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MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review

This very lightweight wind shirt and pants are remarkably useful and versatile.

Hightly Recommended

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended

Thanks MontBell, you helped me rediscover how useful and versatile a wind shirt and wind pants can be. The Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Pants have a wide comfort range because they are so thin and light, yet they are very wind and water resistant. Their fabrics, sizing, fit, adjustments, and features are right on to keep weight at a minimum and maximize utility. I could not find any flaws at all, and so they earn our Highly Recommended rating.

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by Will Rietveld |


MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 1
The unisex hooded MontBell Tachyon Anorak (left) weighs just 2.4 ounces (68 g), and the Dynamo Pants (right) weigh 2.8 ounces (79 g).

I have tested other wind shirts, but I strayed away from them because they are often too hot to wear while hiking and because I can save some weight by wearing my lightweight rain jacket and pants if I really need wind protection. Then I had the opportunity to test the new MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants and rediscovered how useful a wind shirt (and pants) can be. These are super-light, so they have little impact on my pack weight. Is there really a place for a wind shirt and wind pants in an ultralight backpacking kit?


The spring 2010 MontBell Tachyon Anorak is made of their 7-denier Ballistic Airlight ripstop nylon with Polkatex DWR finish, which is the same superb fabric they use for the shell of their X-Light Down Jacket. It has a 7.5-inch (19-cm) lightweight #3 zipper, an attached adjustable hood, elastic cuffs, and a drawcord hem. It’s hard to believe the weight is just 2.4 ounces (68 g, measured for size Large)!

The Dynamo Wind Pants are made of slightly heavier 12-denier Ballistic Airlight ripstop nylon with Polkatex DWR finish. They have an elastic waist with drawstring, a small key pocket inside, and 12-inch (30-cm) ankle zippers.

Both garments have a basic feature set to make them user friendly, while still keeping weight to a minimum.

MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 2
Front (left) and rear (right) views of the MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants.

MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 3
Details of the Tachyon Anorak: The attached hood (top left) has a Velcro adjustment tab on the back. The hood is sculptured to fit the head well (bottom left) and has an extended brim. A lightweight hem drawcord (top right) has one adjustor. The front zipper closes up to the chin (bottom right), and there are two drawcord adjustors to snug the hood around the face.

MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 4
Details of the Dynamo Wind Pants: The waist (left) has an elastic waist band and drawstring, plus a small inside key pocket. The cuffs (right) have 12-inch (30-cm) high ankle zips, large enough to get my size 12s through.


MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 5
I tested the wind shirt and pants during the spring and summer of 2010 on numerous backpacking trips and day hikes. The Tachyon Anorak was just the ticket for hiking a 12,000-foot (3,659-m) windy ridge in early summer (left). I love to camp on the alpine tundra, such as this camp (right) at 12,600 feet (3,840 m) where it is typically windy or breezy; the Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Pants worn over an insulation layer makes life very comfortable.

For me (6 ft/1.83 m, 170 lbs/77 kg), the Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Pants in size Large are a perfect fit. The sleeves and legs are just the right length, and both garments are roomy enough to wear over a thin insulation layer.

I found both garments to be especially useful. I wore the Anorak a lot during the day whenever the weather turned chilly, breezy, or downright windy. For me, the wind shirt worn over a baselayer while hiking is a dynamite combination, and I wear that combination a lot in the mountains where it is frequently cool and breezy.

MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 6
Carrying a backpack over the wind shirt (left), did not abrade the wind shirt at all. I wore the pants in camp with my hiking shorts worn over them (right) so I could sit on abrasive rocks and logs without damaging the pants, and my shorts provided pockets. I kneeled on the ground many times with the wind pants on and did not damage the knees at all (of course I was careful not to abuse them).

The main difference between wearing a very lightweight wind shirt while hiking when it’s cool and breezy compared to using a lightweight rain jacket as windwear is that the wind shirt has a much broader comfort range. I can wear the Tachyon while hiking uphill carrying a backpack and stay comfortable much longer than I can with a lightweight polyurethane laminate rain jacket. The Tachyon completely blocks the wind and breathes well enough to stay comfortable, most of the time. However, when the breeze stops and the sun comes out, the anorak gets too warm and I have to take it off.

