I’ve worn the Halo a lot over the winter, and that’s a good sign. I was relieved when it appeared for review as I’ve often struggled with some aspects of Montane’s waterproofs and the Halo seems to have taken a fresh direction in a lot of ways, and on one of those ways it’s knocked down a few issue coconuts in the coconut shy of mountain happiness.
All the technical stuff is on the Montane site, but on your body in the weather is where the truth lies and I’ve been lucky to have been wearing this in some horrendous condtions. Lucky in that although it’s light, it’s a proper mountain jacket and has balls big enough for the job. It’s halfway between a Quickfire and a SuperFly, but it’s better than both. The SuperFly was too short at the front and the hood left the sides of my face and chin exposed, the Halo has a long body and new protective hood with a wired well shaped peak, that when cinched right in leaves only my eyes visible, that’s what I want right there. The pockets are better than the Quickfire, and the cut of the body and again the hood are better and worth the extra weight. My size large comes in at 430g.
The pockets are neat, the side mesh lined pockets have regular zips with a clever double storm flap that keeps the rain out, and once I’d ditched the rubbish ribbon zip pulls that came on the jacket and fitted some knotted cord they were usuable with gloves on as well. The centre chest pocket is brilliant, I love this feature on any jacket. On the Halo it’s a good size and the zip is “upside down”, in that it opens from the bottom. This means you can sneak items in and out without letting the weather into the pocket. Don’t leave it open of course or you’re Wagon Wheels might roll out.
The pockets are constructed to allow for expansion inside, so although this jacket looks very similar to Rab’s Super Dru which I wore for a few months when it first came out, there’s a lot more detailing and thought here (the SuperDru’s pockets are sewn flat and the jacket distorts when you put stuff in there).
The dark grey panels in the photies are made of an Entrant stretch waterproof fabric, where the rest of the jacket is in eVent, and what does this mean? It means you get a closer cut jacket for better all round performance because of the well placed stretch panels, and an imperceptable difference in breathability between the different fabrics. Breathability is superb and the inside only starts to get greasy in constant downpours when the outer skin is really wet, which takes a while as the DWR finish is pretty good, or if I’m working really hard. Which isn’t often.
eVent has dented Gore’s stranglehold on the market a little and hopefully in time that’ll let Entrant and others to break through and give us more choice and some price wars too maybe?
Arm movement is perfect, the hem stays put with raised arms, head movement is good when the hood is cinched in a bit, letting you see the scenery, not the inside of the hood. The hood also has proper adjustment unlike some previous Montane hoods and it’s easy enough to work with winter gloves on.
It’ll work all year round, it’s light enough to carry in your pack all day and badass enough for wearing on winter adventures.
Niggles were few, the zip pulls must of course die the moment you get your Halo home, the cuffs have the same rubbery velcro adjuster that everyone uses and I’m getting sick of as they distort and loose stickiness, and that’s about it. The fabric when new is a little rigid and rustly. but after a couple of washes eVent really softens. It’s smooth now and the hood sits better, it was a little “high up” at first, but settled down quickly.
It’s a great jacket, and the Spring 09 version has some tweaks. Most obviously the main zip is now exposed with a rear storm flap compared to my “kissing” closere on the ouside which works well and hasn’t let water in, indeed my years-old Montane Air jacket has the same arrangement and has never failed me yet.