For anybody who doesn’t know who Montane is… well where have you been all these years? Montane are a British clothing and equipment manufacturer who have, over the years, managed to position themselves as one of the top manufacturers of technical clothing for the mountaineering and mountain running world. They have produced some well known items of clothing like the terra pant and prism jacket which you see on a regular basis when you’re out in the hills and they also organise and sponsor a number of mountain endurance events from the Montane Trail 26, through to the Tor Des Geants in Italy. If you have ever spoken with anybody at Montane you will know that they are massively passionate about the mountains and they love to produce clothes that are functional and work well in an ever-changing mountainous environment.
A cold March in Llanberis
In January this year I was lucky enough to be sent the Montane Hydrogen Jacket which is a new style of hybrid insulating layer that cuts down on the need for loads of layers, helps you control temperature regulation and breathes well allowing moisture to wick away. Montane describe it as being inspired by their heritage smock but using new cutting-edge materials to create a light insulating windproof that’s breathable. Montane asked me to take the jacket out and “have fun with it” and see what I thought and how it performed when I’m working and having fun in the mountains.
OUT IN THE MOUNTAINS
Well after eight months of using this jacket I must say I am pleasantly surprised by its performance. My go to jacket has always been the Montane Prism Jacket as it was versatile and great in most weather, but this jacket has surpassed the Prism and is now my favourite go to for most days out!
Working in North Wales windy sea cliffs and mountains are something you have to work with on a regular basis so I was excited to see how the Hydrogen Jacket would hold up. I used the jacket outdoors nearly every day through the winter months and found the Pertex Quantum outer shell kept most of the wind out and kept the jacket nice and toasty inside. It’s a lot to ask of any jacket to be 100% windproof but this one is probably the best I’ve found of all the insulated jackets I’ve tried.
I wont lie, the weight and feel of this jacket made me feel it may be too lightweight to keep me really warm, but I was pleasantly surprised. As discussed previously the Pertex outer keeps the wind out but the fit and the elasticated cuffs around the neck and wrists managed to keep most of the heat from getting pushed out in high winds. Regarding it getting wet I managed to get it soaked through a few times in some pretty horrendous weather but again was pleasantly surprised when it stayed warm and it didn’t lose too much heat.
Well its eight months since I first got the jacket and it’s still going strong with no rips or tears. I’ve taken the jacket with me winter climbing in Scotland, cragging on the Grit in the Peak, dragged myself up thrutchy chimneys in the mountains and dodged all the sharp items in the local supermarket and it barley looks like it’s been used. Like any item of clothing, a sharp edge or branch could have changed the fate of the jacket but I’m confident that the outer is tough enough to deal with most that the outdoors environment can throw at it.
First off let me say this jacket is not sold as a waterproof and should not replace a waterproof jacket. I did however find that in light showers and short bursts it would repel most of the water and when it did get wet it didn’t take long to dry.
Early morning working on Ras in the Moroccan High Atlas (4089m)
I think Montane have done a great job of creating a versatile, durable jacket that keeps the wind out and allows better temperature regulation without the need for lots of other layers. The durability side was a real selling point for me as I want clothing that not only performs well but also looks good when I’m working with clients and doesn’t look worn or tired after minimal use. At £150 its certainly not a budget jacket but the warmth, look and fit really do make the extra cost worthwhile. If you compare this jacket against alternatives like the Alpha Direct from Rab its certainly cheaper yet retains all the same functions and has a much closer athletic fit.
For more information about the Hydrogen Jacket visit www.montane.co.uk.
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