The Montane Minimus 777 is a 3-layer waterproof breathable…
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Montane for testing and review)
The Montane Minimus 777 is a 3-layer waterproof breathable jacket that eschews weight by using 7 denier fabrics for the membrane, inner and outer face (hence the name). It is spartan by design, but at only 4.7 oz still packs a hood, elasticized hem and cuffs, singular chest pocket, and water resistant zip.
It would be best for trail running, thru hikers, or UL backpackers.
- Reflective details
- Zipper colour
*For reference I am 6 foot, 170 lbs and received a men's large (42" chest, 34" waist).
The fit of this jacket is spot on. Slim, so as not to flap around during a run, but not so snug that you can’t slip a light insulating layer underneath. A thin down vest or fleece can be worn without feeling restrictive.
The sleeve length is on the long size, which is nice, especially as the arms are well articulated so the jacket doesn’t ever ride up, no matter how high you are reaching. I find the area around the forearm to be a little bit baggy but not obnoxiously so.
The hood is a nice size and feels equally as comfortable with a baseball hat, toque or bare. It is designed to fit under a helmet nicely as opposed to the norm of an oversized over the helmet. This all but eliminates the possibility of using it in more alpine environments where pulling your hood on and off, over a helmet is the easiest way to regulate heat.
The only adjustment is a horizontal elastic running along the back of the hood. It does not cut down on your peripheral vision at all, which I find very important in a running jacket (especially).
None really. Well, very little I guess.
I received the pull on version (there is a full zip jacket version) so there is a half length zipper to vent, and the cuffs and waist are both elasticized. There are no cord-locks or velcro tabs to fiddle with. I personally like it that way (for a minimalist running jacket).
BREATHABILITY / WATER RESISTANCE
Off the charts. Not having pit zips, or a full length zipper, the Pertex Shield+ is relied upon solely to vent. And it does. I’d given up on on running in a shell. There was just no point. I was going to get as wet as I did in the pouring rain. TMI- I sweat a lot, especially while running.
This jacket changes my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I still sweat, it just does a far greater job of venting it. As good as or better than Gore-tex, or Event, or Hyvent, or Dry.Q, or NeoShell, or….you get it. I’ve tried a lot of them. The half zip and ability to roll the sleeves up high help to dump a lot of extra heat as well.
I’ve used the jacket over the course of four months for hiking, biking, running (both trail and road), and commuting to and from work on rollerblades. So far the winter has not provided the most challenging conditions for a shell (very low precipitation and low humidity). However even high exertion activities—like running up the local escarpment stairs (100m)—it has performed admirably.
The 7 denier fabrics feel very comfortable against the skin and the jacket doesn’t give you that clammy “stick to your skin” feeling. The little precipitation I have incurred have beaded up and rolled off as I would expect. I will be updating this section once I’ve had the chance to test the jacket through the wetter spring season.
CONSTRUCTION AND DURABILITY
Upon receiving the jacket I gave it a good look over. All seams are straight and flat, micro seam tape is well done, and there are no loose threads anywhere. The attention to detail is top notch. Montane boasts that the seam stitch count is 12-13 compared to an industry standard of 8. While I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed the extra stitch count, or ever will, the quality of work is present.
Make no mistake though. This is no bushwacking shell. Not unless you want to throw your money away. Quick brushes against branches, while biking or running, haven’t hurt it, but you're playing with fire against anything spiky.
What is truly remarkable (to me) is that a near full featured shell jacket can be made under 5 oz. It used to be that you had to make major sacrifices to get a wp/b to the 8 oz mark. This jacket packs the performance into the weight usually reserved only for wind shirts.
I haven’t used it for any winter backpacking, preferring a more traditional heavier 3L shell. However when wearing it under a day hiking pack or rollerblading to work with a pack on, the top shoulder section hasn’t shown any signs of wear. I foresee this being a near perfect three-season backpacking shell. At under five ounces, and packing into its own pocket, you won't even notice it in your pack, until you need it.
Very small nitpick here but the reflective details are very underwhelming. Even under low light when hit with a direct beam (flashlight or car headlamps) they attract very little extra attention. Not as big a deal when trail running, but if you do a lot of road running it's a bit of a letdown. I’d like to see these provide a little more safety by becoming more reflective.
My only other small dislike is the awkward zipper colour—it's a little yellowy/green. It reminds me of a nice phlegm colour. Yellow or green would have been fine, but it's too in the middle for my liking. Personal preference though.
There is one smallish chest pocket on the left breast. Big enough for keys, wallet, or cell phone, although not all at the same time. I usually only bring a house key and ID when running anyway so it's not a negative to me.
The Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On does everything I would expect from an UL shell, and it does it well. I have been testing it now for more than four months (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar) and have come away nothing but impressed. The breathability and water resistance are both great (even though those two things are often at odds with one another), and the fit is spot on.
I’ll be sure to update my findings as the temperatures warm up a little.