MontBell Tachyon Anorak Test Series
March 31, 2012
New York, New York, USA
5' 10" (1.78 m)
150 lb (68.00 kg)
I have been backpacking for 6 years, mostly 3-season weekend trips in the Adirondacks, and other parks in the Northeastern US. Additionally, I try to take at least one 5-7 day trip each summer to other destinations in Canada, Western United States and Central America. I use lightweight gear on a budget. My multi-day pack weight is around 20-25 lb (9-11kg). I enjoy sleeping comfortably and cooking a hot meal at night
Manufacturer: MontBell Co., Ltd
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Listed Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g)
Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g) - Without stuff sack
Stuffsack Measured Weight: 0.1 oz (3 g)
Listed Compressed Dimensions: 2.8" x 0.8" x 3.5" (7.1 cm x 2.0 cm x 8.8 cm)
Measured Compressed Dimensions: 2" x 1" x 4" (5.0 cm x 2.5 cm x 10 cm)
Available Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Color: Sax Blue
Available Color: Green, Orange
MSRP: US $99.00
The Tachyon Anorak is a new ultralight water resistant wind shirt from MontBell (hereafter Anorak or wind shirt). According to the manufacturer, the mantra of the designers was "function only," and it clearly shows. The first thing that struck me is how thin and light the Anorak is. MontBell states on its website that this product is made from 15 denier ballistic nylon, a product that has three times the tear strength of similar weight nylon fabrics. Despite this claim, I felt like I was about to tear a hole in the wind shirt when putting it on, because of how thin the fabric is.
The Anorak is constructed as a very simple pullover. Sewn inside the edge of the hood is a a 9" (23 cm) flexible rod to stiffen the "visor" of the hood. A 10 inch (25 cm) zipper at the neckline allows the wind shirt to be put on and removed comfortably. There are elastic cuffs around the wrists which cinched my wrists comfortably, and not too tightly. Finally there is a draw cord around the waist to keep out drafts. I did not find a single extra piece of material on the wind shirt. There are no pockets or any other bells or whistles.
The fit is a bit snug by US measurement standards, and true to size by European measurements. I found that the length of the Anorak was too short for my liking. When I lifted my arms above my head, about 2" (5 cm) of my stomach was exposed to the elements. When walking on level ground I believe this would not be an issue, but if climbing uphill and using trekking poles, the gap may be letting wind in.
MontBell states that the Anorak is coated with a permanent DWR water repellent finish called Polkatex. They are upfront that "the sprayed on DWR handles light precipitation just long enough for you to reach shelter before it really lets loose." I plan to test this claim in the near future.
The color in person is several shades darker than the marketing photographs on the website. It is much closer to a navy blue. I dislike loud colors and was pleased with the color of the Anorak.
The MontBell Tachyon Anorak is a comfortable, lightweight wind shirt. Its small weight and compact compressed size will allow me to throw it into a pack as a light outer shell on any 3 season trip without worrying about pack weight. I am looking forward to seeing how it performs in rainy and windy conditions.
1. Light weight
3. Easy to put on and take off
4. Very compact
1. Long term durability
I wore the Anorak during a 5-day 4-night trip in Boston Harbor National Park in Massachusetts. The elevation ranged from sea level to 10 ft (3 m) and temperatures ranged from 85 F to 100 F (29 C to 38 C). On two of the days there were very big downpours. During the other three days, the weather was sunny and muggy.
Performance in the Field:
The Anorak is very light weight and compact. Because of this, it has earned a permanent spot in my work bag as an emergency rain jacket. I have also carried it on several day hikes, but due to good weather never had a chance to test its ability to repel water in the field. While in my work bag the jacket is inside its stuff sack, rubbing up against books a laptop computer and various pens and pencils. I am pleased to report that no wear is visible on the jacket or the stuff sack after about 4 months of such abuse.
The trip to Boston Harbor National Park finally gave me a chance to test it in proper conditions. This park consists of a chain of islands located in the harbor outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Campers can travel from island to island by ferry and explore each island on foot.
Because we were camping with a child and the islands do not have fresh water we were traveling very heavy. In addition to our regular backpacking gear, we had to carry five days worth of food and water for 3 people. Thankfully the walk from the ferry to the camp sites is short, and once you set up camp, all you need is a bottle of water and a camera to explore the rest of the islands. Considering the weight of all that food and water, the Anorak's weight savings couldn't be truly appreciated - but I already know it's very light from daily use.
