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Wind Shell Guide

To the fast-packer or thru-hiker

Whether you're looking to do impressive distances over a weekend or are planning an entire thru-hike, saving weight and going light are imperative strategies for staying the course as you cover ground. One way to keep the weight off is to pack a wind shell, also known as a "wind shirt," as a breathable weather-resistant replacement for a traditional middle layer. When worn as your outermost layer or over your favorite base layer, 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 middle layer, wind shells like our Tachyon Hooded Jacket 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 lightweight 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 ultralight layer of protection to keep your sweat-drenched self from getting chilled is a huge plus. On a ride or run to the top of a mountain pass or canyon, a shell layer is rarely needed. However on the descent or when crossing windswept ridges with light precipitation, 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. This can cause you to overheat when you're in the throngs of an epic adventure. Weighing-in as little as 1.7 oz/49 g, (that's less than a Clif Bar!) Montbell Wind Shells provide protection from chilly breezes in a crazy-light, compact and breathable package that is perfect for the back pocket of your jersey or running pack.

Ballistic Airlight

This material is a nylon that is ultra-thin and ultra-lightweight, yet has incredible abrasion resistance. High-strength, ultra-thin fibers are woven tightly and with precision to create a fine fabric that shows impressive tear strength for its weight. In addition, the fibers are crimped to provide stretch and a comfortable touch 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

The pattern on our REFLEC Wind Jacket is printed with ink containing numerous highly reflective glass beads to make the user more visible and enhance their safety while around traffic at night and in low-light conditions.


Used as the lining in the Light Shell Series, 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 the skin. CLIMAPLUS MESH is quick-drying, lightweight and doesn't add too much extra bulk to the garment.

Samue Leg Closure System

This simple, yet ingenious system is inspired by the traditional work clothing worn by the Zen monks of Japan. Samue apparel is made with ties that can be used to adjust the length of the sleeves and pant legs. Instead of ties, we utilize an elastic band that has been integrated into the pant hem. This clever addition results in a lightweight way to close off the bottom of the pant leg.

1. Pull the elastic band from the pant hem and twist it 180 degrees.
2. Carefully guide your foot through the loop created by the twist, then secure the elastic band around your ankle.

Tachyon/EX Light Wind Series

What's lighter than ultralight? Extremely light! The Tachyon and EX Light models are designed to push the boundaries of weight-savings with an unbelievably thin 7-denier fabric that blocks wind and maintains a degree of breathability to vent excess heat. While these pieces are delicate and must be treated with care, they do pack down into a miniscule size and unfurl to add wind protection to your layering system.

People looking to go ultralight can make these models an essential part of their layering system. Following our Light & Fast® design philosophy, know that these models have been thoughtfully constructed to be ultralight and compact while sacrificing nothing in terms comfort, features, or function.

Stretch Wind Garments

The U.L. Stretch Wind Hooded Jacket, Anorak and Dynamo Wind Pants are made with a wind-resistant 15-denier fabric that provides a degree of stretch. The result is a garment that shed wind, facilitates easier layering and follow the body's movements to maintain mobility.

Ultra Light Shell Series

The Ultra Light Shell was designed to perfectly strike a balance between weight, wind resistance and warmth retention. The ultralight, wind-resistant 12-denier face fabric is "cut on the bias" to provide a degree of stretch to help maintain mobility. This comes with a polyester mesh lining that retains additional warmth and offer some moisture regulation to help keep you comfortable in cooler weather with moderate activity levels.


Featuring a pattern printed with REFLEC ink, this reflective jacket increases visibility and enhances safety while around traffic at night and in low-light conditions. This model utilizes a lightweight yet durable 40-denier fabric and comes with a stuff sack, allowing you to easily bring it along for hikes, after-dinner walks and evening bike commutes.


The value-oriented Wind Blast features a 40-denier fabric that is lightweight yet durable and helps maintain comfort in windy conditions along the trail. It's generously cut to fit over layers and features a packable design that will easily find space inside of your pack.

These models draw an excellent balance between performance, durability, weight and packability. This allows for versatile use for everything from your favorite hikes and weekend camping trips, to trips abroad over an extended holiday.

Light Shell Series

The Light Shell series was designed for versatility. It has a wind and water-repellent outer shell that's combined with a CLIMAPLUS Mesh lining, a brushed fleece that helps trap warmth. This combination makes the Light Shell Series perfect for cold weather activities of lower intensity.


The O.D. Hooded Jacket and Anorak are made with a durable 70-denier fabric that delivers a cotton-soft touch and great all-around use on trails, in camp and while on the go.