Montane Winter Kit: Flux, Extreme Smock & Lite-Speed

As a prelude to my long overdue Montane extravaganza I though I’d have a quick shufty at the winter test kit that arrived today. Three pieces of very different kit, all made of top materials, with features for the hill and not the high street. And good grief, two came in orange…

The new Flux above really appealed to me when I saw a prototype last year. It’s very different from the previous version, but it’s not just a bodywork restyling job, it’s all been happening under the hood too.
Firstly it’s warmer, with a heavier Primaloft Eco (recycled) fill, which for me makes it a better piece right away as the other features like the hood and pockets have a winter feel and suit its better rating.
The cut has been tweaked, and for me again it’s better. The arm articulation is better I feel, and the arms are longer. The body is also longer, the tail covers more ass than before and the torso is slimmer too. This closer fit will make it a more efficient insulator and smaller packing, making any weight gains from the thicker insulation less that they might have been.
I like the look and feel of this a lot.

I wanted to test a Lite-Speed as it’s a bit like a Featherlite that’s been at the (Crossfit) gym, and the added features like the pocket and hood seem to fit in with it being an ideal winter wind shirt. The arms are longer that the Featherlite too for tucking in gloves, and it’s still light and small packing. This with a lightweight shell should work well.
Of course, both bits of kit above are burnt orange, a fantastic colour, and indeed a proper mountain colour too.

Below we have the wild card, the Extreme Smock. Testing this was all Montane’s idea, and when you think about it, it’s a good one as it eliminates a midlayer and windshirt, as well as a shell in most cases. So what’s in your pack? Well, extra insulation and your pieces & flask. That’s proper lightweight that is.
The fit on me is brilliant with my regular size large. Slim, long bodied with perfect articlulation. It feels pretective and warm, but the venting is good so I’ve got high hopes for this when the temperature dips and stay there.
A real mix of kit, and I’m dead excited to get it out there. More in a bit.

78 thoughts on “Montane Winter Kit: Flux, Extreme Smock & Lite-Speed

  1. More-On, have you seen Finisterre (finisterreuk.com)and their Velez-alike Humboldt? Less boxy than Paramo but no’ sure about the sleeve length. That Storm Track jacket looks interesting as well. No’ cheap tho’.

  2. I’ll email Paramo next week and see what’s doing.
    Their sizing is funny, their designer is like whippet, they all generally look like fit folks, but their market is, and I quote “barrel-chested chubsters”. I do hope they keep moving in the recent direction where some stuff is much better cut.

    Furtech’s an odd one, took me a couple of goes to get my head round it. It’s nearly there though, a couple of wee revisions away from being spot on. The pants really need tweaking though.

  3. Ah, I cut across you there Kev.
    Finisterre say they’re going “all new models” which is interesting, I’ve been promised a jacket for months, I’m still hopefull!
    They do have a much better look than the Paramo models.

  4. They do look good Kev, cheers for the tip. Probably still too warm though…

    I’ll be interested to see where everyone is going now that Paramo have released the Light fabric.

    Keep us updated PTC*.

  5. I would love to see a Paramo/Finisterre jacket based on the vapour rise or Kamlieka smock design.

    Shame to see a surf company has to show us the way for technical ethical stylish gear

  6. One final question regarding the H2O if I may – are the sleeves any longer than the Lite Speed? It’s just your comment after the night ride got me wondering.

  7. Right, layed flat, arms stretched out top the side, the H2O is about 3 inches longer cuff to cuff that the Lite-Speed.
    The H2O is also trimmer around the torso that the Lite-Speed, which will be its “racer” cut, the Lite-Speed being a more general issue affair and likely to be layered over a fleece etc.
    The colour is identical though…

    The Lite-Speed has washed well too, I think we’ll be good pals this winter.

  8. Just the info I needed thanks.

    You won’t be disappointed with the Lite Speed – I’ve had mine for over a year and it has been a constant companion both on and off the hill. As I’ve said before the only improvement for me would be adjustable cuffs, but then I’m a fussy so and so.

  9. The elastic seems to be quite strong on the cuffs. It wasn’t an issue on the bike, but I’ll be keeping my eye on it.

  10. It isn’t a deal breaker, at least in winter. It’s just I’ve always liked rolling up the sleeves on tops in summer as a rapid way to ventilate ever since I got a Movi back in the 80s. I still like the pockets on early Rohan, just not the clammy polyotton.

  11. I was rummaging the other day and found windshirts in a box, old smocks with a pouch pocket and velcro cuffs. I also found some button neck North Cape Coolmax baselayers.
    There will be retro days coming.

  12. I threw mine in the bin not so long ago. They had been in a cupboard for years mind.

    I also chucked out a pair of Scarpa Fitzroy’s from circa 1980!

  13. Ah! Rohan breeches: dropped in at the Manchester Rohan store just to see what £92-worth of breeches looked like (quite smart actually but where would one source the necessary long merino socks?)
    The manager gave me the website guff about “popular demand”, so I asked if he’d sold many. His story was that they were flying off the shelves, mainly to people (like me!) who’s waistlines outgrew their old Superstriders after Rohan dropped them. He’d even given one customer a 15% discount for trading-in his old ones which were to be part of a “Rohan gear through the ages” wall display they were planning.
    Must say, I’ve never been as comfortable on the hill in long trousers as I was in my breeches days but you do feel a prat on the train! Still, they’ll need more than a 15% discount for me to take the plunge.

  14. Superstriders were fine ’til they got soaked then they went all baggy and the seams used to chafe yer legs…

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  16. Aye, I’ve got some of their stuff for casual and work, but only a very light pair of travel-trousers and a superlight t-shirt that ever make it into the pack for a trip these days.

    I was using their stretch salopettes until 1996… when I discovered the hard way that they weren’t up to the rigours of an Icelandic winter blizzard! :(

  17. Tha lst set of proper sallopettes I had were from Extreme. They were Karisma fleece affairs, big chest pouch pocket, legs zips, braces.
    I liked them a lot, and I have no idea what happened to them.

  18. Oh, I had a pair of those too – they were great :)
    I sold mine when they ceased to fit me :(
    I layered them with a pair of ME Kongur goretex salopettes for winter stuff (still got those!)

    But then I went over to Paramo and those salopettes have done 10 years. And they still work just fine but as a treat I’ve got on order a pair of custom-fit, custom-feature salopettes from Cioch – should be here at the end of the month :))

  19. That actually makes me think of what I should be wearing with the Extreme smock.
    Softshells, or maybe the Furtech pants?

    I’ll maybe need to try and get Cioch’s good side. Again.

  20. To be fair to them its not exactly that easy to user test tailoring or feature customisation :)

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