Montane Sabretooth Review

When this arrived for test I was in the middle of doing a vintage style heating installation, so the Sabretooth spent it’s first couple of weeks with me crawling under floors and fending off the attentions of tools, pipe & fittings and splintered Victorian woodwork (I think we got away with that last bit…). It came through unscathed and has been having an easier time of it on the hill, stilsons are definitely more badass than ice axes.

I tend to wear technical fabrics to work (merino base layers etc) so I was well aware of the Sabretooth’s Polartec WindPro fabric’s ability to breathe when working hard in minging weather and that translated to the hill. As a non-membrane fabric it’s not boil-in-the bag and repels enough wind to keep you just right when you’re on the move. There’s not a huge amount of insulation there and that balances out with the wind resistance to keep that comfortable middle ground across a good range of temperatures.
At lower levels the wide adjustable cuffs and mesh pockets do allow air flow to take the dge off, but this is definitely an autumn to spring all-day jacket, not something to sling in your pack.
Other good points about the fabric are that it’s got just enough stretch and that the DWR is frighteningly good, rain just rolls off, and if you’re working hard your body heat seems to keep the effect going for as long as your legs keep moving.

The cut is slim but not tight, I can wear a light and heavier base layer together under it and not feel restricted. On cold winter days this works really well and unless it snows consistently or the wind is very strong you’re set for the whole day.
There’s a simple hood which works well, it could maybe do with some volume adjustment on it, but it layers fine under a shell and it doesn’t get blown off my head, so it’s not a deal breaker.
The wide velcro-adjustable cuffs allow for venting as mentioned, but also let you pull the sleeves right up to your elbows for really cooling off and you can get big gloves neatly streamlined under them as well.
The pockets are a combination of ultimate joy, there’s two lower sited hand warmers so you can defrost fingers without losing core warmth and two high napoleons for actually useful and accessible storage. They’re all mesh as well for venting and minimal hinderance to breathability.

I would add and inch to the front as it’s climbing harness short, and I haven’t worn one of those in a few years now, so that’s maybe just a personal thing, not a fault as such.
It’s a smashing bit of kit, I like it. It also looks really cool.

I was worried by the whole softshell thing at first, my memory filled with WindBloc and Windstopper horror tales. I thought I was going to sweat and have to carry more and better clothes than normal to compensate for some apparent deficiencies in it’s performance. But after wearing it once and getting a feel for it I adjusted what I wore with it and never had an issue at all. It’s not a replacement for anything as such, it’s just a different clothing method and now that the fabrics available are super wind resistant without having a clingfilm style membrane in them, the performace matches the idea.

24 thoughts on “Montane Sabretooth Review

  1. nice one! i nearly bought the sabertooth as im sick of wearing my baltoro for work and play, in the end i went for the newer version of the baltoro guide for play (tried to get a red one but couldnt so got a blue one) and ill keep my nice black baltoro for work.

    i did like the fabric on the sabertooth though it felt like it could take a good battering.

    i wouldnt be without a softshell now, ive worn mine all winter and hardly used my waterproof.

  2. I’ve spent the last two years using Windpro hoodies, a Arcteryx and a Rab, they get used from the office, tops of 4000ers and trekking through the Himalaya. It is one of the best fabrics out there, and is so tough. After two years of huge amounts of use there is no piling of the fabric or loss of warmth, even in high wear areas under the rucksack straps. Great stuff

  3. This new baltoro guide seems more geared up for walking than the one ive been wearing, its got a lighter roll way hood, lighter material, stretchy panels and a nice fleecy lining.

    the toggles and zips are a bit better and the hood closure toggles are neater.

    on the other hand the old one is more basic and feels a bit more bomb proof and the cuffs etc feel a bit tougher and the velcro is thicker.

    ill see how it handles in the wild compared to the old one at the weekend.

  4. Sounds like quite a change in the spec Moggy, looks like they’re trying at least.
    I hope you get on well with it, I’m always temepted to get two of everything that works well as they usually screw it up next season!

