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Montane Featherlite Smock Wind Shirt Review

Montane Featherlite Smock Wind Shirt Review

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.

Montane Featherlite Smock

Breathability
Comfort & Mobility
Weight
Durability
Packed Size

Classic Wind Shirt

The Montane Featherlite Smock is a classic wind shirt for walking in mountainous terrain. It provides insulation by preventing the wind from chilling you, but weighs virtually nothing.

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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.

The Montane Featherlite Smock comes with a short tail which is good to keep your waist covered when you wear a backpack.
The Montane Featherlite Smock comes with a short tail which is good to keep your waist covered when you wear a backpack.

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 / ModelFabric DenierWeight
Arcteryx Squamish Hoodie30d4.9 oz / 140g
Patagonia Houdini Jacket15d3.7 oz /105g
Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt10d2.05 oz / 58g
Rab Vital Windshell Hoody20d4.6 oz /160g
REI Flash JacketNA4.3 oz /122g
Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoodie30d5.3 oz /150g
Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell15d3.5 oz / 98g
Warbonnet Stash Jacket20d5.0 oz / 142g
Montbell Tachyon Hooded Jacket7d2.5 oz / 72g
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody20d7.4 oz /210g

Recommendation

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.

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4 comments

  1. I have one that is over a dozen years old, it is still going strong. I agree it is for insulation/wind block only, rain resistance is short term. I use it for when I need a quick 5-10 degrees of insulation. It normally resides in my trail running bag, for use at the start of early morning runs or post run when I begin to cool down.

  2. I bought a full Montane suit (smock + pants) close to 20 years ago. Best money I ever spent. About 6 oz. total weight, including stuff sacks.

    Later, I sewed up a copy with a kit from Thru-Hiker.com, while adding some of my own modifications. Made another slightly heavier copy after that.

    All good.

    I consider a super-light windsuit to be an essential piece of equipment. I’ve generally used one for day wear and kept another, clean set to use as a sort of semi-vapor-barrier while sleeping. Also wore knit clothes under a wind shell for some autumn drizzle backpacking one year — got sort of wet while in the rain, dried quickly when it quit, and remained comfortable 100% of the time.

    Have read good reviews of the Patagonia outfit and will probably try it if I do any more backpacking.

  3. I agree with all comments already posted. The full suit shined while hiking with others on a multi-day AMC trip Sep 2015 starting at Shapleigh Bunkhouse and finishing at Zealand Falls Hut. The second day took us to Bondcliff and back to the falls hut. The third day returned us to pre-parked vehicles at Wiley House . All three days light, medium, and harder windswept rain (at exposed summits) came to greet us. The suit kept my person comfortably WARM, though WET over the entire course under a CAMPMOR cascade II kids poncho that protected head, torso, and a small pack. One other notable mention was that while many suffered raw wounds from heavy “waterproof” hiking boots, the see through Merrell Ascend Gloves (w/merino liner socks) that I donned swept me through mud holes and mini creeks unscathed.

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