The Rain Trekker from Montbell is a lightweight, 10 ounce, 3-layer rain jacket that utilizes their proprietary DRY-TEK waterproofing technology. With huge pit zips and a breathable design, it’s a breezy, sturdy layer of protection.
Starting with the build, the jacket uses DRY-TEK throughout the entire jacket. This is a thin, lightweight 3-layer material that features a dedicated waterproof membrane, the base fabric, a polyurethane layer, and a DWR finish. The jacket features two 16.5″ pit zips, two rib-level 9″ hand pockets, an adjustable hood, waist and cuffs, and is fully seam sealed. An interesting fact, the jacket is cut from a single piece of fabric, called the “k-mono cut” which reduces the number of seams and reduces mass. It weighs just 9.9 oz, comes in a variety of sizes and colors, and retails for $149.
What I liked
My favorite part about the Rain Trekker is the comfort. Despite being a 3-layer jacket, which is typically thick, stiff, but provides excellent rain protection, the DRY-TEK material is instead soft, thin, and flexes easily. The material feels more similar to a fabric than a typical plasticy outer-shell. The cut is also generously sized, providing plenty enough room for layers underneath, but it’s not cut in a way that comes across as baggy or loose. The inner fabric also feels nice also, with a wicking material that helps prevent clamminess or stickiness that often builds up when hiking with a shell. It also slides nicely against the skin, making is easier to move around while wearing it. Overall, it’s a wonderfully comfortable jacket, especially being a rain jacket.
Rain protection is also quite solid. Anytime I test a lightweight jacket, I usually expect them to start wetting out when they get dirty, sweaty, crinkled up, or just used over a long period of time. However, this hasn’t bee the case with the Rain Trekker. Having a dedicated membrane means the jacket isn’t relying on a simple pray of protection (although it also has that). Instead, this dedicated physical barrier has held strong through a wide range of conditions, without ever letting water through. The outer coating is also rather resilient, consistently beading up water and providing great protection, making this a perfect jacket for longer, multi-day trips in challenging conditions where having a reliable outer-layer is vital.
I was quite impressed with how light and packable the jacket is. It folds up the size a lightweight t-shirt, and considering it’s a 3-layer design, the fact that it weighs just over 9 ounces is fantastic. Typically, I carry a lightweight 2.5 layer for shorter trips with fair weather, or a heavier 3-layer jackets when I really need protection. This jacket actually fills both of those voids, where it’s light enough as a “just in case” layer, but robust enough handle sustained downpours.
Breathability is excellent, thanks in part to the largest pit-zips I’ve ever come across. These things are a massive 16.5″ long, providing fresh, cooler air up nearly the entire jacket on both sides. It doesn’t hurt that the fabric itself is also quite breathable, doing a great job of releasing heat and some moisture buildup. While no jacket will keep all moisture or heat from building up inside, this one is the best I’ve ever tested.
At $149, this is possibly the best priced jacket I’ve ever come across. Most jackets in this category rely solely on 2.5 or 2 layer technology, which simply does not hold up in the long run, often requiring cleaning and the reapplication of DWR to stay viable. Alternatively, good performing 3 layer jackets either weigh substantially more, or are built from cheap, plasticy materials that tear or do not breathe well. This jacket lands at a price-point that I’ve not come across for the performance, and honestly, it outperforms some jackets that cost near double.
I love the elevated hand pockets as they’re positioned high enough up so that backpack hip straps do not impede their usage, a particular pet peeve of mine. There’s nothing worse than hiking in cold, wet rain and not being able to use your waterproof pockets because of your hip belt, but that’s no issue here. The zippers also slide smoothly and effortlessly, which is always a plus.
The jacket also looks great, with a sleek, high performance, yet still restrained color and fabric pattern. You can obviously tell by looking that it’s a well built jacket, but it doesn’t flaunt it or stand out too much.
What I didn’t like
So far, I’m yet to find anything about this jacket that I don’t like. I checks every box that I personally have for a outerlayer, and has held up wonderfully. I worked hard to find something to complain about, but I just couldn’t.
If the previous paragraph doesn’t explain it well enough, this is a fantastic jacket. It’s light weight, breathable, doesn’t get too hot, and manages to shrug off everything short of a deluge with no problems at all. The fabrics feel great against the skin, the sizing is great, and it serves in multiple positions as a lightweight rain jacket, a heavy hitting 3 layer, and even works well as a wind jacket thanks to it’s lack of clamminess and impressive breathability/venting. I never once felt like I was making a sacrifice or a trade-off when stuffing it into my pack, and the pricing is just right. As far as light-weight jackets go, this is one of, if not the best overall, jacket I’ve ever tested.
The highest of recommendations
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