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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > MontBell Wind Blast Parka > Test Report by Frances Penn

MONTBELL WIND BLAST PARKA
TEST SERIES BY FRANCES PENN
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 29, 2015

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Frances Penn
EMAIL: oldhikergirl AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Santa Ana, California USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for eight years mostly on long weekends in Southern California with two or more 5-day trips per year in the Sierras. My total daypack weight, including food and water, is usually 15 lb (7 kg) and my total backpack weight, including food and water, is usually 22-26 lb (10-12 kg) depending on the need for a bear canister. I have converted to a tarp and bivy sleep system instead of a tent to keep my pack weight down. I have experienced all night rain, hail, heavy winds, camping in snow once, but mostly fair weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Montbell
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: www.montbell.us
MSRP: US $59.00
Listed Weight: 5.5 oz (155 g)
Measured Weight: 5.5 oz (155 g)
Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large
Size Tested: Small
Colors Available: STBL-Navy Blue, FS-Fuchsia, and PMGN-Lime Green
Color tested: STBL-Navy Blue
Country of origin: Vietnam
Center back length: 26.3 inches (67 cm)

IMAGE 1
Photo from Montbell website


This windbreaker type jacket is constructed of 40-denier nylon taffeta with a DWR Polkatex® Durable Water Repellent treatment. The jacket features 2 zippered hand pockets, elastic cuffs that are not adjustable, a hood that adjusts with side pull tabs, and a chin guard at the top of the full-length front zipper. The hem has a draw cord adjustment just inside the bottom of the zipper. The pull tabs are hidden in both side pockets. There are micro vents in each arm pit and a slight drop tail of 1.5 inch (3.81 cm).



INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

This jacket is very lightweight and packs down small enough so that I would not question my decision to carry it on all of my future backpacking trips. Considering I have never used a windbreaker because of the lack of waterproofing, I look forward to this testing opportunity. There have been times when I wanted another light layer but nothing in my pack fit that description. I am hoping this jacket will fill the gap in my backpack clothing wardrobe.

IMAGE 2
compact size


The navy color is more of a navy/gray combination with teal zippers and teal hood adjustment tabs. The hood is sewn to the jacket where the collar would be, eliminating the need for the extra collar material. The hood does not stow or roll up, but simply hangs out the back of the jacket just below where the collar would be. The hood adjusts with pull tabs on each side using teal elastic cord.

IMAGE 3
hood and side pull tabs


Overall, the color combination has a pleasing appearance.

There are plastic zipper pull tabs on the full length zipper and on both side hand pockets. The Montbell logo is on the left front of the jacket.

The micro vents in the armpits appear to be very small and I question their ability to be effective. I will pay close attention to this detail during this test.

IMAGE 4
micro vents in armpits


The inside of the side hand pockets are mesh in a matching navy/gray color and contain the teal pull tab for the bottom hem adjustment.

IMAGE 5
hem pull tabs inside hand pockets


A stuff sack was supplied with the jacket in the same navy/gray color.

The cuffs are sewn using a 5/8 inch (1.6 cm) lightweight elastic band. While they are not adjustable, I had no trouble getting them over my hands during the process of putting on and removing the jacket. During my first test hike, I found the cuffs to be tight enough around my wrists to maintain my body heat in the windy conditions.

IMAGE 6
cuffs

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The washing instructions on the tag inside the jacket indicate to "machine wash warm on the gentle or delicate cycle, do not bleach, iron low, under damp cloth, dryclean, petroleum solvent only, do not wring, line dry in shade".

The Polkatex tag states that "Montbell's unique treatment resists abrasion and maintains performance even after some washing." The tag also indicates the "DWR treatment provides excellent water resistance wear after wear."

TRYING IT OUT

I took the jacket for a two hour local day hike the day after a rainstorm. There were still ominous looking clouds and varying degrees of wind on the hike. I was glad to be wearing this jacket on the top of a ridge when the wind was at its worst on that hike. I did feel some dampness from perspiration, but I also felt the jacket keeping me warm. I am very impressed with the performance of this jacket on my first hike.

