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Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket
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Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket on 04/19/2012 21:28:44 MDT Print View

Has anyone any experience with the new montbell versalite rain shell?

http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2328276

6.7 ounces, fully featured (pockets, pit zips, etc.) , nice styling. It uses a "2.5-layer Super Hydro Breeze Technology"

My questions are on durability, waterproofness, and breathability.

Thanks!
Brad

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Re: Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket on 04/19/2012 21:37:42 MDT Print View

Hi Brad,
I have no personal experience with the jacket, but will chime in to note that it was included in BPL's recent UL WBP jacket SOMTR - check it out for some opinions from the experts on how the jacket compares against its peers:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/ul_wpb_jackets_sotmr_part2.html

Rob Vandiver
(ShortBus) - M

Locale: So Cal
Re: Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket on 04/19/2012 21:37:58 MDT Print View

It was covered in the WPB Jacket SOTMR last month.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/ul_wpb_jackets_sotmr_part2.html

I was thinking about the pants. Seem like a good deal at 4 oz and fully taped seams, but I hope they get the DWR treatment sorted out. I will have to hear something better before I buy.

--Edit--
Joseph beat me to it.

Edited by ShortBus on 04/19/2012 21:38:40 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket on 04/20/2012 05:37:27 MDT Print View

I also posted some comments on it last week, since I'd seen the 2012 version in Tokyo.

"I was in Tokyo last week and bought a few things at Mont-Bell, mostly bike stuff for the upcoming Austral winter. While I was in their Ebisu store I spotted the 2012 Versalite jacket. I presume that this is the version which David Chenault reviewed in March but the claimed weights appear to be different (this one is lighter - the current US model works out at a claimed 189.90 grams for a size M (cf 209.8 grams claimed/198.4 grams actual for the US version in David's article)) so maybe it's a later iteration?

The Japanese market jacket is claimed to weigh an average 168 grams (the 21 grams weight difference between the 2012 Japanese and US versions is presumably due to the pit zips which the Japanese market jackets don't get). Instead of nominating a weight for a particular size they nominated an average for the range of sizes available. Since there are 5 sizes and the middle one is M, that's presumably the weight of the medium. That's very light for a jacket with the waterproofness and breathability they claim (20,000/20,000 - the details are on MB's US website if you're interested). The question then is what is the variance between the sizes? Can the L or XL be under 200 grams?

Impressions? The jacket looks and feels like a windshirt (actually the blue is very similar in colour to the blue Houdini) but with a clear plastic coating on the inside: that and a slight stiffness are the only indications that it's not just a windshirt.

In terms of sizing I was able to comfortably wear both the L and the XL (I'd probably be a US L as a comparison). The length was below the waist and cut longer at the back (so the low weight is not simply because they've cut the jacket really short) but it's still shorter than my Montane LiteSpeed.

One thing I did really like was that the cuffs had velcro and elastic, which I think should be standard but annoyingly isn't. In fact a Mont-Bell softshell I bought didn't have the elastic, which is a pain.

My interest in the jacket was because I'm always looking for a super-light breathable waterproof that I can carry in my panniers in case of rain (I commute by bike most days). The price in Japan is pretty reasonable but I decided to not buy it until I had checked some reviews about its breathability. (I was also thinking that it's Breeze Dry-Tec, which gets good reviews, but it's actually Super Hydro-Breeze which, based on David's review, doesn't seem in practice to match eVent or Breeze Dry-Tec). On that basis, for me, the light weight alone would not be enough to justify the purchase, as in my experience cycling tends to steam up even eVent unless it's very cold."

Edited by Arapiles on 04/20/2012 19:39:32 MDT.

Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Re: Re: Re: Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket on 04/22/2012 07:16:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies everyone. Although it looks great, it doesn't seem like this jacket is worth the dough.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Montbell 2012 Versalite Jacket on 05/10/2012 02:12:40 MDT Print View

Well after posting earlier that I prefer a $2 plastic 100g poncho for raingear in summer temps I found myself buying a new 2012 Versalite just hours later! Actually went to the Montbell store to just buy some small accessories but soon after arriving the skies opened up with wind driven rain and since I didn't bring an umbrella....ah what the heck!

DW was right about the thin fabric, very Houdini like. Almost too "breezy" in this storm since I only had on a light syn shirt and shorts. Rain beaded off nicely at least and my shirt stayed dry.

