The MTR line of clothing from Endura has become my favorite among all the offerings that the clothing company, based in Scotland, has in its broad line of goodies. I have used and loved the MTR Windproof Jerseys, the MTR glove, and the MTR Emergency Shell.
Now I have been running around in the new Endura MTR Shell Jacket over this past Fall/Winter in So Cal.
From the Endura website:
- Fast and light – packable, waterproof protection
- Highly breathable, lightweight Exoshell40™ 3 Layer waterproof fabric
- Ergonomically positioned stretch shoulder panels
- Fully seam-sealed construction
- Stretch waterproof cuffs and sides
- Detachable hood
- Athletic, non-flap fit
- Hidden loop for quick and easy packing
- Don’t let your jacket slow you down
Now I have gotten a lot of use out of the MTR Emergency Shell in that bright orange color. Minimal and close fitting, I have stuffed that into many a jersey pocket or frame bag and crawled into it when a fast descent required a wind barrier or the rains came. I have not found it to be exceptionally breathable, but tolerable when I consider the strong points: Packability, wind-proof, and very rain resistant if not outright waterfast. As well the cut is non-flapping and the color is high vis enough to use on the streets, but it is not what I would take for more expedition/bikepacking use. It is a bit too minimal for that.
The MTR Shell Jacket takes that usefulness up a notch with a removable hood and some fabric changes that make it a wiser choice for a more full-featured approach to a weather barrier jacket, yet without getting too bulky.
Here is how Tim Hayes, master of all things Endura marketing, compared the Emergency Shell to the MTR Shell Jacket:
“I think it out performs the Emergency Shell on two major fronts: breathability and functionality. This new shell that you wore [the MTR Shell Jacket] has a three layer fabric that increases air circulation and does not rely on the older 2.5 layer technology of a printed membrane to circulate air (ie:Emergency Shell), and I am a huge fan of the removable hood. This function allows for full coverage while out in the field and even off of the bike – thus a lot of bike packers have been finding it a great piece as it packs down super small and is easily packable.”
Looking at the Endura MTR Shell Jacket, there are obvious panels of different fabric sewn into the garment. At the shoulders and running down to the under-arms is a stretch panel that goes a long ways towards letting the jacket ‘give’ when you reach forward to the bars. I have long arms and decently broad shoulders for my slim build, but even so, I do not get any hint of the sleeves riding up when I reach out to arms length. I can feel that ‘give’ in the shoulder panels working for me. Also, embossed on those panels are some rubbery/silicon grip dots that are designed to keep your hydration pack straps in place rather than sliding down on slippery, wet fabric.
The length is just right in the LG size I wore for my 6’2″, 190lb frame. The tail is quite long and has a silicone grippy band on the inner side. The front hem is moderately cut in length, being more toward the race/road/gravel bike cut instead of longer over the baggys look. Actually it is just right IMO, for the MTR idea.
The collar has some fleecy-ness and is tall and quite snug when zipped all in. The zipper itself is more significant as compared to the MTR Emergency Shell. Better to survive the wilds that way.
Overall the cut is enough for me to get a base T and a long sleeve thermal, midweight jersey under it and still not feel cramped in it, but much more would be iffy.
- The breathability is better than the MTR Emergency Shell. How much so? Not sure, but IMO it is a step up. No venting though, so there will be limits.
- The hood is a nice touch and could go a long, long ways to keeping you from getting hypothermic in bad weather. It is fine when worn under a helmet. I would point out that the tiny snaps that hold it to the jacket might be a bit of a struggle to accomplish with cold, numb fingers and fat gloves, especially the two sets under the hidden collar flap. Maybe that is a place for magnets. As well, just what do you do with the hood when you do not want it on the jacket? Unless I expected really bad weather, I would likely run sans hood, but where to store it? I wonder if there could not be an inner pocket or set of snaps that the hood could store in/mount to? Dunno.
- The color is fine for MTB riding, but if I were bikepacking and there were cars involved in the route, I would want a brighter color. There are some reflective bits and pieces on the garment.
- There is an internal, secret, hidden, elastic loopy thing under the back of the collar that allows you to roll the Endura MTR Shell Jacket up and keep it in a tidy bundle.
- The sleeves are not up to getting over a set of heavier gloves, especially when removing the jacket. In that sense, having cuffs that would open more would be better, but then that would begin to get beyond the MTR light and fast approach. Keep adding features and soon you would be wanting a pocket!
I used it in the Autumn winds and for night rides where I wanted the cold air to stay off of damp jerseys. Used that way it was fine and snug. I took it out on an hour long rain ride where it stayed completely secure and allowed no water to get anywhere it should not have. For an MSRP of $199.99, the Endura MTR Shell Jacket seems to be a contender. You can spend more and you can spend less in that sense, but Endura, from what I have seen so far, offers good value for the duckets.
Note: The products shown here were provided at no cost to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.