Montane Halo Stretch eVent Jacket Review

I’ve worn the Halo a lot over the winter, and that’s a good sign. I was relieved when it appeared for review as I’ve often struggled with some aspects of Montane’s waterproofs and the Halo seems to have taken a fresh direction in a lot of ways, and on one of those ways it’s knocked down a few issue coconuts in the coconut shy of mountain happiness.

All the technical stuff is on the Montane site, but on your body in the weather is where the truth lies and I’ve been lucky to have been wearing this in some horrendous condtions. Lucky in that although it’s light, it’s a proper mountain jacket and has balls big enough for the job. It’s halfway between a Quickfire and a SuperFly, but it’s better than both. The SuperFly was too short at the front and the hood left the sides of my face and chin exposed, the Halo has a long body and new protective hood with a wired well shaped peak, that when cinched right in leaves only my eyes visible, that’s what I want right there. The pockets are better than the Quickfire, and the cut of the body and again the hood are better and worth the extra weight. My size large comes in at 430g.

The pockets are neat, the side mesh lined pockets have regular zips with a clever double storm flap that keeps the rain out, and once I’d ditched the rubbish ribbon zip pulls that came on the jacket and fitted some knotted cord they were usuable with gloves on as well. The centre chest pocket is brilliant, I love this feature on any jacket. On the Halo it’s a good size and the zip is “upside down”, in that it opens from the bottom. This means you can sneak items in and out without letting the weather into the pocket. Don’t leave it open of course or you’re Wagon Wheels might roll out.
The pockets are constructed to allow for expansion inside, so although this jacket looks very similar to Rab’s Super Dru which I wore for a few months when it first came out, there’s a lot more detailing and thought here (the SuperDru’s pockets are sewn flat and the jacket distorts when you put stuff in there).

 The dark grey panels in the photies are made of an Entrant stretch waterproof fabric, where the rest of the jacket is in eVent, and what does this mean? It means you get a closer cut jacket for better all round performance because of the well placed stretch panels, and an imperceptable difference in breathability between the different fabrics. Breathability is superb and the inside only starts to get greasy in constant downpours when the outer skin is really wet, which takes a while as the DWR finish is pretty good, or if I’m working really hard. Which isn’t often.
eVent has dented Gore’s stranglehold on the market a little and hopefully in time that’ll let Entrant and others to break through and give us more choice and some price wars too maybe?

Arm movement is perfect, the hem stays put with raised arms, head movement is good when the hood is cinched in a bit, letting you see the scenery, not the inside of the hood. The hood also has proper adjustment unlike some previous Montane hoods and it’s easy enough to work with winter gloves on.
It’ll work all year round, it’s light enough to carry in your pack all day and badass enough for wearing on winter adventures.
Niggles were few, the zip pulls must of course die the moment you get your Halo home, the cuffs have the same rubbery velcro adjuster that everyone uses and I’m getting sick of as they distort and loose stickiness, and that’s about it. The fabric when new is a little rigid and rustly. but after a couple of washes eVent really softens. It’s smooth now and the hood sits better, it was a little “high up” at first, but settled down quickly.
It’s a great jacket, and the Spring 09 version has some tweaks. Most obviously the main zip is now exposed with a rear storm flap compared to my “kissing” closere on the ouside which works well and hasn’t let water in, indeed my years-old Montane Air jacket has the same arrangement and has never failed me yet.

45 thoughts on “Montane Halo Stretch eVent Jacket Review

  1. Why are all the companies going towards those ‘waterproof’ zips and losing the front storm flap? Storm flaps are great when it’s raining but not too breezy as you velcro the storm flap shut and leave the zip open which really helps with venting.

    Will Winter 08/09 versions be available at a better price when the ‘improved’ Srping 09 version appears?!

  2. Was that a good hood I heard you say!! Any chance of a close up photo?

    I’m really growing to love my Litespeed and Prism 2.0 and the Halo may just be the answer to my lightweight waterproof search.

