Reviewed in July 2nd, 2021
The Versalite from Japanese based Mont-Bell is a sensational option for summer. It weighs half as much as many jackets here yet boasts high levels of waterproofing and sweat-preventing breathability and generous armpit zips for quickly dumping heat. Sure, the Gore S7 (below) is lighter, but this is a jacket for the real world, with usefully sized pockets, adjustable cuffs and hem and a fair amount of style thrown in for good measure.
Interestingly, the Versalite uses two layers of Gore-Tex Infinium with Windstopper Technology, which is typically sold as a highly breathable, windproof material with water resistance, rather than a waterproof fabric. Mont-Bell has given it a mighty upgrade however, by taping all the seams. The result is a waterproof rain shell that is impervious to wind, but also doesn’t make you feel stifled in the heat.
The ultra-thin fabric feels a little fragile - and sounds a bit plastic baggy - but the ripstop material proved more than a match for occasional brambles and a wrong turn into some gorse bushes.
Fit is true to size and adjustability is impressive given the weight. We’ve not found many jackets with a lightweight hood that can be adjusted in three different ways, even rolled up and away when not needed, yet can still pack down into a stuff sack that is only a little larger than (and half the weight of) a can of pop.
Pros: Light; packable; breathable; big pockets; pit-zips
Cons: A bit crinkly