Montane, What’s Now and Next

 Winter is just around the corner and Montane’s new kit is just hitting the shops. I was down at their Lakeland bunker a few weeks back with Craig and Paul showed us what’s happening.
The test kit I’ve got for this winter is here.

I’ve often mentioned that there’s not enough skulls on outdoor gear, so at least the Slipstream Gilet allows you to display your own through its mesh back. It’s a quirky piece this, but very useful and I know a few folk who swear by them. A nice bit of Pertex on the torso on the bike at this time of year is probably all you need when you’re sweating up the trail.
At the other end of the protection scale is the new North Star down jacket below. I saw this the last time I was at the showroom and was sworn to secrecy. It’s a nice bit of kit, great hood, great cut with full body movement. It’s got a stitched-through construction, but done in “shapes” that follow the contours of your body. Very light too.

Lightweight softshell is a Montane regular, the beefier Sabretooth that I tested last winter is staying in the range, and next year we’ll see the Dyno above. It’s hooded, fitted, cut from Pertex Equilibrium and is totally badass.
Montane’s waterproofs are now all coming up the standard set last year by the Halo Stretch. The eVent Evolution below is fresh onto the shelves having just buried the aging Super-Fly’s body in the woods. And rightly so, it’s a better jacket in every way. And I’m saying that without a gun being pointed at my head, that finger isn’t loaded.

The Meteor DT above is a 350g shell cut from Entrant DT with stretch panels. It’s the same slim cut now running through the range, but it’s got good length, proper protective hood and still has three pockets. Entrant is a great fabric, and shouldn’t be seen as second class. The Entrant jackets are every bit as well thought out and as technical as the eVent ones. You can’t say that about all the brands when they use alternative fabrics to their regular Big Name.
Crag’s smiling out of the Dragonfly shirt below, it’s zoned to let heat out of the upper chest area. I thought about this, and if you’re layered up, unzipping your outerlayers to expose this thinner fabric area might let you cool down quicker without unzipping your baselayer as well. Less faff in winter maybe? It’s a subtle thing, but folk are thinking at least.

Paul’s holding a checkpoint sign from the Lakeland 100 race. He was preventing me from leaving with all the orange kit, but it also shows you how important events are becoming to the manufacturers to show their techy credentials, well the ones that haven’t gone all lifestyle anyway.
Below is the wummins Mayfly shirt, a female-cut Dragonfly. Like the Dragonfly, it’s two weights of Polartec Powerdry. I’ve got used to the concept of zoning in recent times, from things like the Montane shirts to the extremes of compression base layers. It’s a good idea, and it’s interesting to see how different brands approach it, some putting the hot bits where other put the cool bits and the like.

Above is the wummins Dyno for next year, again in Pertex Equilibrium and also recyclable through ECO-Circle. The vivid green is a lovely colour, but it’s still a proper technical piece for the mountains. You’ll see the new Montane logo on there as well, it’s bigger and embroidered, looks all grown-up.
The other good-looker below is the wummins Liberty Jacket in Polartec Classic 200 and Thermal-Pro. Although there’s a notion that heavier fleece is dead for technical wear, maybe it’s just been that the designs were often baggy horrors with two waist pockets to keep your hands warm while you waited for your dog to have a pee in the park? 
I wore 200 weight Alpiniste fleeces for years without being upset, so given good features maybe we shouldn’t overlook fleece. As long as they are good ones. Not those ones the teams have to wear in Bargain Hunt on daytime BBC.

Paul is demonstrating stretch in the Dynamic Stretch Pants below. They’re a trekking/general purpose pant with an important feature for Montane, a cargo pocket on the thigh. Just one, but it’s a start. Hopefully we’ll go onto double pockets if these do well. The fabric is Tactel Dynamic and we did a water spill test, and the big slosh we slipped on it would not penetrate the fabric.

Above are a trio of Firefox jackets, a Pertex and Primaloft lightweight insulation piece. Two handwarmer pockets and a nice high collar.
There’s an important point here in that there’s no male equivalent, for once we get the peanut Revel and the girls get the Galaxy counter.
Sticking with the girls, below we have the Anti-Freeze Vest and Jacket. They’re both nice and light with 800+fillpower down inside and a water resistant Freeflow fabric on the outside.

