Montane Minimus Stretch Jacket Review

Montane Minimus Stretch Rain Jacket Review

The Montane Minimus Stretch Jacket is a waterproof/breathable jacket that can serve double duty as a rain jacket and a wind shirt. Weighing just 9.2 oz in a men’s XL, the Minimus Stretch jacket is so lightweight that it doesn’t feel at all like a hardshell jacket, even though it’s functionally equivalent to one. It’s also specifically designed for hiking and backpacking (called hill-walking in the UK) and not skiing or climbing, with all of the technical features I usually look for on a fully-featured rain jacket.

  • Fully adjustable hood
  • Velcro wrist cuffs
  • Hip belt compatible pockets
  • Cinchable hem drawcord


The first thing you noticed when you put on this jacket was how comfortable and quiet the fabric is. It has a mild stretch built into it so it moves with you when you pull on a backpack or grab a handhold to pull yourself up a ledge. The external fabric is so quiet, you quickly forget that you’re wearing a rain jacket, except when it’s chucking down rain. The interior of the jacket has a thin liner, designed to protect the waterproof/breathable membrane. This type of construction is called a 2.5 layer jacket and is used for hiking rain jackets where low gear weight is paramount.

Montane uses a Pertex Shield+ membrane in the Minimus Stretch Jacket which has a waterproof (hydrostatic head) rating of 20,000 mm and a breathability rating (MVTR) 20,000g/m²/24hrs. These are very good test lab ratings and you’d have to pay a lot more to improve on them. The hydrostatic head rating means that it is suitable for use in heavy rain without leaking. The MVTR rating means that a clean Minimums Stretch Jacket will do a pretty good job in venting perspiration and internal condensation when worn as a rain jacket or wind shirt, especially when compared to a completely non-breathable rain jacket made out of silnylon or polyurethane. That doesn’t mean you’ll stay completely perspiration or condensation free inside the jacket, but you’ll feel more comfortable than if you wore a non-breathable garment.

The Montane Minimus Stretch Jackets has a chest pocket and two side pockets, all with waterproof zippers
The Montane Minimus Stretch Jackets ha a chest pocket and two hip belt compatible side pockets, all with waterproof zippers

Fully Adjustable Hood

Montane is one of the few outdoor clothing manufacturers that still includes fully adjustable hoods on their rain jackets and they’re an absolute essential if you hike or backpack in windy rain-swept weather. The Minimus Stretch hood is also sized for hikers with normal-sized heads, instead of Godzilla or people wearing climbing helmets or skiing helmets, like so many other hardshell jackets. It has a pair of corner toggles so you can cinch the opening to cover your face and prevent cold wind from blowing in and chilling you, along with a shapable wire brim to keep the rain out of your eyes. There’s a rear toggle that lets you shrink the crown of the hood to the size of your head, a microfleece face guard over the front zipper, and a zipper garage to keep your facial hair from getting caught in the zipper teeth.

Velcro Wrist Cuffs

The Minimus Stretch Jacket has velcro adjustable wrist cuffs, another premium feature found on higher-quality jackets instead of elastic cuffs. Velcro cuffs give you the ability to adjust the fit of the cuffs to match your personal dimensions and regulate the amount of heat trapped or vented from your wrist area. This becomes important in cooler, less temperate weather when you need to be more proactive in regulating your temperature to reduce perspiration or to stay warm.

Hip belt Compatible Pockets

The Minimus Stretch has three pockets. One chest pocket, large enough to store a map or cell phone, and two side pockets, that are raised high enough up the torso to be hip belt compatible. All three pockets close with waterproof zippers, which is critical if you plan on hiking in the rain and need to keep electronics or maps dry.

The internal facing side of the chest pocket is backed by a solid nylon panel, which prevents torso perspiration and dampness with interfering with your electronics. The backs of the side pockets, are mesh-backed however, providing some venting if you leave their zippers open. While not as effective as pit zips, they can help in reducing internal humidity and help dry you out faster than breathable fabrics alone.

Velcro wrist cuffs give you enhanced temperature regulation capabilities
Velcro wrist cuffs give you enhanced temperature regulation capabilities.

Cinchable Hem Drawcord

There’s a cinchable hem drawcord at the bottom of the Minimus Stretch Jacket, which is another important temperature regulation feature in cooler weather and helps trap your body heat around your core. It’s particularly effective in windy weather, where errant breezes can sweep up below the hem and rob your heat.


The Minimus Stretch jacket runs about 1/2 size smaller than US sizes because they prefer “fitted” garments more in the UK than in the US. While an XL still fits me, I can only wear a wool sweater under it for insulation, instead of a thicker fleece pullover.


If you’re a regular reader you know that I’m a skeptic when it comes to waterproof/breathable rainwear and the over-the-top claims made about how well it works. That said, I’ve been impressed with the Montane Minimus Stretch Jacket, particularly in terms of its weight, comfort, and feature set after wearing it for the past several weeks on day hikes and backpacking trips. It compresses very small in a backpack and comes with an excellent factory DWR coating which beads up water hitting the jacket, so it rolls off. While the Minimus Stretch is not thick or warm enough for winter wear, it has a superior set of features and is well suited for summer and three-season hiking or backpacking. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better waterproof/breathable jacket than the Montane Minimus Stretch or one that’s so lightweight and comfortable to wear.

The author received a sample jacket for this review.

Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate 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 and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.

Most Popular Searches

  • minimus stretch ultra jacket
  • montane minimums review
  • montane minimus jacket waterproof leak complaints


  1. Too bad there are no pit zips. I guess that helps keep the weight down, but they would be nice for venting.

    • I can’t stand pit zips personally. I find them irritating and uncomfortable when thru hiking or fell running. Glad it doesn’t have them!

  2. Too bad there are no pit zips. I guess that helps keep the weight down, but they would be nice for venting.

  3. Hi Philip,
    How does it compare with the LightHeart jacket?

    • The Minimum Stretch is a waterproof breathable jacket that weighs close to the same as a LHJ, which is completely NOT breathable but has pitzips. The Lightheart is about half the price of the Montane and requires no maintenance (DWR application). Both have excellent hoods, but the pockets and wrist cuffs on the Montane are better. Suggest you read my Lightheart Review for more details.

  4. Looks to be a nice jacket for backpacking and hiking although I prefer lighter or brighter colours that are not as attractive to the mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies that are plentiful here in Northern Ontario from May through July. That and the visibility of bright coloured jackets helps me to be easier seen. My favourite jacket right now is a OR Realm in lemongrass colour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *