MONTBELL VERSALITE PANTS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M KIDD
INITIAL REPORT - November 30, 2013
Steven M Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
173 lb (78.50 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Image Courtesy Montbell|
Manufacturer: MontBell Co.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.montbell.com
MSRP: US $99.00
Listed Weight: 3.6 oz (105 g)* Size Medium
Measured Weight: 3.7 oz (102 g)* Testing Size Large
Accompanying Stuff Sack: 0.3 oz (8.50 g)
Sizes Available: S/M/L/XL
The MontBell Versalite Pants are marketed as a "truly Ultra Light waterproof/breathable garment that doesn't skimp on the features". In fact the Versalite Pants and Versalite Jacket, which are sold separately, boast a sub-11 oz (312 g) combined weight. I am also testing the jacket and reporting on it in a separate series on BackpackGearTest.org.
The material is 15-denier Ballistic Airtight rip-stop nylon. The pants have an elasticized waist with a draw cord, but there are no ankle zips. The seams are fully taped. The material is a 2.5 layer Super Hydro BreezeŽ technology and to save weight MontBell states the pants use Smart Sewing Technology.
The previously mentioned fabric, 2.5-layer Super Hydro BreezeŽ technology, is rated as follows: (Water resistance: 20,000 mm Breathability: 20,000 g/m˛/ 24 hrs).
Fortuitously, the Versalite pants and jacket arrived on my doorstep on a cool rainy afternoon. I was excited to see them arrive in a package that was around the same size as a ream of paper, yet it weighed much less. In fact I could barely feel anything within the contents of the corrugated box as I knelt down to pick it up.
|Close-up of the Leg Cinch Cord|
The material felt paper thin and smooth, yet not slippery. I was impressed and glad to see this 15-denier fabric in rip-stop. I own a few down sleeping bags and quilts that use 15, 10 or 7-denier fabrics, but I never expected a rain pants to be this thin.
These 3.7 oz (102 g) pants really have no frills. They do have an elasticized waist and a drawstring, but there are no pockets or zippers anywhere to be found. In fact the leg hems only have a cinch cord but nothing that will keep them taut. I don't see them staying tight without putting an overhand knot in the cord, and that could be tedious to undo when I want to remove them. Since there is no snap or hook and loop closure at the pant leg bottom, rather merely the cord I'd prefer to have seen a cord lock to keep the cuff secured. I personally don't feel these few grams would have sacrificed too much, and the true gram-weenies could've simply removed them if they wished.
|Stuffed Next to a Soda Can|
The stuff sack itself weighed 0.3 oz (8.50 g) when I placed it on the scales, bringing the combined weight of the sack and pants to 4.0 oz (113 g) for large pants. I typically wear a medium in most MontBell items, but I went up a size as I generally always do with rain gear. I rarely use the stuff sack that accompanies all MontBell products. Typically I stuff the item into itself within a pocket, but as these pants have none I will probably use this sack.
So long as this very thin fabric truly holds up to inclement weather I'm certain to be impressed. They weigh a third less than my next lightest pair of rain pants, and I often perspire inside that pair. I truly hope the thin nature of the Versalite pants allows them to be more breathable.
|The Weight Test!|
I'm very excited to begin testing the MontBell Versalite pants over the next several months. I look forward to a vigorous test, seeing how breathable they are and how well they hold up to heavy rains. I'm also interested in the durability of the very thin material.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
I'm quite impressed with the ultra lightweight nature of these pants. I'm also happy with both the overall weight reduction I will save and the nominal space the pants will take up in my pack. The only thorn I potentially see in these pants at the outset is a lack of cord locks on the cinch cords at the cuffs.
I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and MontBell Co. for allowing me to test the Versalite Pants.
Read more reviews of MontBell gear
Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd