Helikon-Tex Tramontane Jacket: For the Ultra-Light, Outdoors, and All Day

Released in 2022, the Tramontane Jacket (TJ) is part of the “Outback” of products by Helikon-Tex. Made from a lightweight nylon, the Tramontane epitomizes the need for the ultralight backpacker or those seeing to keep the sun and light weather a bay for a day on the range.

Made entirely out of a lightweight wind pack nylon, and treated with Durable Water Repellent, the TJ is intended to serve as a thin breathable outer layer that offers a quick-drying shell that can easily be compressed and self-packed away inside the front chest pocket for minimal storage.

At its front, the TJ has an attached hoodie (with elastic cuff but without drawstrings) that provides moderate comfort against wind, and can protect the neck from chafe caused be rifle slings or other shoulder straps. On the rear of the hoodie is a nylon band that can be used to draw the hood tighter to the head as desired.

The jacket’s front includes a full-length minimalist YKK zipper. Additionally, a drawstring at the bottom edge allows the end-user to tighten the cuff as desired and minimize any potential wind.

Both sleeves include a low-profile, elastic cuff at the wrist.

The Tramontane Jacket comes in Coyote (featured), Alpha Green, Black, Shadow Grey, and five alternative camouflage patterns – and is available in sizes Small to 3XL.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): At a list price of $67.00 USD, the Tramontane Jacket (TJ) is a lightweight, outer shell jacket designed for the ultra-light outdoor industry. It is made from a breathable nylon treated for water resistance, but can easily be self-packed up into its chest pocket (about the side of a soda can) when not needed. Market alternatives to the TJ would include the Squamish Hoody ($159.00) form Arc’teryx, the Houdini Jacket ($73.00) from REI, or the Flash Challenger ($55.00) from Columbia and illustrate that the TJ is one of the more inexpensive wind shell jackets on the current market and a good overall cost for its materials and design.
  • Comfort Average (3/5): From a comfort aspect, the TJ did a appropriate (or average) job of providing that outer shell of weather protection—provided it was modest weather with little wind, and in conjunction with other outerwear. The TJ would not be ideal as a stand-alone jacket in cold or inclement weather, as cold temps easily could be felt and while wind was deflected, moisture saturation did happen after a certain time of exposure along the zip line and the material itself. But the TJ was very lightweight and easily stowable when not in use, which made it more ideal as part of a hiking loadout to defray against those early morning starts. Moreover when saturated, the fabric did dry very quickly. Perhaps one area of suggested improvement for Helikon-Tex to consider in improving the comfort of the TJ would be to reexamine the use of minimalize YKK zippers. The shuttle often became bound up and was difficult to get started, and a more robust zipper would be recommended while adding minimal weight to the overall product.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): Durability of the TJ is mainly limited by the thin fabric of the overall outer shell itself. This was directly related to the overall design of the TJ to be a lightweight and compact jacket that works in conjunction with other clothing to give some measure of protection against the rain or wind. As such, the TJ with its thin 100% nylon durability would not be recommended in a dynamic environment with extensive gear, or breaking brush where trees, rocks, and other hard edges will most likely tear at the fabric. The TJ was more suited for trails, jogging, or otherwise a light athletic settings where there is a need for light weather protection. During the course of review, some minor thread pulling was noted along the seams that came into contact with hook-and-loop (male) fabric but remained nothing that couldn’t be easily trimmed or compromised the overall stitch line.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): Functionally, the thin material and lightweight overall design of the TJ lent itself more that the jacket was appropriately (or as averagely) suited for light athletic events rather than a field setting. There was a clear advantage to having a lightweight wind shell jacket that was easily stowed, and would be more ideal for those in temperate climates than higher elevations. The drawstrings at the hood and along bottom helped mitigate overall wind penetration, but when worn as a stand-alone jacket there was still a good deal of heat loss due to the thin fabric itself. The best results observed; while worn independently, came from wearing associated gear over the top of the TJ and utilizing the jacket more as an outer shell to clothing and provided protection against wind chill—then (if needed) to add another jacket to retain body heat. As noted in the previous comfort section, the thin nature of the YKK minimalist zipper is a recommended area of improvement for Helikon-Tex, and the shuttle itself often had problems consistently threading the zipper at the start.
  • Weight Average (3/4): The weight of the TJ came in at 4.23 ounces (or 120 grams) which is an amazingly light weight for an outer wind shell jacket. This is due in large part to the thin nylon material that, even when wet could dry quickly and did not become burdensome nor fatiguing. In contrast, the Squamish Hoody (4.1 ounces) form Arc’teryx, the Houdini Jacket (3.7 ounces) from REI, or the Flash Challenger (16 ounces) from Columbia all demonstrate that amid a market of ultra-light outer wear, the smallest of ounces does indeed separate the products, and the weight of the Tramontane Jacket was appropriately within that market of product.

Overall Rating – Average (16/25)

Product Link: https://www.helikon-tex.com/en_usd/ku-tmt-nl-tramontane-jacket-windpack-nylon.html

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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