We’ve got the girl’s Atomic DT’s above and below. The restyling on both gender’s versions is good, very fresh looking. It’s another one of these unsung heroes, lightweight, functional and now with a face you won’t be afraid to take home to meet your mother.

 The Atomic DT pants are below, light and will keep the wet and wind out. Why carry heavy shell pants? It’s been years since I packed traditional-style shell pants that my jacket. These days with softshell pants and the like, all you need most of the time are lightweight shells for the wettest and coldest of days. Maye for all of the time in the UK?

Above and below are the Atomic 2.0’s. Light, simple, slim and technical.

The Meteor DT pants below are a mix of Entrant DT Storm and DT Stretch fabrics, they’ve got braces, 3/4 length zips, zip fly and still come in at 280g. Winter lightweight there I think.

The Velocity DT is in fine eyewatering position above, made for the bike but still good for wet trails on foot as well.
Below is the hilarious and really rather nice Bear Jacket. It’s in super-furry Polartec Thermal Pro “High Void” ( I presume this means it has a false ceiling with plenty of room to run building services through…), and comes with thumb loops. Aye, it’s not technical, but we couldn’t help but like it anyway.

Paul was overcome with happiness when he modelled the Jaguar jacket. I think he was getting sick of looking at us by this point.
There were some old friends on show as well, the Prism 2.0 below has become a wee classic and stays in the range.
It’s impossible to show everything, the range is huge (just look behind Paul above), but I picked out the stuff that really caught my eye (that includes the test kit that’s through).
I liked the female range, and it’s good to be able to show some of that.

As you can see it’s a very serious business. The three men above are tired and emotional, having reached the limits of gear endurance.
I like these visits, it’s good to see the evolution, the ever changing output of folks design glands.
Like I always say, the manufacturers are trying, blame the stores if you can’t get what you want.

Craig and I went for dinner in Ambleside afterwards. It cost about £300 for what you see in the photie there, but luckily the parking was only £66.

Anyway, Montane updates coming soon. It’s the weather for it.

91 thoughts on “Montane, What’s Now and Next

  1. “I must admit that when I pull on the box walled Haglofs LIM Down hood it’s like stepping indoors.” – not surprising seeing as how you feel about as big as a house when you’ve got one on :) I was worried if I bought one I might need planning permission to wear it.

    Perhaps they should make a slimmer, less filled model for the UK market.

    Tried the North Star yesterday. Very nice, but again the really odd design choice of positioning the hood toggles so they continually press into the face. Why do most designers do that? Haglofs go out of their way to avoid this. Perhaps most folk don’t bother.

  2. It’s all down to individual designers ideas on how to do things I suppose, they’ll try a sample and it’ll be fine, but you and I might go “What the hell is this?” because we’re a different shape, or are looking for different things.
    I had a jacket where the shoulder seams were cutting into me, and apparently I was alone in this.

    I definitely think that we find an affinity with designers, or design trends maybe?

    The LIM Hood is huge when you pull it on, the arms are more than a foot thick I think, packs small though :o)

  3. hi pete,

    hope this year is at least decent for you.

    re montane pants, i finally found out what irks me about them: it’s the lack of gusseted crotch! I have trousers made by patagonia, mountain equipment and marmot, and they all permit knee bending without a huge amount of tension in the knee/thigh/bum area. however, when i try it with the montane terras, there’s a great gnashing of teeth (i know, mixing of metaphors is bad). i set about trying to find out the cause of concern, looking at the aforementioned products. and it was then that i discovered that the montane trousers are the only ones withOUT the gusseted crotch! Montane themselves indicate that their trousers have an active cut with a high lift crotch. unfortunately, i think this results in fabric binding! i’m currently waiting on a pair of the montane stretch dynamicsto arrive – they too have the active cut with high lift crotch. I’m wondering if the stretch of the fabric will mitigate the effect of not having a gussetted crotch! i think by not having a gussetted crotch, montane are skimping on product effectiveness; which also means their pants products requiring excess material in the arse region to accomodate tension in the fabric.

    perhaps i’m wrong. anyone else have an opinion? i suspect your haglofs trousers have a gussetted crotch, pete..?

