Montbell is a Japanese brand which was founded by Isamu Tatsuno, a mountaineer, kayaker and an all-round outdoorsman, in 1975.
I first heard of the brand Montbell many years back, but with the bigger and more famous (at least in Europe) brands such as The North Face, Fjellräven and Arc´teryx dominating the market I had never tested any of their gear. This changed as we searched for jackets which would keep us sufficiently warm without adding a huge amount of bulk and weight to our packs on our expedition through Nepal. Their slogan “Light and Fast” could not be any more fitting.
Weight 265 g (9.3 oz.)
Insulation STRETCH Exceloft® synthetic insulation, 40g/m²
Fabric: Sleeve: 15-denier Ballistic Airlight rip-stop nylon
Body: 12-denier Ballistic Airlight rip-stop nylon
Standard DWR treatment
Compressed size: 12 x 22 cm (4.7 x 8.7 in.)
Center back length: 72 cm (28.4 in.)
Supplied with stuff sack
During our journey through Nepal we walked in late autumn into the deep winter putting the Thermawrap to the ultimate test. You notice instantly that the mentality of “Light and Fast” is embedded into these garments. The design is extremely minimalistic, it has a DWR treated main zipper, two fairly sized zippered pockets, a zippered chest pocket, draw cords for waist adjustment hidden inside the pockets and single visor/volume adjustment on the hood, resulting in a very lightweight jacket.
My first impression of the jacket was that it was very comfortable to wear thanks to the STRETCH Exoloft, I could feel the garment stretch as I was moving along never hindering or limiting my movements. The next thing I noticed was that it did not feel as if it would be able to cope with the cold winter temperatures of the Himalaya. Our philosophy was never to have one piece of gear to keep us sufficiently warm on its own, but to work with a layering system which we so often use while working as mushers in Lapland. However, I feared that the Ultra Light (UL) Thermawrap parka wouldn´t be able to give much assistance in keeping me warm even as part of such a layering system. To my great surprise it proved itself time and time again to be the perfect mid-layer jacket and I could not be more overjoyed and pleased with this jacket.
It may be an Ultra Light and minimalistic jacket, however it is magical and I loved wearing it in the cold early mornings and the cooler late afternoons while trekking.
Even though it does not have the sturdiest fabrics it has not, to my great astonishment, shown any wear and tear. I have worn this jacket with a heavy backpack rubbing on the shoulders and around the waist, I´ve pushed through some of the densest jungle, scraped it off sharp, abrasive rocks and it has coped brilliantly with the changing weather of the Himalayas. It is hard to tell that this jacket has gone through all of that for months on end as it still, to this day, looks as if it´s new.
I feared this jacket wouldn´t be sufficiently warm enough nor sturdy enough to cope with the harsh climate of the Himalayas. However, this jacket has proven itself to be exceptionally warm considering how strikingly lightweight it is. I am beyond pleased with how the Thermawrap Parka has performed and I am looking forward to taking it with on my next adventure.