Montane Part 1

Montane are familiar now, we see their kit in the stores and on the hill, they’re a comfortable part of the UK outdoor psyche. But, I wonder how many of us actually see them as the ground breaking and boundary pushing manufacturer that they are?
They’ve been ahead of their time so often in design and fabrics, and now the market has caught up. But rather than re-issuing the Air Jacket and looking smug Montane are still working at new stuff, and having seen what’s coming in winter you can see they’ve not been pissing about.
The wonders of winter are for later in the year (mostly), but I’ve got some bits and pieces in for test from the summer range. I met Paul from Montane at the secret bunker in the Lakes and went through the whole lot, and there’s definitely more in there than Terra’s and the Super-Fly.

In spring I start to carry a windtop. Gadding about on the tops with a base layer and thin layer of Pertex is just the ticket, and Montane have more options that you can shake an accusatory finger at.
In for test is the red Featherlite Smock as seen above. much changed from my my first generation lycra-bound version.
There’s plenty more where that came from, the Lite-Speed (to the left, in blue) has a full zip, a pocket and a roll-away hood for just 165g, there’s gilets and bike specific cuts, even the clevelry vented Featherlite Marathon.
The aesthetics are better than they used to be as well, colours are blended and mixed, working with the shape of the user, rather than imposing upon it. The styling across the whole range has improved in fact.

The Lite-Speed H2O is the worlds lightest hooded waterproof. Now, its waterproofness has limits, this is for fast moving, this is an item where you know you are compromising and you can live with it. It’s 135g of slim-fit coated nylon, no pockets, no adjustment. It’s just enough.
I can live with it, I wouldn’t buy just because of its weight, hoping that the laws of physics don’t apply to me personally and that it’ll keep me as dry as a laminated shell.
It is what it is and I’ve got the one in that tiny stuff sack above on test to see how just how badass it thinks it is.

The pants that Paul’s holding above are the new Trail Tights. The fabric is soft and stretchy, the grey panels are lighter so they breathe better, they have a stretch pocket and ankle zips.
They’re designed for running and biking, with the reflective logos for just that purpose, but like all “racing” gear they’re usable across the board of activities, you just have to get over the looks. Open hillside, forging through heather and bog? Give me leggings anyday.
Multi-sport is the way to go anyway. I spend an evening last week getting my mountain bike tuned, I want to get trail running properly again. So, gear that doesn’t care what you’re doing is always good.
I take most of my cues from alpine or adventure racing gear. Backpacking specific thinking can be very limiting.

A had a look through the woman’s range as well, the same standards of functionality apply, and often in better colours! It didn’t fit either of us though…

30 thoughts on “Montane Part 1

  1. exciting stuff, ive lost count of the number of bits of montane kit me and our lass have between us. i love the terra converts, infact i have 2 pairs …1 old one new, slightly different but still the best zip off summer pants ive ever bought, you can almost bet your house on it that if you see me on the hill in the summer ill be wearing them.

    the only bit of kit i have from them that im not keen on is my featherlight…it only cost a few quid as it was on sale a long time ago but they only had it in dreaded black…and thats the only reason im not happy with it lol

  2. I picked up the old featherlite smock for a ridiculous £14,Yorkshire thrift again :), a fantastic piece of kit, plus pants and fleeces of theirs, great gear.

  3. Mmmm like the look of those troos. I still have a pair of Montane leggings from years ago that I wore to death but refuse to chuck out. Looks like these may well be good replacements for them :-)

    Please give me good news and tell me that they have eventually given us girls a pair of terra converts as the new design male ones are no good for my girly shape……..

  4. adi, you cannot argue with the price there!

    Blondie, I fear you are to be disappointed. I’ve seen their pants of the future also, and although there is joy, not zip-off joy.
    Anyway, vents are the future. Tick-free leg coolness!
    Not so good for the tan right enough.

  5. I’m interesed in the new featherlight as I’m fed up with everyone laughing at my fluro one I use for road running.

    Was in Tiso’s this afternoon and they have the new one in xxl only :-(

  6. I must confess I did not get a Prism 2.0 to replace my 1.0. Went with Rab there. Still love the Terra pants. Down to my last pair do to putting a big hole in the other pair and my knee as well. I will be getting a new pair. Montane is a fine British company and I see it is doing rather well over in the USA as well. Lots folks rave about it on BPL.com

  7. Footprints shouild have more sizes, Cotswold as well?

    The Lite-Speed looks better in the flesh that on the Montane site, as does most of the range. It is a nice bit of kit.
    Wee and light, that’s what we like.

  8. Taking across you there Martin!

    Montane is growing fast and it’s giving them the resources and confidence to branch out. I know I keep saying it, but the winter range is a big step up I think.

    They’re doing some er, “lifestyle” looking kit as well, still technical fabrics and there’s only a handful of pieces, but at the same time the technical range is getting more technical, less compromises, they’re taking on a few big folk nose to nose this winter.

  9. Well as I mostly live in a merino base layer and windproof all year round on the hill I reckon I could get sommat a wee bit more technical than the smock.

    A hood, full zip and wee pocket might be worth the extra 65 or so grams maybe. I’d like it bright but not glow in the dark like my current one.

    Mwis is looking mixed for the weekend, you and bobinson fancy cake and coffee later in the week?

  10. I have on order some Featherlite pants to go with my smock which is stunning kit. Light and performance to go with it. The Featherlite pants will be handy on windy days and make great light spare pants for long trips in Scotland when I have a rest day and wash the muck of my Terra pants. One thing Montane do well is light kit. Some firms claim they are light kit makers. Montane are.

  11. I like the Terra pants by these guys, but most of their fast and light stuff I have tried is cut wrong for me. I live with the Featherlite pants, well their aren’t many alternatives. The new Trail tights, look like the are copies of Salomon’s XA tights that have been around for a few years, same pocket place and vented back of knees. But then again no really a lot of scope with a lycra tight

  12. .. at least Haglofs got a great extra design feature on their Zone and Zap tights perfectly right, the stretch pockets for your gu on the thighs!!

  13. The Trail’s feel softer to me than the XA’s, I think the XA’s have more compression maybe? Might just be a sizing thing.
    I’ve got an old set of Haglofs LIM tights in black Powerstretch-GridLite (or something) with thin light grey lycra crotch, ankles and rear-knees. Odd looking, but it works.
    The new ZapII tights are great, those pockets are genius.

  14. The XA’s have a bit of compression, but nothing like Skins, they are so tight I find them uncomfortable. The ZapII tights are a very soft fabric, great for running and nordic walking. Them seem a bit soft for biking though. I’m staying with my Endura MTs for the bikes.

  15. The tightest stuff I’ve tried were some Sugoi bike shorts. I was asssured they were the right size, and I dare say on an athlete they’d be perfect, but regardless of how the body measurements added up I was going to die in there.
    I wear Endura Zyme 3/4 on the bike a lot, it’s good kit. Another home grown bunch too.

    Figure hiding too…

  16. my mate had a problem with his photon, the velcro started coming off so he sent it back and got a replacement straight away.

    the stitching came off on my powerstretch gloves so they are back at rab who are sending a new pair out as soon as they get some more so cant complain too much!

  17. Those gloves have been a favourite over the last couple of years, luckily mine are intact!
    The notion of Rab being a bit harem scarem in the quality control department isn’t entirely unfounded.

  18. It’s the reason I’ve got a Litespeed. My old Rab windshirt had a few faults and was returned for a refund. At least they took it back without question after some extended use.

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