    DNF that’s good news about the fabric, I don’t mind wearing it to work so much now. In the old days of regular fleece the van seatbelt would saw a channel into the shoilder quite quickly.
    The good old days!

  5. great review as always. Have you come across any gear made by Norrona? I’ve got one of their stretch pullovers on order – haven’t come across the brand before, but it looks like quality stuff in the Haglofs mould?

  6. i saw some of the norrona stuff in cotswolds in keswick before xmas, it looked like good stuff, they had a nice microfleece/stretch fleece but it was nearly £100 so i gave it a miss….might get one eventually though.

  7. Cheers Iain.
    Norrona were looking at getting proper UK distribution about a year ago and I checked out their kit then, but the deal never happened, so no kit!
    Their reputation is very good indeed, I liked the fact that they did Gore-Tex smocks.
    I’ve got some Lundhags gear that I’ll cover at some point, they’re coming into the UK this year.

    For hard to get Scandinavian kit, these guys are a good bet http://www.outnet.eu/scandinavian-outdoor-eu/home.php

  8. Hi Pete !

    First, thanks for your blogging, I read & enjoy it for quite a while now !

    Now my question: Is there absolutely nothing to adjust the Hood ?
    Did you weigh the Sabretooth ?

    Thanks & Greetings ,

    Max

  9. Hi Max, thanks for checking in.

    There’s no adjustnment on the hood, but it is well shaped to contour around your head, and the zip runs right up to youir chin so it’s secure in the wind. I’ll see if I’ve got a decent shot of the hood and I’ll post it later.

    My new digital scales are on their way to me as I write, I’ll weigh the Sabretooth wqhen they get here and from now on everything I review or write about will have an accurate weight!

    Alright!
    Petesy

  10. “Aye Moggy, I think price is an issue there!”

    Yeah their stuff is rather pricey, esp. with the Euro, Cotswold online had some in, they were selling ‘em for around £70 and I found a 20% discount voucher online ;-) just checked and they seem to have disappeared from the store now…maybe that’s why!

    Giving it a workout on Blencathra at the weekend so I’ll let you know whether its any good.

  11. For the curious Tamarack Outdoors sell a rather wide range of Scandinavian stuff, including seemingly everything from Norrona, and they’ve got a nice, newish website with pictures.

    Interesting to look although with the prices as they are….

  12. Aye Iain, lets see if it’s worth the non-sale price!

    I forgot about Tamarack Martin, their new site is much better.
    I sat and looked at a Canada Goose polar expedition jacket on there for an hour once trying to think of an excuse to buy it.

  13. hello I was reading this review on Sunday and saw you nodding towards Narrona gear but questioning the price.

    out of curiosity I looked at the Tamamrack site and low and behold they have got a Bank Holiday sale on. I quite fancy the Nansen jacket @ the discount price anybody got any views on this jacket versus mountain eqipment starlie guide?

  14. The Powershield fabric on the Starlite guide is very good, the Nansen is Windstopper I think? In which case the fabric is a membrane/laminate and not as breathable or quick drying as the ME jacket, but the Nansen has better features.
    It’s a dilemma that one!

    I see that Ellis Brighamd have a Norrona range for the summer, maybe we’ll get to see more of it in the UK at last.

    Tamarack is a great store, cracking gear.

  15. I got an email for the Tamarack sale a few days ago…. but when I looked they seem to no longer be stocking Haglofs – is that right?

  16. I think the price might put him off – but if he could get one on test …

    That site also has a sale on, lots of Haglofs and some Icebug footwear too – worth a look

  17. Aye no Haglofs for Tamarack, don’t know what happened there.

    Outnet is a good store, and it’s in euro’s which isn’t real money so you spend as much as you want…

    And yes, if Norrona are listening, feel free to send test kit in time for winter.

  18. thanks for your response Petesy I will probably lean towards the ME Starlite.Out of interest have you seen the geezer on the hike lite site doing a demo video on the sabretooth ,not quite as interesting as your weather hewn prose but worth a look

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