  3. holdfast, I’ve seen the Halo in sales for £140/£150, at the price it’s a steal.
    That velcro venting thing is what I used to do, great for zipping up to my nose and still being able to breath as well.

    More-On I do have hood close ups, but they were taken when the fabric was still stiff and it makes the hood look odd, and every time I’ve worn it since it’s been pissing down or snowing so I haven’t managed any more yet.
    I’ll dig one out though and stick it below.

  4. whats the sizing like on this jacket, is it the same in the large as the superfly xt?

    for some reason i fit the superfly xt large but every piece other montane clothing i need an extra large in. i think they make their jackets one size up than the rest of their clothing to accommodate layering.

  5. It’s much slimmer at the same labelled size than the Superfly XT.
    I asked Montane about that very sizing issue and the XT is bigger made as they’re expecting folk to wear in winter on the mountains with more layers underneath.

    The Halo in a large sits well with a Rab and a Haglofs size large.
    The Halo is a brilliant jacket, I’ll be wearing it again now that the rain’s heavier, the temperature’s slipping and autumn’s on it’s way.

  6. thanks ptc, i ordered the large b4 i saw your post and the odd montane sizing strikes again as its too small across the chest (im 43 inche chest), it really is the stated 42 inch chest size in contrast to the superfly xt where the large is more like 45 inch (despite the label inside saying 42inch).

    your right about it being the same as the haglof and rab sizes, i think the smaller sizing must be fitted on the older generation english market as most american brand sizes are a bit larger.
    ive ordered the xl, theyre on offer in field and trek for £110 incluiding delivery which is a bargin.

  7. That’s a brilliant price!

    Sizing is getting very difficult, the Marmot test kit I’ve got is medium and large and the fit is the same. Increasingly, sizing is not only by garment, but by range as well. Lightweight gear, racing gear etc is much slimmer that standard all-round-use gear.
    The diversification is going to make mail order a nightmare.

  8. Hi Pete and Happy Easter!

    The bank holiday rain and reading your Halo review reminded me I have to think about a new waterproof jacket when I go away (the Peak District not prison) in April. My Black’s Technicals Event jacket has long since become my work jacket, a role it fulfils admirably, but which leaves a void for leisure use.

    I own mainly Rab and Montane gear – the same as More-on above it seems – and am more than happy to stick with Event and either of those two makes. I’m looking for all-round use and all-year and ‘hoped’ to spend less than £150 given a trip to the Rab factory shop later this month, web-hunting and the best retailers the Peaks have to offer.

    Any thoughts as to Montane Venture, Evolution, Halo (more winter use form your description?) or Rab Drillium, Bergen, Latok?

    Cheers, and don’t eat too many eggs unless you plan to walk them off; which is is really advice to myself, of course.

    Bar

  9. Too late for the egg advice…

    Montane? I wouldn’t get the current Venture, the new version coming out around Autumn is a much better jacket. But if it’s really cheap… ?
    The Evolution and Halo aren’t a million miles apart in layeout, but the Hola is a good bit lighter, so definitely better for year-through use.
    I’ve got the Meteor DT on test just now, the fabric’ll never perform as well aa eVent, but it’s a great jacket.

    Rab? The Demand pullover is brilliant, I think it’s the best Rab waterproof and one of the best lightweight options in the shops. But you need to be able to live with one pocket.
    The Bergen is too heavy and boxy I think, but depends of your shape, the Latok Alpine is a nice uncluttered jacket, I have an older one and really like it. I’ve got a Super Dru on test (the new version which is just comin into the shops) which is a bit wintery in design, but still pretty light for what it is and worth a look.
    The Drillium is great, but the hood does lack the protection around the face that you get from fixed designs. I had one and liiked it, but it went on ebay when I started to get test kit!

    Hope that’s a little help at least!

