The Rain Trekker from Montbell is an incredibly light-weight 6.9 ounce jacket designed to provide warmth, wind protection, and light rain resistance.
The Rain Trekker is a 2 layer jacket, built from Gore-tex Infinium Windstopper. This is a very light weight material that is composed of a thin outer fabric layer, and a breathable and water resistant inner layer that have been laminated together. The jacket has two zippered hand pockets, an adjustable hood, Velcro adjustable cuffs, and an elastic adjustable waist. Designed to be as light as possible, it also uses the impressive Komo Cut technique, which makes almost the entire jacket, aside from the hood, out of a single uninterrupted piece of fabric. The goal is to reduce seams, which reduces weight, improves reliability, and also eliminates many places that water could otherwise seep in. The jacket is available in four colors, a Male and Female variation, includes a stuff sack, and retails for $179.
Comfort wise, the Rain Trekker has been a real treat for me. The material is incredibly light-weight, which gives it an almost feathery feel when wearing it. Combine this with the surprisingly pleasant feel of the inner fabric, the Gore-Tex membrane, and the result is something that is barely noticeable in motion. It’s smooth, slides gently across the skin when articulating the arms, and the breathable fabric really keeps heat and internal humidity in check. The waist is a little narrow, which is appropriate for a rain jacket as it helps keep the weather out, but the rest of the jacket provides ample interior for elbows, shoulders and the like. It’s one of the most comfortable 2-layer wind layers that I’ve ever tested.
The jacket also provides rather good wind stopping capability. On cool days into the low 60’s (F) or higher 50’s, I found that the jacket provided just enough protection to keep the chill off of me, without creating any heat buildup, which is important. It can easily be layered and worn in the low 40’s or even 30’s with some activity, and there is enough room for something as thick as a lightweight synthetic fill jacket underneath. It does shed rain and does a good job at keeping the water out, however it isn’t really built for hard sustained exposure, so keep this in mind. A surprise shower on a bicycle commute or hike is no problem, but for long days hiking in the rain you should go with something a bit more designed for that particular purpose.
Weight and packability are both excellent here, with a packed size about that of a canned iced tea and a wispy pack weight of less than seven ounces. The included stuff sack does a great job of compressing it down, but I generally just stuff it directly into a (clean) pack instead as it takes up so little room as is.
Durability seems good for such a light weight garment. It is rather thin of course, so some care will need to be applied to make it last its longest, but so far I’ve had no issues with general wear and tear. The shoulders have held up well to having a backpack tossed over them, and none of the seams (which are impressively constructed and barely perceptible from the outside) have had any signs of wearing out. I’ve also not had to re-apply the water-proofing, probably due to the more permanent nature of it having a dedicated water resistant membrane inside.
Being a minimalist jacket, you’re going to miss out on things like interior pockets, a chest pocket, or any other additional features, but it does have all the most important elements, like an adjustable hood, cuffs, and elevated hand pockets (to avoid conflicting with backpack hip straps).
The Montbell Rain Trekker has been a wonderful jacket. It has quickly become the outer layer that I toss into my backpack, “just in case”. If I suspect a stray rain shower may slip by, or perhaps some surprise wind, I will stuff it into whatever pack I’m using and head on my way. Oftentimes, I will forget I have it in my backpack and carry it along with me for multiple trips, completely unaware of its existence until I need it. This is a testament to the wonderfully low packed weight and compressibility. It’s fairly durable, looks quite nice, and really performs well, be it stationary waiting for a bus or out huffing it up a long trail. It’s breathable, feels great, and is reasonably priced for the quality of materials on display. It’s not a replacement for a heavier rain jacket, but for occasional bouts of bad weather, this is an excellent option.
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