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Montbell Tachyon Wind Shirt Review

Montbell Tachyon Windshirt (left)

The Montbell Tachyon Parka does a marvelous job at keeping me warm in cold, windy and wet conditions. Weighing just 2.6 oz in a size XXL (Japanese clothing sizes run small), the Tachyon wind shirt is the size of an apple and easy to stow in a jacket or pack pocket for fast access during the day. It is so lightweight and so functional that I’ve added it to my permanent 3 season backpacking list.

This is an about-face for me. I used to own a wind shirt a few years ago, but I decided to remove it from my pack because I thought I could get by with just a hard shell rain parka. Back then, I don’t think I realized how flexible a wind shirt is. It’s great when worn over a base and/or thermal layer, but it also complements other heavier rain shells or insulated jackets when layered together with them.

For example on my latest big trip, I wore the Tachyon:

  • during the day in windy conditions, over a light fleece and base layer  to stay warm and prevent heat loss through convection
  • at night in camp, over my insulating Montbell Thermawrap jacket to prevent heat loss and stay warmer
  • in heavy rain, under my rain parka to prevent DWR wet-out from spreading dampness down into my thermal layers.

Here are a few more notes on each of the jacket’s features

  • The rear hood adjustment is great for those of us with smaller heads. Just scrunch up some hood fabric under the velcro strap and the capacity of hood shrinks down to a smaller size. You can also use this to raise the hood bill if it’s flopping down in front of your eyes.
  • The wire brim is short enough that  it needs to be augmented with a ball cap if you have glasses or want a little bit more protection from drizzle and light rain when wearing the Tachyon.
  • The 7 denier nylon shell is really thin but I haven’t had any problems with it snagging or tearing. The surface of the nylon is quite slippery, which probably helps to keep it from catching on anything.
  • Although the Tachyon has a DWR coating, I’ve only used it in drizzle not heavy rain. I think you still need to have a heavier rain parka, if only to provide a thicker layer of insulation in heavier precipitation.
  • The elasticized cuffs on the sleeves and the draw cord hem are great for keeping the wind out and the jacket on. When you get warm, you can still easily pull the sleeves up your arms to vent more heat at your wrist joints.
  • A size XXL weighs a meager 2.6 oz. It’s easy to justify adding to your gear list.
  • The 7.5 inch zip is adequate for venting heat, but I wish it was just a bit longer for more flexibility.
  • Stuff sack: I lost the stuff sack the second time I used the wind shirt. Now, I just keep it scrunched up in the rear mesh pocket of my backpack for fast access when I need it.

Comparison Table of Wind Shirts and Jackets

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


For the weight and price, the Montbell Tachyon Parka is an excellent value and I highly recommend getting one if you hike in windy conditions. I plan on using mine extensively this spring and into the summer in the high peaks of the White Mountains which are known for their fierce winds. Size up. The Tachyon runs very small.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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  1. Cool review! I've been keeping my eye on the Tachyon wind shirt. I currently have a GoLite windshirt (4 oz) that has developed a few holes from lots and lots of use that needs replacement. I too like to wear a windshirt over my insulated jacket.

  2. It's amazing how much a thin wind shirt can extend the warmth of light insulated coat. I swear, whenever I put the Tachyon hood up, I could feel the warmth surrounding my head. Perfect for camp, morning warm up hikes, or when there's a slight chill in the air.

  3. I previously carried a Montane Featherlite smock (listed 3.5oz) as a windshirt to supplement a golite poncho/tarp. I recently switched to a better coverage shelter (Bear Paw Cub Den 1.5) and dedicated rain jacket (DriDucks). If you are still carrying a rain jacket, have you considered using that as a dual use piece (wind shirt and rain) to save the weight? (though I agree your wind shirt weighs very little)

  4. Good idea. I owned a driducks jacket/pants a few years ago and found the cut awful. The jacket was especially huge. They may have changed the styling dramatically since then. But honestly, I'm pretty happy with what I have right now. My summer gear list with my rain parka, camera, and electronics is at 9lbs and change. It's not worth changing anything until I destroy my current rain shell.

  5. Fair enough….I've resolved to just keep selling stuff as I get new stuff. Definitely not as sound financially, but hey, we all have our addictions. :p

  6. You have a xxl in the Tachyon. Do you have any other Montbell jackets? If so, what size do you normally wear in them?

  7. I own a L MB down vest and an XL MB thermawrap jacket. They both fit fine.

  8. Never wore one of these type of wind jacket/shirts before. I use my TNF windblocker fleece jacket for that, but as I go from heavy to lighter weight backpacking I am looking at ways to trim the weight. This looks good. Thanks.

    • Winds shirts are rather amazing. I often put one one when I leave camp in the morning to stay warm without a lot of layers, or at night on top of a down or synthetic jacket. They trap all the heat you’re putting off and keep you toasty warm. I’ll never hike without one again.

  9. Bill in Roswell GA

    Yes, this thread is a couple of years old, but the Montbell Tachyon is still the best wind jacket out there. I wanted to throw in a comment in regards to new insulation garments available. I recently got a Macpac Nitro Polartec Alpha pullover hoody. Alpha is a fluffy, loosely woven fleece. With no wind cover, it has almost no insulation properties and is very breathable. With an ultralight wind jacket like the Tachyon over the Alpha, it’s like wearing a 200-250 weight fleece that is breathable and wind resistant. Pretty amazing at under 8 ounces for the kit (my Nitro sz XL is 5.5 oz). It’s nothing you would want to bushwhack in, but it’s fine for wading through New England krumholtz. Blackberry, briars, cactus and such will soon shred it.

    • Wind shirts are amazing and under appreciated. I hike most of the winter wearing a lightweight fleece under a wind shirt. I’ve found that I prefer hood less wind shirt and wear the montane featherlite. Used a tachyon for many years also, but found the hood to noisy in high wind.

  10. The old Tachyon is now the Montbell EX Light Wind (1.7 oz) without a hood, & the new Tachyon has the hood & weighs 2.5 oz. FWIW. Thanks Philip.

    (Bill in Roswell – I used to live in Alpharetta – I’m considering an Alpha Direct (or Peloton97). Thanks.

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