The islands are located in the middle of open water, and the campsites are at the mercy of the storms that form over water. For two days we got pounded by rain and wind. During this time, the Anorak was a lifesaver, but eventually water made its way inside. The temperature was very warm - around 90 F (32 C), and the air was hot and muggy. The Anorak kept me dry for several hours but eventually everything in the campsite that was protected from the elements got very clammy, including me. I never got soaked; the feeling was more like condensation that forms on the inside of a tent.
Long Term Report:
I took the Anorak with me on a two week trip through Maine and Maritime Canada. Maine weather is very finicky, with sunny days turning into extended torrential downpours on a moment's notice.
In Maine we stayed in a campground in Acadia National Park, and did three day hikes. Temperatures ranged from 55F (13C) at night to 85F (29C) during some days. Elevations ranged from sea level to 1500 ft (457 m). One day was sunny, while on the other two, it rained nonstop. Terrain included rocky cliffs and level forest trails.
In Canada we stopped for a day in Prince Edward Island National Park. Temperature was approximately 95F (35C). Elevation was at sea level. The Anorak did not see any use here.
We then moved on to Nova Scotia's Cape Breton National Park. Temperature was approximately 85 F (29 C) and elevation ranged from sea level to 1200 ft (366 m). It was sunny but with high winds. Terrain was mostly level forest trails.
Finally we finished up with two day hikes in Nova Scotia's Kejimkujik National Park. Temperatures were around 70F (21 C), the elevations were around sea level and it rained both days.
Performance in the Field:
Versatility is the name of the game with the Anorak. The manufacturer advertises that the Anorak "shields you from all but the strongest winds [and] handles light precipitation just long enough for you to reach shelter before it really lets loose." My trip to Canada presented multiple opportunities to test these claims - from day long showers to super windy days when the Anorak really shined. All my hiking was done with an infant carrier instead of a traditional pack. The pack has a 10L storage compartment. Between the limited space and the additional weight of a child on my shoulders I could not afford to take many luxuries beyond food and water. Nonetheless, this tiny lightweight jacket found a place in my pack every time and performed like a champion when I needed it.
My experience wholly confirms the manufacturer's wind protection claim. I hiked the Skyline trail in Cape Breton National Park. This is a 6 mi (10 km) loop which follows a mountain ridge overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I estimate that wind speed fluctuated up to approximately 22 mph (10 m/s) for the 4 hours or so that it took us to hike the trail. I am pleased to report that the Anorak completely insulated me from these winds. I was perfectly comfortable for the entire hike. Unfortunately my hat did not fare so well. After the wind blew it off my head 3 or 4 times, I moved it inside the pack.I was perfectly comfortable for the entire hike. Unfortunately my hat did not fare so well. After the wind blew it off my head 3 or 4 times, I had to move it inside the pack.
The manufacturer's rain claim proved true as well. I relied on the Anorak as my only form of rain protection on a hike to Kejimkujik National Park. This park is located right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and the low vegetation provides no protection against wind and rain. Unfortunately for me, the rain lasted all day. For the first hour or two, water simply beaded up on the outside of the Anorak. Eventually the moisture in the air made its way through and was absorbed by my base layers. At that point the Anorak offered little protection against the rain. Nonetheless, I was very impressed with the protection against the wind that it offered even when wet.
There is no question that the Anorak is very light and compact. It's a no-brainer to bring it on any backpacking trip as wind and rain insurance. I even carry it with me every day in my work bag.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
The water repelling abilities of this jacket are effective, but have their limits. I would not want to rely on it to keep me dry in the rain for several hours. However, its role as a wind barrier is unparallelled. This jacket will keep you comoftable in strong winds, rain or shine!
I have two minor criticisms of the jacket. The first is that the stuff sack is not integrated into the jacket. It is very small and easy to lose. The second is that when the jacket is removed from the stuff sack, it remains crinkled for the rest of the day. This is not a problem in the woods but looks awkward if one uses it as a daily emergency rain jacket like I do.
Read more gear reviews by Andrei Girenkov