Billed as the "world's lightest multi-activity clothing", Montane's Featherlite range has quite a bold claim to live up to.
With a claim like that, I was as intrigued as anyone else to see just how well the Featherlite range performs. Having recently got back into mountainbiking, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get out on my bike, head out to the local woods, ride out in the rain and try out some of the products we sell at OutdoorGB.com, all in the name of scientific research and good business.
The first Featherlite product I tried was the Smock Jacket, my first thought was that I had wrapped myself in a giant cigarette paper, but how I was wrong.
The Featherlite Smock is more of a shirt than a jacket, mainly due to the fact it has no pockets or hood. I'm not saying a shirt is officially a shirt and not a jacket when it has no pockets or hood though, it just feels lighter and fits closer to the body, hence the comparison to a cigarette paper!
Not having a hood wasn't too much of a problem for me anyway as I was using it for mountainbiking and was wearing a helmet, people using this for running however would probably make use of a hood in the rain.
No pockets isn't the end of the world, they would be a nice addition but adding them would just increase weight.
At just under 100g, the Featherlite Smock Jacket certainly lives up to its name.
Lighter than an apple and smaller too, the Featherlite Smock Jacket easily fitted into my trouser pocket when it got too hot to be wearing it.
The weight and how compactable the Featherlite Smock Jacket is, is definitely its key feature, any other jacket would be big and bulky and have to be stored in a backpack.
When you feel the weight of the fabric you really see the advantages of having such a lightweight breathable jacket.
It doesn't take much effort to build up a sweat, even in the wettest and coldest conditions and this is where the breathable material comes into play, allowing much more air to circulate than usual.
Trying not to be blinded by science, I am told the material used in the Featherlite Smock Jacket is called Pertex Microlight with shield technology, this is apparantly what makes it reasonably windproof, fairly waterproof and very breathable. For this jacket reasonably windproof is rather impressive, considering how lightweight it is, I was very suprised it stopped any wind at all. But it is and was for my early morning ride. Now what I mean by fairly waterproof is don't go falling into any lakes and be expecting to emerge dry. This jacket will shrug off a shower but it won't work miracles in anything heavier, but for something this small it is utter genius.
The Montane Featherlite Smock is available in electric blue, fluro yellow, graphite (pictured), mango and olive. Find out more information on OutdoorGB.com, here.
Onto the second Featherlite product and if my rudimentary French is anything to go by, this is a product designed especially for using when cycling. The Montane Featherlite Vélo Jacket features a full zip, which makes it much easier to take it on and off without taking off your helmet.
This one is definitely a jacket and not a shirt yet there isn't a hood nor pockets again. The lack of hood is probably down to the fact it is bike-specific but I don't think it would of hurt to have added some pockets.
Like the Smock Jacket, Montane certainly aren't going to have any problems with trading standards, this jacket is truly Featherlite. Again the Featherlite Vélo Jacket comes with it's own stuff sack, which made it easy to stuff in my pocket when I couldn't be bothered to wear it. The Vélo is slightly heavier than the Smock Jacket, slightly being about 25g, making it weigh in at 125g, which is hardly heavyweight.
Again using the same Pertex Microlight material, the Montane Featherlite Vélo Jacket gave good protection from the wind and great breathability. As for protection against the rain, it saved me from the showers but when it started to get heavier I did start to get wet.
The Montane Featherlite Vélo Jacket is available in electric blue/graphite, fluoro yellow/graphite (pictured), red/graphite and black/graphite
After a good old ride and a few scientific tests, I have come up with the following results:
- Both of these jackets are perfect for stowing away for seemingly dry days that could take a turn for the worse
- For their weight the windproofing, water resistance and breathability on both jackets are absolute genius
- For cycling your best bet is the Featherlite Vélo, the full zip stops you having to mess around with your helmet if you want to take the jacket off, the Featherlite Smock is more suited to running or walking
- Reflective fabric is carefully positioned making you visible at all angles
- The drop tail stops you getting splashed with mud
- Neither Montane jackets will stop you getting wet if you like riding out in torrential rain, these jackets are for light unexpected showers, any heavier and you should have checked the weather forecast
- These jackets are freakishly small and light to store
- They do however look a bit creased up when worn!
- They do indeed weigh less and pack smaller than a apple
View the full range of Montane products at OutdoorGB.com here.Back to News Index