  10. Too late for me, too. Sick of chocolate (for now) already.

    Thanks for your reply, it’s certainly given me something to think about. For some reason I only ever see the Venture of the Montane’s locally and the Latok range and, once, a Drillium of Rab’s. So having insight from someone who has sene and used a wider range is always helpful.

    As for bargain current Ventures? £125 and about £135 for a Latok Alpine. I think I will need (want) to get one before the Autumn, so that rules out the revised model. I’m fairly slim (egg excesses aside) and so will discount the Bergen option and any other bulkier choices.

    I did see and try on a Rab Momentum, which was discounted to £80 but was only available in a small – I’m not quiet that slim! For a short-arse I seem to have bulky shoulders and the small would have put paid to all but the most minimal of layering systems. I won’t mention the retailer, but amusingly they had it labelled as a Rab Beluga. Perhaps the colour was Momentum? It appeared to be very basic and simple – as did the Venture and Latok Alpine – is it a Demand with a full zip or not quite?

    I am, in some ways, sorely tempted by a Demand, but would prefer more pockets and a full zip. It’s one of those situations where if I had both to try I would no doubt get used to the pull-on and forget about the pockets and smock aspects – or would I? A single purchase choice means I will probably play safe. On a side note, the Rab Alpine pertex pull-on looks great and is in my local retailer for £60. I don’t need one (however, the argument could be made) but it still looks bloody great.

    It could be a 4 way Drillium, Latok Alpine, Super Dru, Halo bust up with a Demand/Momentum and left-field Slipstream tussle on the sidelines. I think that this week warrants a try on of a Latok Alpine, too small Momentum and venture to rule them in/out while I watch prices and await my trip to the Rab shop. Be interested to hear how the Super Dru does and Demand longer-term and likewise your thoughts on the Momentum. Also, a lot of reviews note that hood issue exposing the face on the Drillium. Not a clincher for me perhaps, but a shame nonetheless.

    Ta

    Bar

  11. There is so much choice out there, and when some of the models are very similar it’s a nightmare trying to\ pin down the best one.

    The Demand with it’s half-zip and single pocket is a leap of faith in some ways, it’s online for £125, but if you’re walking in the rain and are looking for two chest pockets to put your hands in, it’s not much of a bargain at all.

    The Momentum is another quirky one with just those napoleon pockets. I like these pockets as they’re so useful on the move, but nowhere to put your hands again if that’s what you’re after.
    The Halo and Super-Dru have a single centre pocket and two side pockets which for me makes them more usuable than a Latok Alpine because being so used to single-pocket smocks, that centre-access pocket is what I use the most.

    I might come down to fit though. The Halo is a little slimmer than the Super Dru, but otherwise they’re almost identical.

    The rain is battering down here, I might just take the Super Dru out for a spin later!

    Beluga? Aye they’re not understanding the swing tag there, mind you, serves Rab right for not just saying charcoal like everyone else :o)

  12. It is definitely a tricky one. You get used to what you’ve got, good or bad, and the one or two features which woudl elevate a jacket beyond or consign it to irritating probably won’t reveal themselves until it’s used.

    I know it’s not a good habit in case of a face plant, but I do find myself walking along hands in pockets sometimes. That said, with a pack on they get lost to the harness and straps so…

    Inevitably the Super Dru and Halo are pretty much matched pound for pound everywhere I’ve seen them on-line and none of my locals shops have them. I like a centre pocket, too. It is something my Prism lacks, I feel. The Rab Generator vest has one and they can’t be beat for quick access on the go.

    Dry as a bone here in Essex, England’s desert, so will be good to hear how the Dru and Halo fair in ‘proper’ spring weather.

    You’re right, of course, Rab should should avoid poncification and stick to names like Generator, Belay and the sadly departed Kinder and colours like black and red; and orange, naturally. I might even be tempted over to the orange side by a Demand or the devil’s work (aka an unneeded but oh-so-desirable Alpine pull-on). The Demand, lack of pockets and all, is still a draw for me. it’s voodoo, I’m sure of it.

