Classic Gear Review 6 – Montane Windproof Featherlite Smock
Of all the bits of gear I’ll carry on a day walk or longer trip, there’s not a single item that outperforms this gram for gram. At only 100g or so, the Montane Windproof packs down to barely the size of an apple and is perfect on breezy days when you’re working hard, but need just a little bit more protection. Being windproof as opposed to waterproof means you don’t get drenched in sweat, and is ideal for trail and general running when the weather’s not so good.
I’ve sometimes not bothered taking this and usually regretted it. Sweating my way up a hill, using a waterproof to keep the wind out for the sake of saving 100g in weight.
This is a simple windproof smock that does just that with no frills. There are no pockets, the cuffs are just elasticated and you’re surprsied that there’s even a half zip on the front. It’s equally at home on the hill or running. Being so compact, you may be able to squeeze it into a shorts pocket or equally it can be tied securely around your waist if you get too warm. Claimed to pack down to the size of various medium sized fruits such as oranges and apples (of the granny smith variety, not cooking), it takes virtually no room. In use, it’s very effective for cutting out the wind, which is unexpected as first considering how thin and flimsy the pertex is. It doesn’t protect you for long from the rain, but is enough to protect from short showers and even if you get drenched, you’ll still be protected from windchill.
The Featherlite Smock is available in various colours, and while mine is discreet graphite that photographs poorly, the next one is likely to be fuoro yellow in time for the winter night runs. It did originally come with small reflectives on the arm, but they’ve long gone!
This is an ideal pack and forget windproof for walking, but you’ll probably find yourself taking this out of your pack more often than anything else. If you run, then this makes an ideal top for those foul weather runs where a full on waterproof would be too warm. Overall, a versatile piece of kit that you’ll find yourself using for all sorts of activities. Montane now produce an even lighter windproof, the Slipstream GL (an astonishing 65g!) if you want to get the lightest of anything going!