The Mountain Hardwear Minalist offers bomb-proof protection in a hard-shell loaded with cool features. This jacket is built for the serious backcountry skier, or skier who spends a lot of time riding in warmer and wet conditions. It has Mountian Hardwear’s 3L Dry. Q elite which offers pretty significant water-proof protection and breathability. The Mountain Hardwear Minalist shell isn’t lined providing better breathability. This also sacrifices a bit of warmth as well. This won’t be a big issue for the backcountry skier who is working hard for laps, but may require a bit of layering for colder or less active days on the mountain. I do like the pockets on the Mountain Hardwear Minalist jacket, and they come with some nice little “extras” like a key clip, and adjustable hand pockets. All of the zippers are covered with PU helping to keep water out. The hood fits well, and the powder skirt works good. My favorite feature (I have only seen this once before on a high end marmot jacket) of the Mountain Hardwear Minalist is the neck gusset. This allows you to get your hood over your helmet, without having to unzip your jacket. Simply unzip the neck gusset, slip the hood over your helmet and zip it back up to tighten. It’s also nice if you have a lot of layers on underneath. Overall, the Mountain Hardwear Minalist is a great jacket for the serious backcountry skier, or resort rider who wants that extra bit of protection and features.
Fit: The Mountain Hardwear Minalist has an active fit, but it feels a bit more relaxed to me. It’s not bad since it offers more room for layering, but you may find you need to cinch down the draw cord a bit on the waist to keep out cold drafts. The length is pretty good (longer) and ideal for keeping out the snow. I often notice that Smalls in the active fit tend to be a bit too tight for me, and I find myself going up to the medium. But the small fit pretty well in this jacket.
Breathability: Mountain Hardwear has spent a long time developing their Dry Q technology. The Dry Q Elite really is one of the better breathing materials out there. According to Mountain Hardwear Dry Q Elite breathes almost immediately instead of having to build up moisture before it breathes. This is pretty nice when you start working hard, and I really did feel the jacket breathed really well.
Waterproofing: Most people feel that Gore-tex is the best waterproof material out there, but there are several newer materials that can compete pretty well. Dry Q Elite is definitely one of those materials. With Dry Q Elite waterproofing material, the Mountain Hardwear Minalist definitely offers some pretty serious protection from the wet snow.
Normal Specs– 5’10”, 160 lbs,
Upper Body– 34.5” Chest, Torso Length 23” (collar bone to pant button), Shoulder Width Approx 22”, Arm Length 18.5” (pit to wrist)
Lower Body– 30” Waist, 38” Hips, 30” Inseam, 22” Thigh
Turn On’s: Active fit jackets that fit well around my chest and torso, but don’t restrict movement. Size S Pants that have a bit more room in my thighs, that way I can actually use my pockets. And of course getting first chair with 12” of fresh powder on the mountain.
Turn Off’s: Size S Jackets that are too tight, and Size M jackets that are too loose in the waist. I really don’t like a loose waist that can allow cold air in, and I don’t like having to cinch down the waist. I also don’t like jackets that ride up when I’m skiing, The jacket should stay in place. Pants that fit too tight in the thigh, and I can’t use my pockets. Crowds in the mountains, and not being able to find a place to park in at the trailhead or ski resort.