Thursday, 7 October 2010

Montane Featherlite Smock

I needed a ridiculously lightweight water resistant windproof as a top which would get me through 8 hour adventure races- something without a hood- extraneous weight- something that was light- and packed down crazy small.

I saw the montane featherlite a few years ago- no hood, made of pertex microlite- at 52g per m squared.
its a smock, (less zip to weigh it down), drop tail for on the bike, and packs down to the size of a small squashy apple.

Ive used it on about 15 races now, its always in the pack, and is un-noticable in terms of weight, and pack size. I tend to wear it just over a helly- but only when it starts to get a bit nasty. If you're getting cold, youre not moving fast enough.

When running, I have noticed that because I cinch my pack down on my back massively- so that it just doesnt move, it has melted and deformed the back of the jacket. However, thats the heat from the friction, and really, nothing is going to stop that apart from not wearing a backpack.

This is an image of the bobbly melted patch on the back of the jacket... as you can see, a crease has been melted into it.

horrendous rain and gale force winds, races that demand hoods and taped seams.
The closest Ive come to hypothermia was with this jacket, in spring on Brighton Downs. I went out for a run, it was a lot colder than anticipated, and the rain really came in, and it got nasty.
Despite having this layer on, we bumbled through another 10 miles or so, getting colder, and more depressed, it wasnt nice, and I sat in a space blanket on the train on the way home. If I had a bigger, slightly more waterproof jacket, it might not have been so bad.
However, that was my own stupid fault- but at least I found the limits of the smock.

At £45 its done me well for about 3 years of wear, I use it for cycle commuting when it gets nasty and is generally the top layer in the depths of winter. Anything else would be too damn hot.

It doesnt breathe particularly well, do not expect to stay bone dry, but expect it to keep the worst away from you for a short time, be windproof and comfortable when dry, brilliant when commuting, an excellent emergency jacket, or a top layer for an 8 hour race- (but probably not overnight- get something a bit beefier for that).

good layer
excellent "just in case" smock for people who need light light light.

melts a bit on the back with friction
not waterproof
not crazy breathable (but what is?)
might not be enough in dire situations. (but at least better than nowt)

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