  13. The Alpine Pullon is nice :o)

    It’s funny, give a me a side-pocket jacket and I’ll use the pockets, but I don’t miss them if they’re missing. The Arc’teryx smoch I’ve got has a pouch pocket, but you can get ypouir hands into the pitzips to warm them which is great.

    Looks like Halo versus Super Dru then? That is a tough one!
    Both jackets pockets remain accessble with a pack on, the Super Dru’s are unusualy high up in fact.
    Lots of little differences there, but they do all add up.

  14. Hmmmm; ever-so-slightly my heart says Halo and my head says Super Dru but for no real reason I can put my finger on. I’m going to email the Rab guys to ask if the shop has discounts as that might swing it when I’m up there. I am sure that either will be an improvement on my Technicals which has been a great workhorse but is probably not in the league of the others in terms of fit and features.

    The Super Dru does seem to score well in durability according to long-term tests. I’ll have to hunt the net until I go and see what appears I think. Thanks for your help. Two with a wild card is certainly less arduous to decipher than the list I started with. The Momentum, barring a pricing miracle, would lose out to a Demand if I went that route so that’s canned.

    Bar

  15. Unless you spy something else that really takes your fancy!

    The good thing about either jacket is that they’re winter compatible (hood, length, pockets), but without the extra weight you’d expect. You could do a lot worse.

    I hope you will notice a difference to your Techniclas jacket, it’ll be good to hear what you say about that.

  16. Hi Pete,

    I made time to check out what was on offer at my local Go Outdoors this afternoon and to try them all on. What I can’t believe is the placement of the security tags on all their more expensive items. It seems designed to get in the way of operating the zip to get into the jacket and I nearly had to buy a Venture because I got stuck in it for a good while. I know they’re worried about theft but… The Latok Tour also had a cable through the sleeve as well; I felt like Houdini just trying it on.

    Of the items they had, I was surprised by what I liked and didn’t.

    The Momentum was unpriced but last seen at £80 but I don’t want it. The pockets aren’t for me and they only had large or small left. Fit-wise I just didn’t like it at all as a walking jacket. A waterproof sack maybe?

    The Venture had zip issues in blue but not in red. I don’t suppose the tag helped.The medium was a nice enough fit but all very basic stuff I guess. Less of a sack than some of the Rabs but uninspiring even at £125.

    The Latok Tour I found last, hidden way on the wrong rack and in a sale for £197. Nice internal pockets, irritatign outer pockets I seem to recall and pit zips that I first thought were badly located pockets. It was quite heavy, ugly and my least favourite along with the Momentum. I just wouldn’t buy it for what I envisage my use will be and probably wouldn’t buy it full stop.

    The Latok Alpine was full price in Red and Black but discounted to £140 in a sort of darker, duller, brick-ish red colour that I presume is a previous year’s model? Can’t find an example online at all. They’ve had their Latoks for ages and can’t seem to shift them or the Vapour-rise Stretch Tops. It was okay fit-wise in medium (and not too bad in small), nice hood, good pocket lay-out I guess but quite sack-ish and not particularly inspiring.

    The Demand was a, ‘why not try it on?’ moment, and other than almost insurmountable GO security tag issues, impressed me greatly. Light, seemingly softer material, very bright blue, good hood, smaller than expected chest pocket and good fit in Medium or small over one or two thin layers. I felt less restricted than I expected and managed to extricate myself without unzipping too much when the tags prevented it the second time around. Better no pockets than the Momentum’s I was thinking. Now a Demand with a full zip, centre pocket and side pockets? Please.

    I also tried the Alpine Pull-on but was less taken with it. I really wanted to like it and do, sort of, but it was tight across the shoulders and underarms in medium compared to the Demand. For a short-arse, slimline bloke I do have relatively wide shoulders and lats – genes or monkey glands not weights or any exercise – and so maybe a large would have been needed. It’s no Demand though.

