A smart, lightweight, waterproof jacket that gets straight to the point, keeping torrential rain at bay and packing away easily when the sun comes out
Fully waterproof 30 denier Gore-Tex with taped seams
Two large pockets
Fully adjustable peaked hood
Adjustable cuffs and hem to improve heat retention
Soft chin guard
No recycled materials used
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Montane Phase Lite Waterproof Jacket: first impressions
This streamlined waterproof jacket is designed for fast-paced adventures in wet weather, with a lightweight, breathable and fully waterproof construction in a minimalist shell design. The Gore-Tex shell and taped seams will keep you dry in a downpour and are enhanced by an adjustable peaked hood to keep the rain out of your eyes as well as adjustable cuffs and hem which help you to retain heat on cold, gusty adventures.
• List price: $399 / £300
• Waterproofing: 30 Denier Gore-Tex Active Shell with 28,000mm H/H, RET <4
• Gender specification: Men's and women’s available
• Weight: 9oz / 300g
• Sizes available: Men’s S-XXL, Women’s US XS-XL, UK 8-16
• Materials: 100% Nylon
• Colors: Flame orange, Eclipse blue, Pale sage
• Best use: Hiking, trail running, fastpacking
If you have to hike or run with the hood up, a soft chin guard keeps you free from any rubbing. The slim fit is close enough to look smart and avoid any annoying flapping when you’re moving fast against the wind, but there’s plenty of room to comfortably fit this over a base layer and mid-layer. It’s smart and simple looking which means you can wear it on your commute without looking too sporty. Two large zipped pockets provide all the room you need for your gloves and phone, or just to keep your hands out of the wind. Best of all, when the sun comes out, it easily packs away into a small bundle that weighs next to nothing. It’s certainly on the high end of pricing for such a minimalist shell, but the quality is equally high.
Montane Phase Lite Waterproof Jacket: in the field
I’ve been testing the Phase Lite Waterproof jacket out on my hikes for a few weeks, and so far I’m finding a lot to love about it. This is a minimalist shell design, which means that it does away with all the bells and whistles of many of the more technical-seeming hardshells out there and that in turn means it’s light as a feather. I never have to think twice about whether or not to pack it, even when the sun is splitting the sky (which in Scotland, doesn’t mean you're not going to get wet!) so that’s a huge plus. Relatively speaking, it’s on the pricey side but it’s also clearly very good quality and I tend to feel like higher price tags on outdoor gear means we’ll all take better care of it and buy less in the long run.
Here’s how it performed:
Waterproofing and breathability
Speaking of Scottish weather, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to put this jacket to the test lately and it is definitely watertight in a deluge, which is a relief. The hood stays up in a howling gale without obstructing my vision, and the peak helps keep the water out my eyes. The adjustable cuffs and hem obviously work to keep out moisture and help seal in heat which is getting more important as the temperatures drop. So all in all, it does the job and does it well, and though I’ve only worn it for hiking – and not running – it definitely doesn’t get sweaty and seems to breathe well.
Because it’s breathable, it’s comfortable and not clammy to wear, and this is really helped by the soft chin guard which means that even when I wear it on a long, wet hike I don’t have anything rubbing my face.
Weight and packability
I’ve tested out a few waterproof jackets during my tenure at Advnture and I must say, I’ve been waiting for one this lightweight and packable to come along. You really can’t afford to hike in Scotland without bringing a waterproof jacket, and I’ve found the shell/hybrids to be heavier and take up more room in my backpack than I’d like. This one is featherlight and rolls up to the size of a small water bottle.
Sizing and fit
I tested a US6/UK10 which is just a tad bigger than my normal size, and while it’s still slim fitting and smart-looking, I do have room to wear a fleece jacket over this. I think it fits true to size but I might recommend you also size up ever so slightly unless you’re only going to be wearing this for rainy summer adventures. It’s not loose so it doesn’t flap annoyingly in the wind. I have found the sleeves to be a little long (or maybe I have short arms) which is maybe not aesthetically ideal but I actually like being able to cover up my hands and keep them warm in a cold wind.
Pockets and storage
This jacket could perhaps benefit from an easy-to-reach chest pocket, but the two hand pockets are big enough to hold anything I’d want to put in them (including my iPhone and gloves).
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.