Martha our Taunton Store Assistant Manager gives us her thoughts.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on Montane’s new Women’s Minimus Lite Waterproof Jacket which accompanied me on our recent staff trip across Dartmoor, where I could really put it to the test.

Looking into the distance, praying for rain to properly test the Jacket!

This simplistic jacket boats a minimalist feature set to help reduce weight that does not lessen its performance and has since become a staple in my everyday life.

Having a lightweight and easily packable coat is always desirable. Weighing in at only 200g, the Minimus Lite makes for a nifty hiking companion that is significantly lighter than many other waterproof jackets on the market. This makes it super easy to shove into my bag and not occupy heaps of room, ideal for keeping my pack weight down.

How it Fits

The Minimus Lite is part of Montanes trim fit. Trim fit is designed to offer a closer fit, great for fastmoving, active use.  Designed as an active layer perfect for running, I personally sized up from my usual 10 to a size 12 to allow for me to fit an insulated jacket underneath as I am prone to being very cold.

I found the 10, whilst a closer trim fit, had very short arms. It was a more comfortable fit but since it is a close-fitting running jacket, it didn’t leave room for thick base layers, I benefited having the extra room in a size 12 (for reference I am 5’7”).  However, I did find the coat bulged when not wearing the added layers- a mistake on my part.

Super light face fabric has plenty of stretch and breathability

The benefit of having that closer trim fit is the added articulation, which really accommodates fast moving activity, optimising trail running and lightweight hiking so it’s up to personal preference. The fully adjustable hood has a wired peak and three points of adjustment that are super easy to adjust. Maybe not the most stylish of hoods but does the job keeping the rain off and didn’t hinder my vision or movements.

The part-elasticated shaped wrist cuffs help minimise heat lost and reduce weight by not using annoying hook and loop tabs, although the sleeves did come up a little short.

I loved how stretchy it is, especially for a hardshell jacket. As a result, it allows for great movement, whether it’s hiking for multiple days across Dartmoor with a heavy pack or running on rainy days. Having worn this jacket all day long on particularly drizzly days, I found my movements unhindered, and I’ve appreciated just how comfortable it is for a hardshell.

Wrapped up warm with plenty of layers underneath, glad I sized up

The Tech Spec

The 20 denier PERTEX® SHIELD 2.5-layer stretch nylon fabric gives it a much less crinkly feel relative to other hard-shells. That, along with the added stretch, meant the Minimus lite lacked that ‘crisp packet’ feeling so commonly felt in waterproof jackets and was super comfortable to wear all day. With a hydrostatic head of 20,000mm, and whilst not boasting as much as the 28,000mm of GORE-TEX, I find it coped well with the typical British weather. 

Whilst it may not compare to the hydrostatic head and ruggedness of a 3-layer GORE-TEX jacket, the 20D nylon fabric makes it surprisingly breathable, especially for something so slim fitting. This makes it ideal for its use as a heavy-duty running jacket, or something for those fast-paced hikes.

Taking my time….I don’t think it is THAT waterproof

On The Hill

The Minimus lite jacket came with me on our recent staff trip walking point to point across Dartmoor. Having never used a PERTEX® SHIELD garment before, I was worried about how it might hold up against the elements, but it really surprised me. Even after quite a few hours of continuous rain, and some hail, raindrops were still beading nicely across most of the coat. It had wetted-out where the hip belt of my pack pressed against it, but that is to be expected with the continuous contact. The fully seam taped construction and the YKK AQUAGUARD® on both the front zip (along with an internal storm flap) and pockets gave that extra bit of waterproof protection too.

When walking across Dartmoor, I valued the breathability, I didn’t overheat too much walking all day. Even when wearing it as more of a windproof layer on the dry sunny days. Similarly, since returning and walking my dog or running in warmer rain spells, I haven’t been too hot. Being 20D, the jacket is considerably thinner than that of a GORE-TEX shell, since it’s really designed as protection whilst running, however this jacket will still hold up regarding durability (just not as much as those thicker garments).  

The Minimus has two pockets also with the AQUAGUARD® YKK zips. These aren’t particularly large but good enough to keep your phone, keys, and a snack bar or two! I had trouble accessing the pockets with my hip belt from my pack, but the coat isn’t necessarily designed for use with a large pack- so this is understandable. When running or dog walking, they’re perfect.

I had the ‘allium’ colourway of Minimus lite jacket, a light purple/pink colour; a refreshing step away from the plainer colours often dominating the world of women’s waterproofs. Although if you prefer, the Women’s Minimus lite comes in a stylish dark ‘Eclipse Blue’.

Final Thoughts

Both happy to see some brighter colours for a change

Overall, I was super happy with the performance of the Minimus jacket. With PERTEX® SHIELD a cheaper option to other waterproof membranes, it is great to have a reliable waterproof that still performs well in the British rain without having to shell out! That matched with it’s great packability and lightweight nature makes it a great companion for my hiking trips.

When not doing long-distanced hikes, I still utilise the jacket all the time, for dog-walking and my commute to walk and it delivers. If it’s a super technical and ground-breaking waterproof shell you’re after, then perhaps look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for lightweight waterproof protection, the Minimus Lite might be right for you. The minimalist style yet quality performance of the Minimus Lite is ideal for those fast-paced hiking trips or drizzly trail runs. The stretchy, lightweight feel accommodates lots of movement and yet doesn’t compromise on waterproof ability.