Adam our Bristol Store Assistant Manager gets to grips with this great jacket.

Initial Thoughts

I have been fortunate enough to have the chance to test out the Minimus Lite jacket from Montane. The jacket is aimed at runners, hikers, cyclists and everyday use which is exactly what I’ve been using it for over the past couple of months. The Minimus Lite is really packable and breathable which are the two qualities that I look for in a general ‘do it all’ shell. With the four seasons in a day weather we can expect in UK, I had high hopes for this jacket to be my all in one solution for regular day to day activities.

The first thing that struck me about this jacket was the colour. I know that looks are subjective and shouldn’t dictate what outdoor gear you purchase but as this is my daily jacket for around town and out in the countryside, for me aesthetics are important and the active cut coupled with the electric blue instantly jumped out as something I’d want to throw on.

Weighing in at an impressive 215g, the Minimus Lite has a 2.5 layer fully seam-taped construction and is made from a 20 denier pertex shield fabric. It’s quite stretchy, lovely and soft to the touch and packs down really small which is perfect for chucking in your pack in case of a potential shower.

The jacket comprises two outer pockets, pre-elasticated cuffs and a fully adjustable hood. Whilst not the most feature rich jacket out there, it’s really functional and meets all of my basic needs. The elastic on the cuffs is just enough to minimise heat loss whilst still not feeling tight and restricting.

When I’m cycling, this is really handy as I can slip the cuffs over my gloves easily without having to adjust any straps. The hood sits nicely inside my helmet when it rains and the semi-rigid peak keeps the drips away from my eyes. So for commuting I would say this jacket gets a big thumbs up from me.

For an around town shell, I found the Minimus Lite to be excellent. As mentioned before, its packability means I can throw it in my bag and it hardly takes up any room. It packs down to about the size of a large fist, small foot, maybe even a Jack Russel’s head depending on your preferred metric. The criteria for an around town for me is pretty simple. Does it look good? Does it keep me dry? Is it packable?

I can confidently say it passes these tests also with flying colours.

On The Hill

Now this jacket is really light so clearly not made for carrying a heavy pack on multi day trips but I like to push gear just to see how capable it is so when we went on a 3 day trip to Dartmoor National park I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see how it held up to a bit of abuse. The first two days we had some pretty good weather during the day and dropped down to 2 degrees at night.

The Minimus Lite was a really nice piece to wear whilst relaxing in the evening due to it being really soft. It helped retain my body heat without that feeling of wearing a heavy duty crisp packet, crinkling away with each minor movement.

For the first 3 or 4 hours of each morning it was still overcast and quite chilly. As we got going and our bodies warmed up there was a period where it was too cold not to wear a jacket and I was too warm with the jacket on. This is where I found the lack of pit zips to be the jacket’s biggest draw back. Fast forward to day 3 and the gear testing gods delivered about 4 hours of constant rain.

I was expecting water to work its way through the shoulders where my bag straps were but the doubts were proven wrong as I found no water ingress through any point of the jacket despite having a 15kg pack on.

There were slight abrasion marks where the straps rested on my collar bones but as this heavy use really isn’t what the jacket is designed for, again it passed the Dartmoor test with a distinction.

My Conclusion

To summarize the Minimus Lite I would say it is stylish and fit for the task. The only drawback I can think of which could be a deal breaker for some is the lack of pit zips. Whilst it is breathable, if you’re doing intense exercise, you will find yourself getting a bit sweaty. If pit zips aren’t an essential then this could be the perfect choice. I’ve been very impressed and it’s by far the most comfortable shell I’ve used.