    It is a real shame that GO didn’t have a Halo, Super Dru or Drillium to try as at this rate I fear I will be smocking it and wondering what to do with my hands. The Halo still looms large as, blue jacket zips aside, there was something more to the fit and general feel of the too simplistic Venture that suggested a Halo might trump the Latok Alpine and Co. If I had needed to choose and buy today from that stock I would have wandered around in a quandary with a red-ish brown Latok Alpine and a shockingly blue Demand in my hands before making a break for the till with one before I could talk myself out of it. I’ll leave you to guess which might win ;)

    I can see what you mean now about the demand; it is a product that Rab have got right. As for the others? I haven’t tested them in weather, obviously – it was difficult enough getting them on past the tags – but they are less differentiated over my Technicals than I imagined/hoped. Unless I find a Halo to try locally it will be down to the Rab shop showdown I think.

  17. Good info there, and the only way to really know is to do what you did and spend time trying stuff on and really picking over it without the pressure of “Must buy today!”.

    I had my Super Dru on all day today, I’ve forgotten how well the hood moves mith my head, even when not fully tightened up.
    I don’t know what is the clear winner for me between the Super Dru and the Halo though, and the Halo out now is an update of my original.

    You’re getting there, sensible searching rather than an impulse purchase followed by ebay is something I wished I’d figured out years ago.

  18. Hi Pete,

    Back from the Peaks and some exhaustive jacket testing, well trying on. It was difficult fitting it in between the pub and walks and my mate getting bitten by a farm dog, but I managed.

    I even saw one of those old Montane Air jackets you’ve mentioned nostalgically in other threads as well as old stocks of Drilliums, Latok Alpines and several original Superflys. The Rab shop had the shiny Drilliums at £60 with nowt wrong, just samples. For that money I would have bitten, exposed face be damned but they only had smalls; loads of them in shiny orange and no other size or colour. Rab Bergens were everywhere, I mean everywhere but they aren’t for me – Howard and Hilda. I have to say that a Rab Pioneer is much worse though as the Bergen wasn’t nearly as awful.

    Hitch n’ Hike, tucked away behind Bamford garden centre had more Rab and Montane products together than I’ve ever seen but a bit messy and well overpriced. Perhaps it isn’t deliberate (can you feel my scepticism?) but apart from slightly reduced Airs and Superflys, they mixed old editions of Rabs and Monatane, some a bit tired-looking with the new stuff and priced them at this year’s list prices – hence having loads of stock, I guess?

    In the end, well it was a totally dry week, I bought no shell as all the retailers were charging too much and there were no Halos or 2010 Super Drus to try. Only the Latok Alpine nearly got bought – nearly. What really impressed me fit and design-wise was the Montane Atomic 2 Stretch. Okay, maybe not longest in the body but a bloody great fitting hood and not at all sack-like. Unfortunately I felt that the material would be a tad tacky against the skin in summer/spring use, but that and the Meteor you showed on here are, imho, bloody well-designed.

    I’m currently enjoying my £40 Rab Vapour-rise Lite jacket – I couldn’t leave the excellent factory shop empty handed – and have given up wishing Halos prices would plummet or else it is a Latok Alpine or maybe Super Dru; I hope it is less shiny and thin than the old small sized one I squeezed into in the shop.

    For a Atomic/Meteor-alike fit in e-Vent (yeah, I know, but I trust it and have been bitten before – not a dog) would a £139 Evolution seem good value and similar design, dya think? I will have to reset my limit at the Latok Alpine’s £160, so the Halo, regrettably, goes.

    Btw, I never knew Patagonia stuff was so dear. I can’t get excited about it or Paramo, which might indicate that I’m a youngish 40 after all.

    Cheers

    Bar.

  19. Wildlife and gear shopping?!
    I got bitten by a dog on the bike a while back (I was on the bike before someone asks…), the story always sounds funny, later on. The antibiotics less so.

