Thermawrap and never felt chilled even when the rain turned to sleet or at rest. Once home the Thermawrap dried quickly without loosing any loft.

SUMMARY

The Montbell Thermawrap Classic Jacket has served me well during this phase of testing. It is comfortable and a great insulator. It has worked well on its own and with a light windbreaker. It packs down to a small space in my pack. When unstuffed and shaken out it bounces back to shape nicely. It has handled minor wetting well, retaining its warmth and drying out quickly. I look forward to continued use as the winter progresses.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Day Hikes

Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 6 mi (10 km) from 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 10 F (-12 C) and snowing with boot deep accumulation

Balch Hill - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 5 mi (8 km) from 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 0 F (-18 C) and clear

Velvet Rocks - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 10 mi (16 km) from 525 to 1300 ft (160 to 400 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 5 F (-15 C) with light winds

Overnight Hikes

Moose Mountain - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 12 mi (19 km) from 1350 to 2300 ft (410 to 700 m)
Pack weight - 25 lb (11 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 25 to 10 F (-4 to -12 C) windy with light snow throughout

Smarts Mountain - Lyme, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8.2 mi (13 km) from 1110 to 3240 ft (338 to 988 m)
Pack Weight - 25 lbs (11 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 20 to 5 F (-7 to -15 C) calm and clear

IMAGE 1

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

In addition to the outdoor/hiking use I have been wearing the Thermawrap as a casual jacket around town, to work and walking the dog. It has blended nicely into these slightly more formal settings while being warm and comfortable. I continue to be pleased with the fit, warmth and look of the Thermawrap. It has held up well during testing with no signs of wear or tear. All fabric and stitching remain intact. All zippers slide with ease and elastic still springy.

During this round of testing I found the lowest temp I am comfortable hiking in the Thermawrap. I was layered up with a thin wool baselayer, mid-weight wool sweater, Thermawrap jacket and a lightweight windbreaker. At 5 F (-15 C) and this is while moving or stopped for a short time I was warm and comfortable. I tried to wear the same layers at 0 F (-18C), which doesn't really sound like a big difference but I just could not generate enough heat to warm up. I had to add additional insulating jacket to become comfortable. This did make me really appreciate the EXCELOFT insulation. The Thermaloft is a fairly thin jacket but once warmed up it really does an excellent job retaining heat.

Additionally on two occasions conditions resulted in the Thermawrap becoming quite damp. One was when worn under a windbreaker creating a microclimate. I felt and was warm and dry at the skin and baselayer. However the windbreaker was trapping a lot of moisture and the Thermawrap was soaking it up. I was warm the entire hike but to my surprise when arriving home I found the Thermawrap very damp. The second was while hiking during a snowfall. After hiking for several hours I had a damp spot where snow would collect between my shoulder and my pack. Again I was impressed with the EXCELOFT insulations performance maintaining its warmth. The Thermawrap dried quickly on both occasions, the first in a couple of hours hanging on a chair at home. The second in my tent overnight by the time I woke the next morning.

SUMMARY

The Thermawrap Classic Jacket has been a solid, reliably warm layer. It's weight, bulk to warmth ratio is amazing. It has a wide range of temperatures in which it's comfortable. Additionally this range is stretched as layering with the Thermawrap is easy. The low bulk insulation and roomy fit nicely take on layers inside and out. Little things like the soft interior fabric on the collar and close cinching cuffs give this jacket big comfort while hiking. Staying warm the balance of the winter and early spring will be a snap as I will toasty wearing the Thermawrap.

This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to send my thanks to Montbell and BackpackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.

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