Montane Featherlite Pants Review
How light can a pair of trews get? Not much lighter than the Montante Featherlite pants that’s for sure. Suitable for those fast and light summer trips, running in less favourable conditions or as an emergency layer in your waist pack on a trail or fell run.
As new, the Durable Water Repellancy treatment means that water beads excellently. I’ve tried water resistant trousers in the past and they’ve never been that effective against serious rain. I wouldn’t expect these to be much better. A run in the rain saw the backs of my legs get wet, but it was driving, heavy rain and definitely beyond what you’d expect a pair of water resistant trousers to endure. As a bonus, they still stopped the wind and dried off soon enough afterwards. Where they do excel is in very light rain, when regular gear will slowly absorb the drizzle and you get wet by stealth. The Featherlite pants have just enough water resistance to keep you comfortable in such conditions, and anything beyond this you’ll need over-trousers or accept that you’re just going to get wet.
The fact that you’ve got the bare minimum of room in these is testament to the extremes that Montane will go to to ensure that these trousers are light as possible. What’s the use of having fabric flapping about when you can remove it and reduce weight a few grammes? They’ve even done away with pockets to produce the lightest trews available. What’s most heartening about that is the quality that’s gone into these. The zips at the ankles as well as making them a breeze to put these on over shoes are also, as you can see from the images, well made and not the usual flimsy offerings you’d expect at this minimal weight. This is a sensible compromise between weight, usability and durability. They also pack down into a rather tidy little stuff sac, and hardly take up any space.
However, fellow pie-lovers beware as these are a very active fit simiar to the rest of the active gear that Montane produces, so you may want to double check on the sizing and up it. I just about managed to squeeze into a Large, and while the fit was close, there was more than enough room in them to make running in them quite comfortable. They fit over a pair of compression shorts, but only just fit over regular running shorts for me, which is a shame as they’d be useful as an extra layer on those quick summit dashes in summer when the summit turns out to be bit cooler and breezier than anticipated. Going up a size would solve that.
There’s little or no insulation value to these either, they merely cut back the wind and can initially feel a little cool to wear. As there’s no ventilation zips (as if on such light trews!) it all balances out once you’re on the move and you start to warm up. There’s also no build up of sweat in these, thanks to the Pertex Microlite fabric which proves itself extremely breathable. As an added bonus, there’s even a little bit of reflective trim to make you a little more visible on night runs. The fabric feels exceptionally flimsy, but so did my original Featherlite Smock, which other than the logo wearing off is perfectly good after years of abuse.
Now I wouldn’t use these for scrambling, but for those damp trail runs when you may need a little protection or for fast-packing outings where weight is at an absolute premium then these are well suited and should be standard on any ultralight backpacker’s kit list, just be careful with the sizing as it helps if you’re also a bit of a lightweight.