The Montane Featherlite Smock is a wind shirt that’s good for trail running, hiking, and backpacking in cool or windy weather. Wind shirts are versatile ultralight layering garment, usually weighing just a few ounces, that you can wear over a thin fleece or wool pullover to prevent the wind from chilling you. They’re particularly useful in mountainous terrain when wearing a full rain jacket or technical shell would be too warm and cumbersome. I also like wearing a wind shirt on cool mornings because they keep the chill off until the sun can warm up the air. They keep me warm in the morning without making me too hot and sweaty, which is what would happen if I started hiking while wearing a lightweight insulated hoodie or even a rain jacket.
Specs at a Glance:
- Weight: 3.3 oz (4.0 oz in a size men’s XXL (runs small))
- Zipper: 1/3 length
- Material: 30 denier Pertex Quantum Eco with DWR coating
- Stretch cuffs and hem
This mango-colored Featherlite Smock is an anniversary limited edition of the first wind shirt that Montane made 25 years ago. It’s also a numbered limited edition, which is kind of cool. The jacket shown here is #774 of 999. It’s like a piece of art!
If you’re not familiar with Montane, they’re a UK-based clothing manufacturer that specializes in making ultralight technical mountain clothing for climbers, mountaineers, backpackers, and trail runners. Those sports tend to blend together in the UK and elsewhere. I’ve used a lot of their products over the years, but their sizing runs a small by US standards, so it pays to size up and buy their stuff online from retailers with good return policies like Amazon and Campsaver, which both have good selections.
There’s not much to the Featherlite Smock. It’s basically just a Pertex shirt with a 1/3 length zipper, stretch cuffs and a stretch waist. It has a short tail in back, which is good to keep your waist covered when you wear a pack. It’s only available in this mango color although it’s bright enough that you can use it in hunting season as a safety garment.
At 4 oz (in a size XXL), the Featherlite Smock is about average weight for a wind shirt. It doesn’t have a hood or a full-length zipper, however, because it’s a shirt and not a or wind jacket, which some people prefer. Hoods can be a mixed bag though if they’re too large and not adjustable in volume because the flapping of a baggy hood can drive you crazy in windy conditions. A fleece cap and a buff neck gaiter can make an acceptable alternative to a hood if you have a wind shirt, and have other uses as well.
I usually wear the Featherlite Smock over a wool pullover that’s layered over a base layer. If I get too warm when I use it, I roll up the sleeves or pull down the zipper. It bunches up really small, so it’s easy to stuff into the front mesh pocket of my backpack or pull it out again if I need it. While it comes with an external DWR coating, I never wear it in the rain because it’ll get soaked through too quickly.
Comparable Wind Shirts
|Make / Model||Weight||Hood||Zipper||Price|
|Arc'Teryx Incendo Hoodie||4.6 oz||Yes||Full||$139|
|Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell||1.6 oz||Yes||Full||$129|
|Black Diamond Deploy Wind Shell||1.7 oz||Np||2/3||$159|
|Marmot Air Lite||3.7 oz||Yes||Full||$100|
|Montbell Ex Light Wind Jacket||1.7 oz||No||Full||$89|
|Monbell Tachyon Parka||2.6 oz||Yes||Full||$99|
|Montane Featherlite Smock||4.0 oz||No||1/3||$100|
|Outdoor Research Tantrum II||4.7 oz||Yes||Full||$109|
|Patagonia Houdini||3.7 oz||Yes||Full||$99|
|Rab Vital Windshell||4.4 oz||No||Full||$89|
The Montane Featherlite Smock is a minimalist wind shirt designed to keep the wind from chilling you. It’s very basic as wind shirts and wind shells go, with stretch wrist cuffs, a stretch hem, and one-third length chest zipper to help vent excess heat. While the Pertex Quantum is coated with a DWR layer, it’s not waterproof and is best used as a draft barrier over a fleece or wool pullover in mountainous or windy terrain. If you’ve never tried a wind shirt, the Featherlite Smock is a good garment to experiment with. Experienced hikers and backpackers swear by them and they’re an essential piece of kit for walking in windy hills and terrain.
Disclosure: Montane provided the author with a garment for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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