This is a jacket that I’ve been very keen to get my hands on and those nice people at Webtogs have very kindly sent me one to review. Although I’ve been a long time user of Paramo, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the warmer months it’s overkill and that I need to have a more flexible clothing system, hence, my interest in lightweight waterproofs.
In the past I’ve dabbled with the Marmot Mica (209g) and TNF DIAD (202g) jackets. Neither has been totally satisfactory. The Mica has one of the worst hoods I’ve ever used. The DIAD is not the most breathable of jackets and is a bit short.
Enter the Montane Minimus. On the swing tag it claims 200g but on the Montane website it says 227g (M). My large size weighs 228g. It comes with a small mesh sack (12g).
Webtogs has given me a black jacket, which looks very smart. It is also available in blue and vivid green (don’t think they will get many takers for that colour!). It has some reflective dots and flashes for safety and to add a little bit of style.
My first impressions are that Montane could have a real winner on their hands here. It’s got all the features I want in a jacket but with nothing superfluous. The material is very light and silky, similar to silnylon. It feels more like a wind shirt than a waterproof jacket. It is slightly crackly but not in an extreme crisp packet way like paclite. The inner surface is pleasant to the touch, not slick and clammy like many membranes. All the seams are tape sealed.
The hood is a real joy for such a lightweight jacket. It’s not too big, not too small, and has a proper elasticated volume adjuster, which is a welcome improvement compared with the Velcro adjuster on the old Montane Quickfire. The hood draw-cord has single handed adjusters, secured in tunnels. There is also a proper wired peak. Overall, it seems to fit very well and is certainly the best hood of any Montane waterproof I’ve owned (i.e. Superfly, Quickfire and Lite-speed H2O). Finally, there’s the standard Montane tab to roll away the hood.
Another weakness of many lightweight jackets is the main zip. Montane have used a reasonably substantial water-resistant zip backed by an excellent internal storm flap. The storm flap has a stiffener and a “fold-back” seam to ensure that any moisture will drain down along the flap and not spread. The zip itself moves freely, unlike some water-resistant zips and has a puller with a plastic toggle. There is a small fold of material at the top of the zip, which is micro fleece like the beard guard. I guess this might get a bit damp, but it shouldn’t be an issue.
The Minimus has one good sized Napoleon pocket, which is large enough to take an OS 1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure map. The backing is mainly mesh, but the bottom of the pocket is solid, a good idea in case any water gets in. The zip is not water-resistant. Personally I would have preferred a water-resistant one. However, it has an outer rain flap and an internal storm flap, so it should be weatherproof. There’s also a small plastic D ring to secure a key ring.
The sleeves are excellent, with good mobility. The cuffs are asymmetric so the outside is longer than the inside, a feature that I like. They are long enough to completely cover my hands. The closure is hook and loop with rubberised tabs. The bottom hem of the jacket has an elasticated cord with a cord lock on either side.
The standard of workmanship is high and the cut is good. As usual with Montane, the large is the correct size for me compared with medium that I normally take for most other manufacturers (e.g. Rab). At £107.99 at Webtogs, I reckon that’s good value for a well specified, very light jacket.
My first impressions are very favourable and I’m looking forward to taking the Minimus on my next trip, which will be for a few days in the Lakes at the end of May. It’s the first very lightweight jacket that I’ve felt happy with. It’s 100g lighter than the old Quickfire jacket, which apart from the hood volume adjuster is a great jacket.
The most interesting thing to find out will be the performance of the Pertex Shield material. Will it be as breathable as eVent? Can the membrane get overwhelmed like paclite? Hopefully I’ll have some answers in a couple of weeks’ time. I’ll also give you some more photos.
Disclosure: Webtogs provided this item free of charge. I have complete editorial freedom and the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. You knew that anyway, but I just thought I’d make it 100% clear.