Winterwear. Montane Halo & Sabretooth, Furtech Claw 2 & Haglöfs LIM Ozone

Winter is here, and lightweight is all very well, but to make it work clothing is a big issue. After the recent Páramo experience (more to come of that), I thought it was time to have a shufty at some other bugbears and argument starters. So, in for test over the winter I’ve got a Furtech Claw 2 with it’s Páramo-esque breathability and weight (and that clear hood), a softshell with all the baggage of opinion that it brings and I’ve lined up a straight fight between equivalent eVent and Gore-Tex Proshell jackets.

 The Montane Sabretooth is a hooded softshell in Polartec Windpro. It’s got a hood, four pockets, adjustable cuffs and a nice slimish fit with good arm length. The fabric is like a badass Powerstretch, it’s wind resistance is down to its construction rather than a membrane, so it’ll be breathable, not a sweat box. It’s soft, movement is unrestricted, the pockets vent and it layers well under a shell. I like the look of this, anything you can sling on and all the zips and are where you reach for them has to be “in the area”.

Also from Montane is their new Halo Stretch Jacket. This to me is like a cross between their old Air Jacket and the Super Fly. It’s the best fitting Montane shell I’ve tried (the Air had a roll-away hood tha lost it points), it’s got a much better hood than the Super Fly, and the arms are long enough! The pockets are clever, the side ones have an ingenious entry that does away with the need for water resistant zips, and are weather proof enough to allow the pocket bags to be made of venting mesh. The central one has a reversed zip which will make it harder for rain to get in. It’s also only 350g for a proper mountain jacket, yes please. It looks like Montane have got their shit together here with these two jackets.  

Furtech have improved their Claw jacket, and here we have the Claw 2. It’s a very slim fit which is what I look for, yes it’s heavy compared to membrane shells but it’s going over just a base layer and I’m not wearing or carrying a mid layer, so like the Velez Adventure Light I’m saving weight if I’m wearing it from the start. It has four pockets, easy cuff adjustment, a good hood with that (in)famous clear visor and adjustments all over that I’ve yet to try. It has great venting from huge pitzips, so on the move this time of year should be fine. I’ve worn it a bit and the fit is great, very technical, no fat folk allowed here. A pack works over it very well, and there’s no extra fabric to annoy and bumffle up around you. Very interesting.

Arriving too late for last winter, but playing a starring role in my West Highland Way trip was the Haglöfs LIM Ozone. It’ll be out and about again from now on and sparring with the Montane Halo. The Ozone is 360g, has a great fit and great features as well as having a fabric that is as close to eVent in performance as Gore have got.

Lighweight doesn’t mean everything has to weigh as little as possible, it’s about function and weight, and carrying less pointless bollocks. Softshell, is that a mid layer and windshirt in one? Furtech, is it an all-day garment of comfort and joy? Gore versus eVent, do we care? Probably not, it’ll come down to features I think.
Whatever, it’s great to see some stuff out this winter that I’m really enthused about. Much more coming soon.

19 thoughts on “Winterwear. Montane Halo & Sabretooth, Furtech Claw 2 & Haglöfs LIM Ozone”

  1. I don’t need any new kit. Well I tell the wife that. It sounds convincing – but inside I know it is not true. I look at the latest stuff your testing and think “I want that, no that one” The Montane sure looks good.

  2. Nobody really needs new kit :o)

    The Montane kit does look good, I like the way they’ve been going of late. It fits me better for a start.
    They’ve got a better track record with eVent than Rab, on the forums it’s always Rab jackets that’re delaminatiogn and leaking. So the Halo will be fine for winter abuse, it’s light but it doesn’t feel puny.
    And the Sabretooth is ninja-tastic :o)

    The Ozone I know is good, and I’ve put a wire in the hood visor to beef it up a bit.
    The Claw 2 is the wild card, and I’m expecting a lot from it.

  3. Montane have lengthened the sleeves on all their women’s tops, sounds like they may have done something to the blokes’ stuff too. Unfortunately it means their women’s stuff no longer fits me with my un-Montane-like short arms :-(

  4. They knew if they called it “Halo” I would have to buy it. B*****ds! Must….resist…..

    And I ordered a Sabretooth last week.

    Looks like being a lean Christmas, kids.

  5. So is the Halo a replacement for the Quickfire? I was just looking at a Rab Super Dru but now I know there have been problems with Rab and eVent maybe I’ll wait to see how you get on with the this.

    Kev, it’s a sign, you HAVE to get one now!

  6. soularch, the blackness of the Sabretooth just makes my other colours look brighter :o)

    The Halo was mooted as a “Quickfire XT” at first, but I’m not sure if it’s replaced it now. I’ll enquire!
    I’ve had both Montane pieces on all day and have been happy so far.

  7. Aye, I saw that. I’ll see if it’s coming back for spring/summer ’09.
    But, I don’t see that they really need it with the Halo.

  8. I’m just after something with a bit more ‘beef’ than my Atomic DT for the winter over here. If the Halo comes through your testing with flying colours then that’ll do for me.

  9. The only issue for winter might be a reduced amount of insulation when it’s really cold and windy from the lighter weight eVent (it looks like the same grade Rab use in the Drilium), but the features all right, the chinguard goes up to your nose and the body length is good.
    I’m even reasonably happy with the blue colour after hoping to see orange as I opened the package :o)

  10. Aye, that’s true.
    It is much more complex jacket to produce I suppose.
    I think I’m catching up with Montane next week, I shall find out all that we need to know.

  11. Well 350g may also be a little optimistic. Trail and Ultralightoutdoorgear seem to have it pegged at just over 400.

    Lots of nice features for the weight but maybe still scope for something more minimalist for summer?

  12. I’ll weigh mine at some point and see what it comes in at. I don’t think advertised weights are ever right, I’ve weighed stuff that’s been less as well as more than the published version.
    And I quote: “Designers style them, the factory makes them and the marketing department weigh them…”

    Aye, it’s way too much for summer. What we need is a Haglofs Oz style piece in eVent.

  13. Aye, the QuickFire has been canned. The Halo is the one unless you want the lighter Atomic jacket in Entrant DT fabric.
    There’s some other intereseting bits and pieces for ’09 though…

  14. So with the Furtech you can lose your midlayer (PS/Dryskin/etc) and just put your synthetic insulation piece (Flux/Photon?) over the top in camp?

    I’m intrigued by the Paramo/Furtech technology but the weight puts me off. It seems the only time these systems work is if you’re forced to walk in a blizzard all day long. There doesn’t seem to be enough flexibility for when the sun comes out, the wind dies down and the temperature rises.

  15. It is basically an all-in-one, and the Furtech stuff is cut close enough that putting an insulating layer over the top is easy.

    It is cold weather only for me though. Yes, you can vent to your hearts content, but it’s still “making the best of it”.
    Shite weather, it’s a winner.

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