I did not wear the Dynamo Wind Pants as much as the Tachyon Anorak while hiking during the day. My legs don’t get cold as easily as my torso, so I simply wear them less. However, they really come in handy when I’m wearing hiking shorts and an icy wind suddenly comes up, or a shower. The pants (and anorak) will shed a short duration light rain or shower quite well - MontBell’s Polkatex DWR is excellent - but they will soak through eventually. When kneeling on wet ground, the knee area of the pants will readily wet through.

MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review - 7
The anorak’s hood tends to balloon in a strong wind.


As I said at the beginning of this review, I had forgotten how useful and versatile windwear is until I tried these. The Tachyon Anorak, especially, is so lightweight, yet so effective and durable, that I don’t go on a trip anymore without it. Many readers in hot humid climates are probably wondering what I am talking about, so I better qualify that. Most of my hiking and backpacking is in the mountains from spring to fall, and in canyon country in fall to spring. The ideal conditions for a wind shirt are when there is some combination of cloudy, cool, and windy; and that occurs a lot where I hike.

The sweet spot for a wind shirt is to wear it over a baselayer. That combination is remarkably warm and comfortable over a wide range of conditions while hiking. The type and thickness of the wind shirt can be adjusted for the season and expected conditions. I find that a very thin wind shirt, like the Tachyon, is best because it is comfortable to wear over a wider range of conditions. I previously used a Montane Microlight wind shirt, which is a little heavier, and it is simply too hot to wear much of the time.

Overall, I am very pleased with the light weight, minimal and useful features, fit, durability, wind resistance, water resistance, and versatility of the Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants.

Specifications and Features

Manufacturer MontBell (
Year/Model 2010 Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants
Sizes Available> Unisex anorak S to XL
Men’s pants S to XL
Style Hooded anorak
Pullover pants with ankle zippers
Fabrics Anorak is 7d Ballistic Airlight ripstop nylon
Pants are 12d Ballistic Airlight ripstop nylon
Both have Polkatex DWR finish
Features Anorak: attached hood with front drawcord and rear Velcro adjustment, 7.5-in (19-cm) front YKK 3 zipper, elastic cuffs, hem drawcord, stuff sack included
Pants: elastic waist with drawstring, inside key pocket, 11.8-in (30-cm) 3 zipper, elastic cuffs, hem drawcord, stuff sack included
Weight Size men’s Large tested.
Anorak Measured Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Manufacturer Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g) size Medium
Pants Measured Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g)
Manufacturer Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g)
MSRP Anorak US$89, Pants US$69
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement.


"MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review," by Will Rietveld. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2010-11-02 00:00:00-06.


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MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review on 11/02/2010 19:34:36 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Great Review on 11/03/2010 03:57:16 MDT Print View

This review is a breath of fresh air. How so? Well BPL reviews are generally very objective and hold products to the highest standards, which is why we all love BPL. However, it sometimes gets depressing to read about all the things wrong with each reviewed item. In this case, it is nice to read that Will found something with which he is very happy. Yay!

For years I have used the MontBell U.L. Wind Parka and Pants. They are perfect for hiking in the Sierras. The Parka weighs an ounce more but has a full zip, a zippered pocket, 15-denier fabric, and costs $10 less.

Philip Werner
(earlylite) - F - MLife

Locale: New England
eVent Comparison? on 11/03/2010 05:34:18 MDT Print View

I've had my eye on this Montbell windshirt ever since my hike across Scotland in May. I'd stopped carrying them to save weight, but it's clear to me that the 2.4 oz is a small price to pay for better comfort.

You don't say much in the review about breathability. How is the MB when you sweat, compared to one made from eVent?

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Re: eVent Comparison? on 11/03/2010 08:05:40 MDT Print View

Hi Philip. I did say that the thin fabric of the Tachyon affords more breathability than most other wind shirts. I don't know of any Event windshirts. The Event rain jackets I have tested are remarkably breathable, but they still get very steamy inside when you hike in them. This is very subjective, but I feel a lightweight windshirt like the Tachyon is much more versatile for wind protection than an Event jacket, and it weighs a lot less. The lightest current Event jacket weighs about 10 ounces, so there's a huge difference in weight. That said, I wonder why no one has come up with a lightweight Event windshirt. For example, UK manufacturer Crux has sleeping bags with a thin 2-layer Event shell; why not use the same fabric for a windshirt? Best, Will

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
tachyon review on 11/03/2010 08:11:56 MDT Print View

Good words Will (as always). Perhaps the most outstanding thing about the anorak is the cost! Seems like quite the bargin.

