One of my best pals these past few months has been the updated Montane Flux. It blurs the line between mountain jacket and camp/rest insulation, and because of that, it’s seen a good bit of use.
The biggest difference between the original Flux and this version is that there’s more insulation in this, and that’s made it more usable through winter. It’s still quite light in insulation compared to some winter pieces, but the tailored fit means less air gaps to heat and therefore it’s more efficient, and I do feel the warmth when I pull it on.
The insulation is stitched onto the shell in a few places, giving a quilted appearance. There’s been some debate about whether this is actually doing anything in a technical way. From my perspective, any insulation works best in specific parameters of loft or density, so a little “control” on it seems like a good idea. Whatever, it helps keep the jacket neat and low-profile.
The front has four pockets, which you might find on a bigger belay-type jacket, but it’s unusual on a lighter insulator. The side handwarmers put your hands inbetween layers of insulation so you don’t bleed heat from inside the jacket, the two napoleon pockets have the same arrangement but are also big and deep enough to stow a good bit of gear in.
On a few trips the Flux has been my outer layer on the move and the pockets have been very useful. It’s that usability that’s made the Flux a favourite, it’s been that cold this winter that I’ve been able to cut about the hills wearing this without overheating.
The hood is good, and will fit over other layers as well as leaving your head mobile while protecting it. It does roll down leaving a nice microfleece lined collar (which extends to a beardguard), but it’s got one of those big long tabs with velcro on it which are best cut off when you get the Flux home from the shop.
Detailing is good, there’s a wide insulated baffle behind the two-way main zip, velcro adjustable cuffs, hood/collar and hem drawcords and a wee smattering of reflective detailing. The napoleon pockets have nice wee zipper garages which is a good touch.
The fit is subjective of course, but the arms are are nice and long, the body has a decent length and it’s good good width for pulling on over a couple of light layers. The mobility is also brilliant, it’s been designed to be worn when you’re active.
The outer fabric has proved good in both rain and snow, and few times I’ve just pulled the hood up and ignored the weather and hung the jacket up when I got back, and aye, it dries quick.
Downsides? The extra pockets, a more durable fabric choice and detailing does push the weight up a bit and you will get a warmer pure insulation piece for less weight. That’s missing the point though as the Flux is much more that something wear while you have a cuppa from your flask.
And of course, the zip-pulls are rubbish and were replaced by knotted cord!
Special mention goes to the Primaloft ECO fill, made from minimum 50% recycled crap from out homes. That’s the way it all should be going.
Summary? It’s a fantastic jacket, it’s been reliable, warm and has performed as my outer layer in some terrible winter weather without a problem.
I’ll forgive the extra weight because all the features that make up those extra grams have been anything from handy to vital at various times.
- Weight: 624g for my size large
- UK Price: £135
- Fabric: Pertex Microlight outer, Peaq inner/ Primaloft ECO 60g/40g zones
- Made in: China
- Woman’s version available later this year