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Wind Shell Guide

To the fast-packer or thru-hiker

Whether you're looking to cover impressive distances over a weekend, or are planning a full-blown sojourn from Canada to Mexico, saving weight and going light are imperative strategies for staying the course as you rack up mile upon glorious mountain-mile. One way to keep those pounds off is to pack a windshell or "wind shirt" as a breathable weather-resistant replacement for a traditional mid-layering piece. When worn as your outermost layer or over your favorite baselayer, a wind shell will block ridge-top winds and misty precipitation in a way that a wool or ultralight synthetic fleece can't. On top of that, at nearly one-sixth the weight of a traditional mid-layer, wind shells like our Tachyon Parka are so light that the most diligent gram-counter will raise an eyebrow.
As with most ultralight equipment, wind shells are delicate, requiring a little bit of tender loving care, but when paired with a light weight rain jacket like our Versalite or Storm Cruiser for heavy precipitation, a wind shell rounds out the ideal kit for hikers looking to take to the trail as minimalistic as possible.

To the trail runner or cyclist

Cycling and trail-running are seriously demanding pursuits consuming tons of calories and generating copious amounts of body heat. As a result, in times of exertion, cool conditions are typically welcomed. However, when your output subsides and the weather changes, having an ultra-light layer of protection to keep your sweat-drenched self from getting chilled is a huge plus. On a pedal or run to the top of the canyon a shell layer is rarely needed. However on the down or when crossing windswept ridges with light precip, having something extra to take the nip out of the wind is a major plus.
But, why not take a traditional rain jacket? Fully waterproof jackets are heavier, less compressible, and far less breathable than a wind shell which can cause you overheat when you're in the throngs of an epic adventure. Weighing-in as little as 1.7oz, (that's less than a Clif Bar!) Montbell wind shells provide breathable protection from chilling breezes in a crazy-light and compact package that is perfect for the back pocket of your jersey or running pack. Take your mind off your kit and the conditions and focus on the flow.

Thru-hikers and backpackers have come to rely on these garments as an essential part of their layering system. The epitome of our Light & Fast® design philosphy, know that these have been thoughtfully constructed, focusing on a happy balance of ultralight, compactness without sacrificing comfort or function.

Ultralight Garments

The Tachyon and EX Light garments utilize ultralight 7-denier fabric that has excellent wind block performance but still breathes to release excess heat.

Stretch Wind Garments

The U.L. Stretch Wind Parkas and Dynamo Wind Pants are made using 12-denier fabric that is "cut on the bias." This provides the garments with a degree of elasticity, allowing the garment to layer more easily and follows the body's movements.

These "all season" models are just that, wind shells that can be used all year. The main difference between these garments and the ultralight models, they feature a mesh lining on the inside of the outer fabric. This combinatin of outer shell and lining means they remain windproof, help retain heat and are able to assist with moisture management. In spring and autumn wear these wind shirts as an outer layer and in winter enjoy their benefits as a technical middle layer.

Ultra Light Shell Series

The Ultra Light Shell series was designed as a balance between ultralight weight and warmth retention. Featuring the same fabric as the U.L. Stretch Wind Parka, the simple mesh lining provides a degree of warmth that should help keep you comfortable in cooler weather with moderate activity levels.

Light Shell Series

The Light Shell series was designed for versatility. It has a wind and water resistant outer shell, combined with a Climaplus Mesh lining, a brushed mesh that helps trap warmth. This combination makes the Light Shell Series perfect for low levels of activity during colder weather.

We envision outdoor enthusists using these models when needing something to throw on while sitting around the campfire or perhaps a quick evening walk with the dog. These models focus on a balance of general usability, durability and lightweight compactness. And of course these models can also be used for more traditional outdoor pursuits, they just aren't as lightweight and compact as some of our more technical models.

Value and Performance

This value oriented wind shell is cut generously for layering and remains comfortable when active.


Use as your everyday windshell and put it on at night for jogs and walking the dog.

Urban Friendly

This anorak has a soft, cotton-like feel.
The vest is comfortable to wear even over a t-shirt during hot weather.

Ballistic Airlight

ultralight yet excellent abrasion resistance

Ballistic Airlight is a nylon that is ultra thin and ultra lightweight, yet has incredible abrasion resistance. Because each individual fiber is tightly woven to create a fine, supple fabric. In addition, the fibers are crimped to provide excellent stretch and feel comfortable against the skin.
About denier: Denier is the weight of a 9,000m long thread, and in practical terms, it is a good equivalent of thickness. A thread of 1-denier would weigh 1 gram. The lower number the denier, the thinner and more fine the thread.

Reflec ink

Reflective ink printed on the outer surface of the fabric contains thousands of tiny glass beads coated with reflective aluminum.

Bias Stretch

Woven fabrics typically do not stretch vertically or horizontally without the utilization of elastic materials in the fabric, which makes it heavier.
However, when stressed along the diagonal the same fabric will show stretch characteristics.
Bias stretch orientation
Fabric cut on the bias promotes limited stretch.
Traditional fabric orientation
Standard fabric placement provides little to no elasticity.

Samue Leg Closure System

1. Pull the elastic boand out and twist it 180 degrees.
2. Carefully guide your foot through the loop created by the twist ando secure the elastic band around the ankle.


Used in Montbell's lined wind shells, Pants and Vest, CLIMAPLUS MESH is double knitted using extremely fine polyester fibers. The space between these very thin fibers serves two important functions : trapping air for added warmth and wicking moisture away from skin. CLIMAPLUS MESH is lightweight, doesn't add to much extra bulk to the garment, and dries quickly.