  4. I’m the same with Terra’s, lift a leg and my thighs get strangled.
    The Haglofs pants I’ve got seem to have the movement engineered by a combination of stretch panels and seam placement. There’s never much of an obvious diamond gusset.
    I don’t get on as well with the non-stretch Haglofs pants though, so the stretch is making a difference and must help to keep the pants slim.
    So much of this is down to body shape though.
    My old Karrimor Paclite pants have brilliant articulation and it’s acheived by some bizarre buttock gusseting… Fine if you don’t have to look at it.

  5. hey,

    got the montane dynamic stretch pants today and.. IT’S GOT A FULLY GUSSETED CROTCH!!!!! the composition of the material suggests a ‘schoeller-type’ fabric attempt by montane. it’s difficult to describe the feel of the fabric against the skin – slightly course, but not unbearably so, probably due to the cordura content. but it’s very stretchy.

    the two front pockets are similar to jeans pockets and they’re quite deep. the right thigh pocket, located just underneath the right hand pocket is MASSIVE!!!! also, the pockets aren’t meshed for venting. maybe this is indicative of montane’s confidence in it’s ‘breathability’. the cut is slimmer than the montane terras.

    the construction seems quite clean. however, i was expecting double stitch threading rather than single. but the stitching is quite tight.

    as mentioned before, the DWR works a treat!!!

    only concern is that it’s BLACK!!!!!

  6. Sounds good holycow. I hope they sell well and Montane develop the softshell pant concept.

    Black is indeed the scourge of our times. Still, I do like the black Extreme Smock, I just wear it with tan coloured trousers!

  7. Just wanted to give my big thumbs-up to the Montane Prism2 – it’s been magic the last couple of days – coupled with the decidedly bad-ass Patagonia R1 Hoody it’s a top winter combo. Best thing was only £60 from Climbers Shop and in Alfa Red too. This jacket will see a lot of action.

  8. Funny you should mention them, when you described the fabric above it was the Mammut’s that came to mind
    The cut is good, good pockets, movement was fine with the amount of stretch but the crotch was a little neat without any real gusseting. And of course a little scratchy on the inside surface.
    The trouble with Mammut is that every item I’ve got from them, the stitching has gone somewhere. The amount of returns was supposed to be a factor in them changing UK distributors so soften.
    But, the word on the street is that Mammut will now be all-conquering, their new ranges are worrying all the big names.
    I was talking to them last year, I’ll need to have another word and see what I can find out.
    I’ll maybe dig the Courmayeur’s and see what I think about them these days. I’ve got a nice matching Aconcagua powerstretch top too.
    Aye, retro doesn’t have to be purple :o)

  9. seems most companies are trying to get their hands on the stretch woven, soft shell cash cow phenomena! think the best thing about the stretch woven fabrics is that they don’t utilize any sort of membrane, thus increasing the ‘breathability’ of the fabric, which inturn permits greater flexibility in layering options. ***did that make sense?*** but you still seem to pay for it, even if companies aren’t utilizing gore-tex or polartec materials.

  10. also, not sure if you’re already aware, but montane have changed the fabric on the sabretooth jacket to powershield – i think powershield lite? there’s an 100+ gram drop in weight but ime, the breathability also drops. oh, and the jacket looks alot like the mountain equipment astron hoody, with the change in face fabric and contrasting coloured zips!!

  11. I think it’s the best kind of fabric for pants. The only non-stretch pants of worn for ages are the Haglofs Rugged Mountains, and even they’re half-stretch!
    Non-stretch fabric can feel so nice against the skin, but unless the constructioin is very good the lack of mobility is immediately noticable.
    Like you say though, the cost of softshell pants is frightening.

  12. does any one have tried the montane equilibrium pants ?, I was wondering if they were ok for some winter walking/ice climbing. They appear to be some kind of softshell pants.

  13. Hi!
    From memory they’re quite a light softshell pant, probably good for winter with longjons underneath.
    I’m meeting Montane on Tuesday, I’ll try and remember to have a look!

  14. I use a pair of montane xt2’s in winter, with or without thermals depending on how cold it is. There well up to the job for typical Scottish winter conditions.

  15. The Equilibriums are dropped for next season. But there are winter replacements coming, which I may or may not be allowed to share the photies and words of later in the week.
    They haven’t decided on what’s getting kept secret yet?!

