MontBell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Great for backcountry travel and a winter mid-layer.
- Warmth to weight
- Long enough in back
- Good layering piece
- Pockets don't zip if wearing as outer layer
- Separate stuff sack
- Stretchy cuff can rip easily (but helps fit)
I bought this jacket for an insulating layer for backpacking for work in the Central Sierra Nevadas. It gets cold at night and I needed a jacket that wasn't fleece, that I could cook in, sleep in, and put on in the mornings.
This jacket is long enough in the torso (I have a longer torso) and in the arms (some other brands are too short in the arms). Of course right after I bought this, the slightly heavier version of this, the Thermawrap BC Jacket, with zip pockets came out. If I could make a purchasing decision again, I would have leaned more toward the Thermawrap BC in terms of functionality as an outer layer in the backcountry.
For skiing in general, I liked the warmth and wicking properties of this jacket in colder weather under a shell. I paired this with the Rab Latok Jacket and this system is my favorite for colder days doing front and slackcountry skiing.
Down sweaters don't wick in the armpits and chest/back for me. The Montbell UL Thermawrap did.
Price Paid: $120
I got a Thermawrap jacket on sale several years ago as I've been gradually replacing old/worn gear with lighter stuff. This fit the bill for 3-season (and as winter sweater layer) when moisture was likely in the offing.
The jacket provides insulation, wind protection, and goes into my pillow case when backpacking. Very, very versatile and super light. As reviewers have noted, it's sized a bit small, so I opted to size-up one, so that I can wear with a couple of layers underneath.
They also make a hooded version (parka) that would come in handy in some conditions. There are lots more options available now (with synthetic and increasingly, down insulation) than when I got this.
I also have a First Ascent down sweater (separate review) that I like and use when conditions are drier. But all in all, it's easy to recommend the versatility of the Thermawrap!
Fabric: Micro 15 denier ripstop nylon
Fill: Exeloft (amazing!)
Price Paid: $140
Alien Technology! I've owned this THING for six years. I've bicycle commuted with it and a merino base-layer in the winter while living in Sasebo, Japan, and remained completely comfortable. Also have traveled in and about Seattle and New York State during the colder months.
I remember recently walking around near Times Square in February (after returning on a flight from TX) with others completely bundled and myself being quite comfortable with this, and a OR Peruvian Hat on. I can only wish that they made puffy mitts too!
An improvement that I'd love to see is stowage in a sewn on pocket compartment, instead of a separate stuff sack (that rarely gets used or brought with me).
Fabric: 15-denier Ballistic Airlight calendered nylon shell & lining
Fill: Exceloft synthetic insulation
Price Paid: $90
I definitely don't leave home without this jacket in the winter. No it doesn't get that cold in the Valley of the Sun, but up in the northern part of Arizona it gets wet, windy and snowy too.
This compresses down to almost nothing so I can store it anywhere. I almost wish I lived further North so I could justify buying the UL Down version!
Fabric: 15 dienir ripstop - i.e. thin
Fill: "excelloft" (polyester I think)
Price Paid: $129
I got this jacket to replace a 20 oz down jacket for summer trips. The weight is only 8.2 oz in my size, and I thought the synthetic insulation would be better in damp weather. When it arrived, I almost sent it back. Light, yes, but so thin, I could not believe it could actually provide warmth.
Well, I kept it and it has made a believer of me, it is amazingly windproof and warm. With midweight underwear and a gore-tex shell I am good to near zero F. It stuffs very small, about 4"x 7". All in all, a really excellent product. Even has a small draft flap for the zipper. Pockets might be nice, but at this fabulous light weight, like Montbell says, the weight of a T-shirt, I checked, it's true, I can get along without frills.
Price Paid: $139
Bought this for a trip to Philmont. Great lightweight jacket.
Price Paid: $140
Pros: really warm for its weight, pretty waterproof in a light rain, slender fit to allow for layering
Cons: none that I have found thus far.
I bought the jacket to replace fleece as a top layer in cool weather and a middle layer under a shell for cold/wet weather. The jacket breathes well under a shell and is amazingly warm as a top or mid layer.
Sizing is a pretty slender fit, so you might need to size up.
Bottom line: highly recommended.
Price Paid: $140
Great jacket. Very light, super packable and very warm for it’s weight and bulk. Perfect layering piece or just worn on its own. I use this with/under a Patagonia Guide Jacket and with the two it’s the best layering system I’ve ever owned. This is the first MontBell product I have purchased but will definitely not be my last.