My size XL weighs in at 182g including stuff sack that seems to be made of the same fabric. Thats exactly half the weight of my Montbell Storm Cruiser jacket and perhaps more importantly, it compresses much smaller! May even replace the Houdini in the pack now as well.

The Japan model lacks pit zips but it does have small pit vents. Actually suprised it even fit me since I tend to a USA-sized XL but the specs for height range of 175-185cm and waist size of 101-107cm were good enough. The matching XL pants were spec'd for a much smaller 87cm waist however. Not really needed in Summer anyway I think.

Now the test is to see how it holds up over the summer season.

Edited by rmjapan on 05/10/2012 02:14:31 MDT.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Still problems on 05/26/2012 16:26:11 MDT Print View

I checked 2012-05-26 at the Mont Bell store in Shibuya, and they have none of the jackets or pants.They said that there is a problem with the construction.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
MB versalite on 05/27/2012 00:24:21 MDT Print View

They discontinued them again?
I bought the pants about a month ago after they apparently fixed the seam welding issue, but they pulled them again? Anyone have any details as to why?

I'm about to take these things on a long trip and I'm wondering if they are going to fail me at first rain. Quite frustrating being an early adopter.

I own almost the entire MB line of insulated jackets and always trusted the quality. I guess you can't win every time.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: MB versalite on 05/27/2012 00:54:42 MDT Print View

On the bright side, at least they don't leave them on the market when they find something wrong.

Re the MB softshell I bought it turns out that it is actually supposed to have elastic - in fact it's there, but it's sitting flat and wasn't ruched and then stitched. My wife contacted them and they said to get it fixed locally and they'd pay for it.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Recall on 05/27/2012 00:55:20 MDT Print View

Yes, unfortunately MontBell sent me a recall notice via email and snail mail for both the jacket and pants last week. The stated reason is that the PU coating can delaminate. They only offer a full refund and will repay return shipping.

http://support.montbell.jp/common/system/user/infomation/disp.php?site_category_id=7&infomation_id=24

Since there are no return action date restrictions, I feel I have been given a free "put" option to at least use the jacket thru the Summer and see what happens. Hopefully, they will bring it back new and improved and I can then just exchange it. There is really nothing lighter and I am not so keen to just give it up. Only worn it twice now but so far so good and mine still looks new.

david richardson
(drichi) - MLife

Locale: midwest
versalite jacket and pants on 05/28/2012 06:35:52 MDT Print View

I received both my pants and jacket here in the USA recently, after a recall of the original shipment. Not sure how much different they are from the products sold in Japan. I will say that I really like them and the total weight of 11 oz for jacket and pants in size large. They just became available again in the last 10 days. dave

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
MB rain jacket on 05/28/2012 20:40:17 MDT Print View

Thank you Joseph and Rob.
No sooner did I go back and re-read the rain jacket report than I found Rab Pulses at LaHout's backpacking store in Lincoln NH. Couldn't resist. Budget shot to heck.

It is extremely well made and fit me perfectly, with plenty of coverage down below.
Never thought I would find RABs here in NH to try on. If it survives the summer well, will do a review.

Now I have two Patagonia Specters to hang on the wall and heaven knows how much else.
Did have a 'tent' sale of a dozen or so tents a few years ago, and lo and behold, a trip leader from a local school showed up and bought the whole lot. Highly recommend this to Franco.

One of these days, will have a blow out yard sale of all the rest of the stuff. Maybe to raise the cash for the bankruptcy filing fee.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Versalite update on 07/26/2013 00:38:05 MDT Print View

Hi All

wondering how the recall went...did they fix the problem with delaminating?

I'm now living in Tottori, Japan, and there is a Montbell store at Daisen, which I hope to visit in the next couple of months to hike it. I'm keen to get a new light jacket for me and my wife.

Arapiles; what do you think of it as a jacket for cycling? We'll be doing a lot of that here too. As long as it cinches ok at the waist and wrists, and has a bit of a drop tail I'm happy.

Cheers,

Adam

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Versalite update on 07/26/2013 07:26:53 MDT Print View

Yes, I exchanged my recalled Versalite last September for the "fixed" model. I haven't used it since, fortunately or unfortunately I guess. Not robust enough for Fall/Winter/Spring Alpine I think which are my fav hiking seasons. Summers in Japan I go to the beach.

BTW, you should join the Hiking in Japan Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/9872778764/