  16. I’ve got some of the Berghaus trousers in the (stretch) equilibrium from a few years ago. I like them – comfy and good mobility. However, they are not as windproof as more usual close woven fabrics, which means that, despite their relative thickness, they won’t be that warm when a freezing wind is blowing. They also seem to be a ittle more prone to abrasion than most. So in winter I’d probably go for a thinner windproof trouser with or without thermals rather than these, assuming there is some wind. Windproofness is king… And it is made worse in this case by mesh-lined pockets without an outer zip to block out the wind when necessary. Now, why do they do that?

  17. “Windproofness is king…”

    I learnt that winter lesson quite a few years ago when a piercing Icelandic wind breeched the defences of my Rohan multiflex salopettes :(

    I think it’s that experience that still makes me wary of modern softshell fabrics for winter trews – Paramo (and Cioch) is very windproof :))

  18. I must say Matt that the Haglofs Omni and the Patagonia Backcountry Guide pants have been joyously impervious to all weather, especially with merino underneath.
    I love this no gaiter and no shell pant stretchy legged modern life!

  19. I like my Keela salopettes, but they are abit OTT for some conditions and I’ve been looking at the above. I presume you have to add a light shell in full on rain with both models?

    As you mentioned merino I must add that I’ve just received my first piece of said wonder cloth in the post. I’ll be trying it out up your way at the end of February so if it isn’t up to scratch (sorry) I’ll be round to have words ;-)

  20. Looks like you’re safe (or is that I’m safe from getting lost?) – first impressions are good. We’ll see what a week of messing about in Kinlochleven brings.

  21. Cheers – I’ll certainly try. Off to buy new boots tomorrow for my trip to the Alps this summer so hopefully there will be some decent snow to try them out in.

  22. I certainly hope so – as the proud owner of some new AKU Spiders I need the weather to be on my side otherwise I’m going to look rather over equipped!

    I should add that anyone needing boots in the South West should try Barkers of Ringwood. It’s the best service I’ve seen for a very long time in an outdoor shop.

  23. Certainly is. When we got in and there were no boots on show I knew we were on to a good thing. You get what fits, simple as that. I’m just lucky my feet fitted the kevlar with orange option ;-)

  24. Want to pick your brains aboot shells. Is this the right place? They’re letting me out again in June. This time Northern Norway, West Coast of Finmark. Word is it gets wet. Guess a jock could give me some decent advice on how to deal with wet. I’m feeling the usual run-up-to-a-trip-urge-to-spend and I’m thinking I need (no realy I do) a replacment for my rain trousers. They normaly either stay at home or stay in the bag but I’m thinking they’ll get some use this time out so want something that works. You say you no longer carry trad shell trousers. Are you still of that mind? What about these Atomic DT’s, how dry are they going to keep you in horizontal wet?

  25. Aye, I carry OMM Kamleikas or stripped-down old Karrimor paclites all the time.
    The Atomic DT’s are decent enough, but I don’t know about sustained use. I know that I liked the look of the new Meteor DT pants, those stretch panels will make them a better long-term and should help with wear and tear, but they’re 100g heavier.
    But, I’d be happy in the Atomics most times, and if you end up carrying them half the time, they’re definitely a winner.
    The only lighter things that come to mind are the Pertex Shiled things from Rab?

  26. My pair of those (lighter ’09 model) is 190 in medium so not dramatically lighter. Seemingly plausibly tough when I cut apart the matching bum bag but yet to try barbed wire or scree :)

    Only question for truly lighter things I guess whether you can get away with heavily water resistant over trousers.
    (Lakes runner are doing some very light things in some brand of epic etc, inov 8 some PU coated ones etc.).

    I guess the problem is that you’d only find the answer in the middle of a wind driven nightmare, and you might not like it…..

  27. I’ve seen those EPIC things in Lakes Runner, can’t remember the brand either…

    I remember one horrendous day where three of us spend the whole day in wind-blown sleety rain and we were all soaked to the skin when we got down in a mix of eVent, Gore and that Patagonia own brand stuff.
    I learned a lot that day, mainly that whatever I chose to wear, at some point I was going to be disappointed :o)

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