SUMMARY

This jacket is designed to be a lightweight addition to the backpackers clothing wardrobe without any excess features that add unnecessary weight. I look forward to getting it out on the trail and experiencing the benefits of this additional piece of clothing that I have not carried on my past backpacking trips.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #1:
Location: Cucamonga Peak near Baldy, California, USA
Elevation: 8,900 ft (2,713 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Trail Conditions: on forest dirt trail
Temperature: 40 to 60 F (4 to 16 C)
Weather: sunny with a cool wind and light mist

Trip #2:
Location: Butler Peak near Big Bear, California, USA
Elevation: 8,500 ft (2,591 m)
Trip Duration: 1 day hike
Trail Conditions: on forest dirt trail
Temperature: 60 F (16 C)
Weather: sunny with 2 inches ( 5 cm) of fresh snow on the ground

Trip #3
Location: Manker Flats trail to Mt. Baldy, California, USA
Elevation: 10,060 ft (3,066 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Trail Conditions: on forest dirt trail
Temperature: 70 F (21 C)
Weather: sunny with a breeze on the ridges and the peak

Trip #4:
Location: Round Valley Campground near San Jacinto, California, USA
Elevation: 9,200 ft (2,804 m)
Trip Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Trail Conditions: on dirt trail
Temperature: 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C)
Weather: sunny

Trip #5:
Location: Icehouse Canyon trail to saddle near Baldy, California, USA
Elevation: 7,600 ft (2,316 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Trail Conditions: on forest dirt trail
Temperature: 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C)
Weather: sunny

Trip #6:
Location: San Gorgonio, California, USA
Elevation: 11,500 ft (3,505 m)
Trip Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Trail Conditions: on forest dirt trail
Temperature: 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C)
Weather: sunny with cool nights

Additional local day hike trips:
Number of day hikes completed in this location: 10
Location: Turtle Rock, Irvine, California
Elevation: 500 ft (152 m)
Trail Conditions: dirt trails
Temperatures: 60 F (18 C)
Weather: evening hikes with a cool breeze on the ridges

IMAGE 1
patch of waist deep snow on the way to San Gorgonio
IMAGE 2
On top of San Gorgonio

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

This lightweight and compact windbreaker has kept me warm in cool weather, wind and light misty conditions. When I am hiking on a ridge and the cool wind gets stronger, I zip up the jacket, put the hood over my head, put my wide brimmed hat over the hood, and tighten the hat drawstring to keep the hood in place. This keeps my body warmth contained under the jacket and keeps the hood from blowing off my head.

The armpit vents are small and some perspiration does build up during strenuous hiking, but the warmth is well worth it. The full front zipper makes it easy to adjust the jacket to my warmth needs as the weather conditions change.

The elastic arm cuffs trap my body heat and do not allow the wind to go up my sleeve.

To test the durable water repellent feature, I purposely kept the windbreaker on during a light mist. On past trips, I would have been wearing my rain jacket in these conditions. The water beaded up and ran off and the windbreaker dried quickly hanging on my pack during a quick snack break. I did not get wet or cold underneath the windbreaker. I was very impressed with the performance of the DWR feature.

The zippered side pockets are useful to carry small items that I use regularly. I also zip the stuff sack into one of the pockets so it doesn't get lost while wearing the jacket. The stuff sack is sized a little larger to make stuffing the jacket quick and easy.

The windbreaker is durable and shows no signs of wear. The seams, zippers, draw cords and material look new.

In the past, I have not carried a windbreaker. I wore my rain jacket when I needed a light jacket to block the wind which doesn't breath as well as this windbreaker. I wanted to avoid carrying the extra weight of another jacket. I much prefer wearing this windbreaker than my rain jacket.

SUMMARY

I feel very fortunate that I got the opportunity to test this windbreaker. It has changed my thinking about carrying a windbreaker in addition to a rain jacket on my future trips. The compact size of this jacket outweighs the slight inconvenience of the minimal extra weight. I will carry it on my future trips.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Additional local day hike trips:
Number of day hikes completed in this location: 10
Location: Turtle Rock, Irvine, California
Elevation: 500 ft (152 m)
Trail Conditions: dirt trails
Temperatures: 60 F (18 C)
Weather: evening hikes with a cool breeze on the ridges

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I continued to use the parka on my local evening hikes as an extra warmth layer. The parka kept me warm when needed and dry in a light mist or beach fog.

The parka has not suffered any damage during this test. It continues to look like new with no wear spots or fraying of the seams.

The durability treatment works to resist abrasion and maintain performance after washing. I washed the parka twice in warm water and hung it on a hanger to dry.

The durable water repellent treatment continued to perform well after each washing.

Some perspiration does build up during strenuous hiking. The small armpit vents do not work effectively to allow the warmth to escape quickly. I try to adjust the full front zipper and then remove the parka as soon as I feel the warmth building up to avoid this issue.

SUMMARY

This windbreaker is an awesome additional piece of gear that is well worth the minimal extra weight and slight bulk. It has changed my thinking about carrying a windbreaker in addition to a rain jacket.

This test series is now concluded. Thanks to Montbell and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > MontBell Wind Blast Parka > Test Report by Frances Penn



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