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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > MontBell Versalite Jacket > Test Report by Brett Haydin

MontBell Versalite Jacket
Test Series by Brett Haydin
Initial Report - December 12, 2013
Field Report - coming soon
Long Term Report - coming soon


NAME: Brett Haydin
EMAIL: bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
AGE: 40
LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
CHEST: 42 in (107 cm)
WAIST: 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in a variety of terrain each year - from mountains to grasslands. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.

Initial Report

Versalite Jacket
Image courtesy of manufacturer

Product Information & Specifications

Manufacturer: MontBell Co, Ltd.
Year of Manufacture: 
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: $149.00 US
Listed Weight: 6.7 oz (190 g)
Measured Weight: 7.1 oz (201 g)
Color Tested:  Red Brick (also available in Orient Blue, Shadow and White)
Size Tested:  Large (available in S, M, L, XL)
Fabric: 15-denier "Ballistic Airtight" rip-stop nylon
Waterproof: 2.5-layer Super Hydro Breeze proprietary technology
Warranty: Covers all defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product.

Product Description

The MontBell Versalite jacket, which I will refer to as just the Jacket or Versalite, is intended (ideally) as rain gear for multi-day backpacking in the summertime, according to the manufacturer. The simple design contributes to a light weight and makes it compact for stowing it away when for when I need it.  

The Versalite has a full-length zipper on the front so it should be easy to get on and off, even with a few layers on underneath.  The zipper has an attractive plastic pull tab with the manufacturer's name on it.  The zippers are also framed by a reflective material that could help if I use them around town.  One interesting note is that the zipper is left-handed, which I am not quite used to.  There also a MontBell logo imprinted on the front, the left side of my chest.  The bottom hem of the jacket has an elastic draw cord with a cord lock sewn into it.  This may be helpful to keep out rain and drafts.  

There are 12 in (30.5 cm) pit zips for additional ventilation. These do not have the plastic pull tab, but a simple, knotted cord.  Still, I should be able to grasp it well enough.  The sleeves are trimmed at the end with an elastic cuff that has a hook and loop tab to make it tighter or looser, depending on my preference.  The sleeves are also slightly articulated.  

The hood is a good size for my head, with room for a cap or hat underneath and then some.  There are a few adjustable points on the hood.  The first is an elastic draw cord that frames the front of the hood; essentially wrapping my face.  The second is another elastic draw cord in the rear that adjusts the depth of the hood.  Finally, there is a hook and loop tab that can adjust the height of the hood.  There is a small bill in the front as well that should help water drain off in front of my face, and not onto it!

The pockets have 8 in (20 cm) zippers with the same plastic pull tab as the front.  They are not lined with any special fabric, but it does not feel unpleasant.  The draw cord for the bottom hem can also be adjusted with one hand by pulling the draw cord from within either of the pockets.  On the inside of the jacket body, there is a fabric tag sewn into the bottom hem.  There is also a sizing label welded into the back along with a nylon cord suitable for hanging the jacket up.  

The stuff sack is the same color and fabric as the jacket.  It is simple and effective.  It has two draw cords, one with a cord lock and one without.  On the bottom is a black nylon handle with the MontBell logo imprinted on it.

Stuff Sack
The jacket packs down to a small and manageable size.

Initial Impressions

I am impressed with the quality of workmanship.  For the most part, the product is impeccable. I found one small loose thread along a zipper that does not appear to impact the product.  I have noted the area in case I see any fraying later on in the test.  

The sheer simplicity of the design is great.  I am curious to see how the jacket holds up in the weather I am likely to encounter.  I hope to find some rainy days to splash and play in soon!  I noticed that the measured weight and the listed weight varied rather significantly.  A little closer look at the website showed that the listed weight is for a medium size.  With the additional fabric, it looks like the weight is spot on!

I happened to try the jacket out on a short stroll with the dogs during a rainy afternoon.  The initial "test" was quite promising.  I hope that the results at the end of the series will be just as positive!

Reading the Instructions

The jacket came with a pair of hang tags attached to it.  One is simply a retail label with the color, size and product name.  The other is a cautionary statement that while the jacket is advertised as durable, contact with rocks and trees could result in abrasions or tears.  Sounds like I may need to take care if I am stomping through the forest.  

The website was easy to navigate.  I used the sizing chart found on the website to select my size and the fit is perfect.  


I like this jacket!  The color is nice; not too bright or obnoxious. It is time to get outside and play with it!

Pros: Waterproof, lightweight and packs small.

Cons: No major concerns at this time.

This concludes my Initial Report.  I would like to express my sincere gratitude to MontBell for their generosity as well as the folks at for allowing me to be a part of this test series.  Please check back in approximately two months to see how the pants have held up on my backpacking trips.  

Read more reviews of MontBell gear
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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > MontBell Versalite Jacket > Test Report by Brett Haydin

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