I won’t lie, I was slightly nervous about reviewing this jacket. The older Prism Jacket was good and as one of my favourite pieces of outdoor clothing I was worried that they may be tinkering with something just for the sake of changing it. We all remember the Big Mac controversy; change is not always needed or welcome by the consumer. I can report early (Spoiler alert) that this was not the case and I was pleasantly surprised with the enhancements to the new Prism Jacket. I will be writing an updated version of this review after the winter in Scotland but after around 40 days in the mountains over the past two months I hope you will find that this review will give you a good idea of what your getting for your money.
Taking it out the bag and placing it next to the older Prism Jacket a few things were quite clear. The fit was improved and more tapered, and the panelling was no longer horizontal but smaller diagonal panels. When I tried the jacket on the hood also seemed a little bigger and it fit well over my BD Vector helmet. The other noticeable feature was the inner lining of the jacket has changed and is now Nylon Featherlite Rip-stop 20D lining. In Layman’s terms that means its going to be much easier to pull over wet or damp layers than the old jacket.
The first noticeable difference in the mountains was the improved fit and the panelling. The tapered fit stopped the jacket flapping around in high winds which will push heat out of the opening like the neck waist and wrists. I also felt the new panelling helped with better temperature regulation and I didn’t need to keep opening the jacket up as much as before when it got too warm. The outer fabric is the new Pertex Quantum which certainly provides improved protection from the wind and when used in the rain the jacket performed well in anything but heavy or prolonged showers.
The fill is now synthetic PrimaLoft Silver which is a recycled 40g insulation. I have started to favour PrimaLoft over down as I find the insulation works well even when wet. Down loses most of its insulating properties when wet which isn’t ideal when you work in the British mountains. On testing I found the jacket to be very warm and can be used as an insulating jacket or as a belay jacket over the top of all your layers when your hanging around on a stance.
Breathability is also very important and I found the outer material allowed the moisture to wick away and didn’t leave the jacket feeling sweaty or damp inside when moving fast. I also found that when the jacket did get wet from unexpected rain or showers it dried quickly and made no noticeable difference to the warmth inside.
I often hear words like “helmet compatible hood” but when tested it only just fits over and the front zip is halfway up your face. Given Montane’s mountaineering background It came as no surprise that the hood actually fits over a helmet and just like the original Prism it’s got a good level of insulation too.
For all you weight junkies out there this jacket is also lighter than the old model. The new jacket is 390g vs the old jackets 423g. I’m assuming the small saving comes from the better insulation and the lighter inner fabric but don’t expect the 33g to make you quicker on the hills.
Colours seem to be important nowadays and the new colour options will certainly appeal to the modern alpinist or mountaineer. Montane have always had a reputation for being more conservative with colour options but its great to see they have started to adopt brighter options within all their ranges. The new Arbor Green and the Narwhal Blue will no doubt be popular.
Thankfully Montane didn’t feel the need to drastically improve the Prism and any changes were only small enhancements to this already versatile jacket. The new inner fabric was certainly easier to pull over wet or damp layers and the pack size and compression seemed to be smaller than the older model. The fit is improved from the older Prism model and is no longer baggy around the stomach with the new panelling allowing better heat regulation. It’s also nice to see Montane using Recycled Primaloft which shows they are committed in the pursuit of becoming a more environmentally responsible brand. I can see this product being perfect for mountaineering, fast packing, climbing and any other activity where warmth and versatility in a small pack size is critical!
About the author
Matt is a Mountaineering Instructor based on the North Wales coast. He runs his own business The Mountaineering Company that offers instruction in all elements of Mountaineering in UK and overseas. For more information about Matt or his business check out www.themountaineeringcompany.co.uk
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