    Well, you’re getting there. That money will be leaving that wallet soon.
    I had a quick run round some shops in Ambleside yesterday, so much gear out there now. I really is a night mare to pare it down to one choice, the next shop has always got something interesting too.

  20. Hitch and hikes behaviour might be unusual but it makes a lot more sense to me than savagely discounting stuff just because its spent a meaningless year or two sitting on a hangar!
    (makes for fun history trips/ a chance to find stuff some genius has decided to stop making too :))

  21. It’s certainly true to say that I have never seen a Montane Air before or since, and fans of the original Superfly would have been in their element, but for me it’s a about honesty. They may not feel it necessary to discount – and changes aren’t always improvements – but if they genuinely believe the older unsold product to be equal or superior to the latest incarnation then they should stand by that in a more upfront way.

    I think that discounting-wise the manufacturers contribute in that regular tinkering inevitably leaves retailers with stocks of ‘old’ gear and it can’t always be easy, I guess, to anticipate what we fickle public will take to.

    To belatedly defend Hitch n Hike, despite being an list price type place it is very interesting to mooch around and very well stocked compared to many, including those sterile shops with much larger premises.

  22. Hi,

    Typical BH weather eh?
    Went for a run in my Featherlite over-trousers and Litespeed jacket this morning; now that’s a shiny combination for sure!

    I also managed to get wet in the typical bank holiday downpour of Saturday night in my Haglofs proof material jacket. This highlighted the need for a new waterproof to give the Technicals a rest and leave it as a work jacket. Especially as the rain was beading off my mate’s Mountain Equipment Morpheus.

    I finally clicked over the weekend that you were in a new Venture (complete with sorted out hood) in your look at Montane’s Winter 2010 range. Any idea of when this is coming out and the RRP? As logn as it isn’t too dear I think I’ve finally found the jacket! Albeit with a wait needed, I guess.

    Bar.

  23. Late August at the earliest for the new Venture, and it’s a cracker too. Can’t find the price list, but it is their cheapest eVent jacket.
    I’d be happy in it!

    I have to say holiday Monday was glorius up here, and I spend it at work…

  24. The money is, mentally at least, put aside for late summer then. I very nearly bought a Rab Latok Alpine and there’s nothing wrong with it but it didn’t grab me. The Demand made a late run as well but I’m settled now.

    Shame about you having to work if it was nice up there. Down here you might have been glad to have been in work; it was almost stereotypically bad Bank Holiday weather.

  25. Good to be settled! You’ll be able to resist the end of summer season sales no problem :o)

    It’s gotten a bit greyer here now, but it was really humid and warm at times and I was expecting thunder. I think the bivy trip can wait a few days yet…

  26. ‘Summer Sales?’ now there’s a cat to frighten the pigeons! You never know I guess but waiting until Autumn gives time for the bank balance to recover if I can resist other purchases. The only other things I ‘need’ are a pair of waterproof walking shoes for work/me and some better waterproof over-trousers. I have always bought cheap and nasty and heavy; fine for work, I guess. Marmot Precips have caught my eye so those summer sales may come in handy after all ;)

    Never slept in a bivy but must admit I like the idea. Whether I’d actually sleep is another matter. Thunder would spice it up a fair bit I reckon?

  27. I usually pack pretty plain waterproof trousers, Paclite ones work well and don’t take up much space, the Precips’s will be the same. Montane Atomics are anopther good option.

    The bivy bag I’ve been using the past couple of years had a pole structure around your head, so it’s very pleasant. It’s been a lifetime sonce I was in a plain body-bag style bivy.
    I will have stuff to say no doubt!

  28. I’ve only tried a Montane Evolution on at the showroom, but it is pretty similar to the Halo, and I’d say the Demand is a bit slimmer fitting at the same size. The Halo is closer to the fit on the Rab Super Dru.
    I still take a large in them all though, the difference on me isn’t enough to change sizes.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.