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Montane Minimus Smock Hard Shell Review

Montane Minimus Smock Rain Shell
Montane Minimus Smock Rain Shell

The Montane Minimus Smock is an incredibly lightweight pullover style, waterproof breathable hard shell weighing just 5.7 ounces in a size XL. Made out of 15 and 40 denier Pertex Shield+, the Minimus Smock is so lightweight that it feels like you are wearing a wind shirt, although it can serve double duty as a waterproof, breathable rain shell if you are willing to forego some of the added features of a fully featured technical rain jacket in exchange for weight and packed size savings.

For example, the Minimus Smock doesn’t have a hood brim or anyway to tighten the fit of the hood around the face or back of the head, it doesn’t have a drop tail, and lacks adjustable wrist cuffs. In all three of these cases, elasticized hems around the face, the waist, and wrists personalize the fit, without complicating the garment or weighing it down.

The most noticeable differences between the Minimus Smock and other technical hardshell jackets are the front kangaroo pocket and snorkel style hood. The front pocket is very handy for storing items that must be frequently accessed such as a waterproof map and compass and is large enough to carry a fleece hat or glove liners. It’s mesh backed and can be opened to vent the Minimus, but will make items stored in it damp from sweat if the waterproof zipper needs to be closed due to rain.

The Minimus also has a snorkel style hood with high neck that provides excellent face protection in cold wind, with a soft fabric chin guard over the zipper to protect your face. In wind-blown rain, you do need to wear a billed cap to keep rain out of your eyes (or off your glasses), but chances are you’re carrying a hat like this already for three-season use.

In driving rain, wearing a billed cap will keep rain off of your face and glasses
In driving rain, wearing a billed cap will keep rain off of your face and glasses

The shell material of the Minimus Smock is very thin and really only suitable for hiking across open ground or well-brushed trails where it is unlikely to be torn by protruding shrubbery or thorns. Further, while the Smock is exceptionally breathable at 25,000 MVTR (including micro-taped seams to increase the breathable surface), you shouldn’t expect this garment to keep your base and mid-layer dry if you’re sweating inside while it’s raining and the zippers are closed. It will keep you warm though by creating a thermal envelope to retain your body heat and prevent evaporative cooling by shedding rain.

Sizing for the Minimus Smock runs small like many of Montane’s clothes and getting a good fit can be a bit of a challenge. For example, I wear a size XL Minimus Smock which is somewhat snug when worn over a thin baselayer and 100 weight fleece. In addition to getting proper sleeve length, some care should be taken when selecting a mid-layer to make sure it is not longer than the Smock torso, lest it peak below the Smock’s lower hem and absorb rain water dripping off the garment.


The Montane Minimus Smock is an extremely lightweight waterproof, breathable rain shell fashioned like a wind shirt that can serve both functions interchangeably. Though lacking in features commonly found on heavier technical rain shells like a hood brim, wire peak, wrist cuffs and drop tail the Minimus Smock is ideally suited for fast and light hiking and adventure trips where weight and packability are paramount. While I wouldn’t recommend wearing the Smock in climates like Scotland where the wind’s sole aim is to tear the hood off your head, the Montane Minimus Smock is perfectly suitable for hiking on the Appalachian Trail under a forest canopy in more benign weather conditions.

Manufacturer Specs

  • PERTEX® Shield + provides exceptionally high fabric breathability at 25,000 MVTR with a 20,000mm hydrostatic head
  • Micro-taped seams throughout increase breathable surface area
  • Articulated arms for reach high movement and tailored specifically to reduce hem lift
  • Lycra bound hood ensures a snug fit around the face and a low profile underneath a climbing helmet. Pre-elasticated rear hood gives a close fit for swift, effective weather protection
  • Mesh lined front bib pocket sized to fit large maps and featuring a YKK Aqua Guard zip
  • ½ length YKK Aqua Guard front zip with internal storm flap
  • Lycra bound cuffs and hem to prevent weather entry and heat loss
  • Lycra bound hem to prevent weather entry and heat loss
  • 360° ‘DUSK TILL DAWN’ reflectivity

Disclosure: Montane provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample Minimus Smock for this review.

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  1. Philip, I have had two Minimus jackets and the Pertex Shield+ material delaminated under the shoulder straps and waistbelt straps within six months in both cases. IMO, the concept is great but the execution is terrible. Considering how much money they cost, the Minimus line of waterproof tops is simply not worth it.

    • I’ve had mixed experiences with Pertex Shield+ myself and read about others having delamination problems. I think part of the problem is the extreme thinness of the materials used in these coats – I mean 15 denier – seriously? You really can’t expect much durability when you get that thin, which is the bane of all of these ultralight executions. I need my gear to last a few years at least, even if I need to patch it up periodically with tenacious tape!

  2. Thank you sir for the great review..For the price I just saw less than a minute ago on Amazon.com $190-$199.00 I think it is a bit pricey for the lack of features and wearability on anything but well maintained trails. It might fit the bill for some folks but not me and my type? of Hiking. My question to you would be, how did it stand up to the rubbing of Pack Straps over the miles and well Gerry Brucia just answered that for me, I dred & fear Hyperthermia more than Bears or my ex-wife at even the remote chance of getting it having experianced a couple of close calls due to material failure on expensive clothing…Thank you for a good honest review which I have come to expect from you,,by the way, my gal looking over my shoulder thought I modeled the jacket for the picture,,I guess we look alike…Lols, Means we both good lookin’ lols

  3. So far the best lightweight rain jacket with the combination of features I prefer is the Marmot Super Mica. It has held up well ( I am careful with it) and weighs 8oz, It looks like their newest version has some changes, so not sure how it performs. The 2012 model I have is still sold online for as little as $115. (I bought mine on Ebay for much less).

  4. I’ve been looking at the Minimus jacket for awhile – can’t seem to pull the trigger. I guess my hesitation is the price but you gave me some food for thought with this review. Thanks.

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