Jackets are a fine thing if it’s wet when your leaving the house, but they are not something I like carrying if I don’t have to. Typically, I would say I am a chancer, look at the skies before I leave, wave a wet finger in the air and if I get wet, I get wet.
We were recently given one of Montane’s new Featherlite smocks to use over the tail end of the winter and it’s size and weight turned out to be a bit of a revelation (for me anyway). At lighter than an apple (only 85 grams!) and smaller too this easily fits in one of your back three pockets – it even comes with it’s very own stuff sac. It is made with Pertex Microlight with shield technology which means it is reasonably windproof, fairly waterproof (but won’t withstand any constant deluge) and very breathable.
Once you feel the weight of the fabric you really see the advantages of having such a lightweight breathable jacket. As we all know it doesn’t take much afford to build up a sweat in anything but the wettest and coldest conditions, and the more breathier material and slightly more free cut certainly allows more air to circulate than usual. To this end a lighter weight jacket for either lighter rain or constant drizzle, or warmer conditions has filled a hole in my riding wardrobe better than I could have expected.
The other surprise has been its windproof properties. It is now something that I happily don when some chilly early morning winds are sailing through before the sun warms up the world. Likewise at the end of a long ride (and equally long cafe stop), as the day is cooling down on my way home I have found it to be a fantastic way of keeping my temperature just right.
It has a half front zip and elasticated hem and wrist straps (that are easy to pull up when it gets warmer) and a good size drop tail to protect your lower back. There are seven colours available (Electric, Fluoro Yellow, Mango, Oxblood, Silver, Ivy, Olive (without the reflective dots) and Graphite).
Montane claim the Featherlite is perfect for Running, hiking and (most importantly) Cycling and I tend to agree. However Montanne do do one that is slightly more suited for the cyclist – the Featherlite Velo. It is effectively the same jacket except it has a full length zip and a couple of reflective strips on the back – the extra zip length adds a whole 5 grams, but I bet you don’t notice the difference.
Overall, I think this is a excellent lightweight jacket. Even though it isn’t packed with features like pockets and hoods, who cares when it packs up this small. I now take it with me I am doing anything outdoors from cycling to the footy….just in case. If you have a choice then I’d recommend the Velo as you wont have to mess with your helmet when you take it on and off.