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review on 11/03/2010 08:51:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for a great review. The pants are exactly what I was looking for. I have the previous gen. MB wind pants and retrofitted with my own zipper, however these new ones use the new fabric which looks great.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
montbell tachyon anorak on 11/03/2010 10:21:23 MDT Print View

Can I assume that the pants and anorak keep mosquitoes from biting (drilling) through? (A reason to wear them when the wind's not blowing!)

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review on 11/03/2010 10:35:52 MDT Print View

Great review!

Sounds like great products at a great price.

Can anyone compare these to a Patagonia Houdini and the BPL Thorofare pants?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review on 11/03/2010 10:48:04 MDT Print View

The Anorak is lighter than the Houdini, does not have a stand-up collar, and is not a full zip.

I like the Anorak much better. Just as windtight, packs smaller, lighter, and IMHO better designed.

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review on 11/03/2010 10:50:27 MDT Print View

Thanks for your feedback Greg.

Can you comment on the difference in breath ability, durability, and water resistance?

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: montbell tachyon anorak on 11/03/2010 11:00:08 MDT Print View

I have other Montbell wind pants and wind shirts and they protect me from the mosquitoes, so I assume these do as well. It is a big reason I carry them.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review on 11/03/2010 11:12:59 MDT Print View

"Can you comment on the difference in breath ability, durability, and water resistance?"

I can, but it is all relative to the individual and the environment.

I find the Tachyon feels warmer (may not breathe as well) than the Houdini. My Tachyon is a tighter fit and has only a 10" zipper. I haven't found it to be an issue.

The Tachyon is new to me this year and sheds water very well, compared to my well-worn Houdini. Only time will tell.

Edited by greg23 on 11/03/2010 12:46:03 MDT.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Golite windshirt on 11/03/2010 11:19:27 MDT Print View

How does this compare to the Golite Ether Windshirt w/hood? I know that the Golite is a full zip, but is the material similar?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Wind Gear on 11/04/2010 00:50:21 MDT Print View

Nice review. It would be nice to see Montbell come out with a hoodless version which I would prefer.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"MontBell Tachyon Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants Review" on 11/04/2010 05:48:43 MDT Print View

I picked up the Tachyon last spring when it became available, did a short initial response thread some time ago, I found the fit to be typical of Montbell products, for me (6',170lbs) a Medium fits just right in all areas and allows me to layer over my Montbell UL Down Parka. I typically use my Patagonia Nine Trails jacket and find that the Tachyon doesn't breathe as well but keeps out wind quite a bit more. The cut and fit of the Tachyon is superior in my opinion, it's slimmer in the chest and more athletic in it's trim. The Tachyon complete with hood packs up about 1/3 the size of my Patagonia Nine Trails windshell.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Sleeping in Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants on 11/04/2010 12:16:47 MDT Print View

Anyone have experience sleeping in the wind pants? Specifically next to skin comfort and breathability (sp?).

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
So, how water resistant are they? Can they serve as very lightweight.. on 11/04/2010 20:28:18 MDT Print View

rain pants?

F. Thomas Matica
(ftm1776) - F

Locale: Vancouver, WA
Hood Adjustment?? on 11/06/2010 10:05:58 MDT Print View

Is it easy to adjust the hood with gloved hands???

Sometimes, for warmth/wind management, I like to tighten or loosen my hood when on the go.

Jeff Issenberg

Locale: SF Bay Area/Sierras
Temperature range on 11/06/2010 19:33:59 MDT Print View

I’m excited to see that a windshirt has made it into the BPL recommendations. I haven’t had a lightweight windshirt but have been thinking about which one to go for.

My question is about the comfort range of the Tachyon compared to what I’ve been using, a Columbia Titanium long sleeve button down shirt made with moisture-wicking Omni-Dry nylon. Definitely not light at 10 oz., but it has a wide temp range. When it’s hot on the trail I use this shirt only and role up the sleeves (there’s a buttoned tab that keeps them up). It also works well over a base layer when it’s colder. Is the Tachyon comfortable against the skin and is this what you’d wear when it’s around 70 F or is it only good when it’s cooler?

Edited by ijeff on 11/06/2010 19:35:14 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Temp Range on 11/06/2010 20:01:12 MDT Print View

I prefer shirts for warmer weather and windshirt for cooler. I wouldn't wand to wear a wind shirt at 70F. I have been looking for a hooded windshirt lighter than my Montane Lite-speed and this sounds great.