Series by Bob Sanders
Report: December 15, 2013
Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a
Boy Scout at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the
Wonderland Trail in Washington and section hiked parts of the
Florida Trail, Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi
(1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I continue to backpack and
hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I have evolved from a
heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker and sometimes
reach ultralight weights. My three day winter/spring solo
adventures (using a tent) have me hovering around a 15 lb (6.8
kg) base weight.
ft 1 in (1.85 m)
lb (95 kg)
INFORMATION (Image from website)
MontBell Co, Ltd.
of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: www.montbell.com
MSRP: $149.00 US
Listed Weight (Med size): 6.7 oz (190 g)
Measured Weight (XL Jacket): 7.3 oz (209 g)
Measured Weight (Stuff Sack):
.3 oz (8 g)
Shadow (Shown above) - also available in Orient Blue, Brick
Red and White
Size Tested: X-Large (available in S, M, L, XL)
Fabric: 15-denier "Ballistic Airtight" rip-stop
Waterproof: 2.5-layer Super Hydro Breeze proprietary
Warranty: Covers all defects in materials and
workmanship for the lifetime of the product.
The jacket is intended (per the manufacturer) for multi-day summer
backpacking. Since the testing period is during the winter/spring
seasons we will see if the seasons make much of a difference.
The jacket comes with an adjustable hood, hem and cuffs. The hem is
adjustable with elastic cords (one
on each side) and mini cord locks. The hood has three points
of adjustment. Around the face and around the back of the head using
elastic cords. There is also an adjustment strap with hook-n-Loop
material on top of the hood which pulls the brim back to keep it out
of your eyes. The addition of a small piece of foam rod helps keep the
brim stiff. The cuffs are also adjustable with a strap and hook-n-loop
Versalite jacket comes with a full zipper on the front with a
nylon cord and plastic zipper pull. It is a good size to grab on
to even with gloves on. On each side of the front zipper is a nice
long reflective strip. One thing I did notice about the zipper is
it is opposite of what I'm used to. The zipper pull is on the left
side of the zipper rather than on the right side. The website
lists the zipper as "Weather resistant Aqua-Tect, (European style)
left hand zipper".
There are two good sized hand-warmer pockets but no chest pocket.
Both pockets have the same nice zipper pull as the front zipper.
The jacket also includes two 13 in (33 cm) pit zips to increase
ventilation. The zipper pulls on the pit zips are just simple
knotted cords. During the testing I will be evaluating how well
the jacket breathes with and without using the pit zips. For any
rain jacket, breathability and ventilation are key to the
usability and success of the jacket. The jacket's fabric is listed
as a "15-denier
Ballistic Airlight rip-stop nylon with a 2.5-layer Super
Hydro Breeze (non-porous polyurethane treated laminated fabric)
with water resistance rated at (20,000 mm / Breathability: 20,000
g/m²/ 24 hrs).
All seams are taped and a very small stuff sack is included for
storage. The stuff sack is simple with a boxed bottom, a pull
strap with the MontBell logo on it and oddly two draw cords. One
with a cord lock and one without. Having two seems kind of
redundant. I have to say the jacket is very compressible and packs
up really small.
This jacket is very light weight. At 7.3 oz (209 g) this is
lightest rain jacket I currently own. The jackets fabric, although
being very lightweight does seem to be somewhat robust. I gave it a
yank in all directions and there is very little stretch and initially
it seems pretty tough.
The workmanship and quality is impeccable, which is what I have come
to expect from MontBell products. Seams are straight with no loose
The size (XL) is a good choice for me. The sizing chart listed on the
website was accurate based on my dimensions. It fits me well and there
is extra room underneath for additional layers which I will be wearing
as it is winter. The sleeves are articulated and when I raised my arms
above my head the jacket did not ride up. The jacket also includes a 2
in (5 cm) drop tail so it covers my large posterior quite nicely.
Not too sure how much rain we will receive. During the first 3 months
(December, January & February) of testing I expect freezing
temperatures and snow. During the last month (March) we will see
warmer temperatures and if it snows it will be the wet, heavy kind of
snow. This would be a much better test for the
waterproof/breathability aspects of the jacket.
- Very lightweight
- Very compact
I would like to thank
BackpackGearTest.org and MontBell for the opportunity to test this Jacket.
Check back in two months for my field report.
Read more reviews of MontBell gear
Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders