Nov 5, 2013 at 11:41 am #1309509
Noticed a couple pieces recently that don't seem to have received any discussion on this forum:
1) Montane Mountain Star jacket
2) Nau Lightbeam jacket
Former is around 5-6oz and latter is a bit more full-featured and around 7-9oz depending on size. Both are described as breathable / wind-resistant pieces with a mild water resistance, making them fit right in with what Dave C has termed "softshell windshirts". Could be similar to the Rab Boreas, although it appears these two pieces have more features for less weight, which suggests a lighter / less durable fabric.
The Montane piece has a detailed review that's mostly positive on Trailspace, and the Nau has a handful of short reviews scattered around the web. But of course, being a BPL elitist, I don't give much credence to those short "novice" reviews :-)
I swore I would rest on my laurels once I got my Boreas, but find myself myself missing the flexibility of a full-length zip, so here I am on the windshirt hunt again.
Anyone know anything at all about these two pieces?Nov 5, 2013 at 11:43 am #2041447
Oh, and another reason I assume these are similar to the Boreas family (or Patty Traverse, or old Cloudveil Prospector, or whatever) is that these appear to be very soft-handed, extremely breathable, somewhat stretchy pieces. In other words they don't seem to fit the standard mold for "hard" windshirts.Nov 6, 2013 at 10:19 am #2041810
I'm bumping this bc I think these pieces are worth inspecting …. but perhaps truly nobody here has tried them yet. I happen to have these headed to me in the mail so I guess I'll post my impressions here when I get them :-)Nov 6, 2013 at 10:26 am #2041812Stephen MBPL Member
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I had seen the Montane piece online recently, if I was to replace one of my Windshirts I would try the Montane one as I have used dozens of Montane pieces over the years and always got on well with the brand.Nov 7, 2013 at 11:32 am #2042217Bryan CrookMember
I actually bought a Montane Mountain Star jacket a couple of months ago but never got a chance to fully test it (Colorado floods wiped out my camping trip).
The fabric is definitely not like not like the Rab Cirrus Wind Top (which I ordered at the same time). It is very soft and seems to be more breathable but also more likely to snag and not be as durable. I did pour some water on the fabric and it beaded up nicely. The online specs from Montane's website suggest that the DWR is probably not that "durable" (80/5) and some re-treating of the fabric will be necessary over time. The specs also suggest that the fabric is more air permeable (4.5 cc) than something like the Rab Cirrus (1 cc).
I kept it over the Cirrus because the fabric was much softer and more quiet but I also know that the DWR won't be as good and the fabric will be more likely to wear out over time. I mostly hike on well maintained trails so the durability issue isn't really an issue for me. My assessment puts this jacket (in terms of fabric breathability/permaeability) between the Rab Cirrus (1 cc) and the Rab Zephyr and/or Rab Boreas Pull On ( both stated 8-10 CFM).
Ian, I'm guessing you will be able to give yours a true test before I do. The Mountain Star certainly isn't your traditional "hard" windshirt fabric. I think it has some potential.Nov 7, 2013 at 11:51 am #2042227
I got my Mountain Star in the mail yesterday and at first glance I agree 100% with your comments. It would be right to describe this as just about halfway between a conventional "hard" windshirt [Houdini, Wraith, Cirrus, etc.] and a super-breathable "soft shell" windshirt [Boreas, Chocklite, etc.]. The weight range corroborates this story — the former group is around 3oz – 5oz, and the latter group is maybe 9oz – 11oz. The Mountain Star falls right in the middle at ~7oz. I haven't thrown my particular one on the scale yet but will update when I do.
Also agreed that the hand, feel, and drape of the fabric is exceptional. This is a purely aesthetic concern but it certainly doesn't hurt — the fabric feels great, smooth, soft, quiet. The colors are great, the notions are straightforward, workmanship appears on the high end. Altogether it makes a great first impression.
The fit is not impressive, but not bad. I find it a little boxy. This seems to match with the older Lite-Speed jacket that I just sold on the gear swap. I usually feel just right or a little roomy in a "regular" USA medium, or perhaps a touch snug in a "trim fit" USA medium. E.g. the Boreas is just right for me. But, based on experience with Montane, I ordered a UK large here, and as expected it fits me more like a "roomy" medium which allows (or encourages) layering, but is not so large that I look like an 8-yr-old boy when wearing it. The coverage is decent, definitely a few inches past my belt which is desirable for me. Sleeves are way too long for me, but that is typical as I'm a small guy — I had the same problem with the Boreas and with most size medium *anything* that I wear.
Since the fit is something that I might call halfway between a USA medium/large, and the fabric has some slight stretch to it, this piece might fill an important niche in my quiver. It could be the windshirt that is both A) just trim enough to work as a main action windshirt during the daytime over a base layer or light fleece, and B) also just roomy enough to throw on over a nighttime puffy layer, to even out cold spots and provide some extra precip protection, without compressing down / synth loft. We'll see. Of course YMMV because this last comment is a purely individualistic consideration.
I did the old mouth-breather test on the fabric and again it seems to fall midway on the "hard" and "soft" windshirt continuum. Air flows easily but requires a bit more respiratory effort than with my Boreas. Perhaps conversely, the DWR will be a little better. Your test (Bryan) seems to suggest as much.
I'm considering the Lightbeam shortly and will probably stare at these and don / doff them about 20 more times before I actually feel confident enough about taking one out for a run, bike ride, or test hike.
But overall the Mountain Star looks promising.Nov 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm #2042239Bryan CrookMember
Ian, nice quick review.
I did forget to comment about the fit. I ended up going with an XL to allow for some room to layer underneath if I had to. I wanted the Large to fit but I found it a little tight across and chest and shoulders for me (European sizing doesn't fit this corn-fed body). It does, as you noticed, end up being a little boxy further down the torso but nothing that will drive me completely nuts.
I think it will be a close race (for me) between the Rab Zephyr and the Montane Mountain Star. I run really hot when I start moving on the trail so the Mountain Star might not breath enough for me but I suspect it will have it's place on Fall hikes in the Colorado Rockies.Nov 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm #2042243
That's funny Bryan, I am basically looking to decide between those two as well. The Lightbeam came in today and initially it is … well it's very *neat* but I'm just not sure it'll work. It's puzzling because it's built with a more sophisticated / urbane design aesthetic, even while I _think_ it checks all the boxes for functioning well on a backpacking trip.
The fabric is unique. I'll have to post more about it later today or tonight. Need to get some actual work done today …
:-)Nov 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm #2042296Steven ParisBPL Member
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I was going to post something earlier about Nau but didn't get time. I don't have anything to add about the Lightbeam in particular but am interested to hear what you think. You can still buy Nau stuff here at Lizard Lounge in Portland and the new Snow Peak store/HQ just down the street, but it is not designed as functional outdoor clothing and it is very expensive. That's not to say that individual pieces aren't any good, just that when a better and cheaper product can be found at Patagonia or Arc'Teryx, you know it's pricey and urban-centric stuff.
It was interesting to read about Nau as it developed here in Portland; very "high concept" stuff (at least in their own heads!) from old Nike and Adidas employees. It was no great surprise to many that it folded, at least in it's initial form. You can get some local perspective on Nau's founding, failure and subsequent rebirth. This article is maybe the most recent from The Oregonian:Oct 11, 2014 at 5:28 am #2140761SPIRIDON PapapetroyBPL Member
Does the lower part of the hood covers the chin?
How is the sizing?
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