Montane Oryx, lightweight fleece midlayer review

WHW Kit Review

This came through the day before I left for the WHW. It fitted well so I took the gamble and wore it. In fact, I didn’t take it off.

It’s got a nice slim cut, good sleeve length, good articulation and great fabrics. The main fabric is Polartec Powerdry which feels like a light Powerstretch, soft, just enough warmth and very quick drying. The other fabric under the arms and down the torso sides has a look of a multi layer mesh about it and is thinner to let you breathe a bit better. You can feel the wind through it much more, but it’s not an issue. It layers under a shell very well and you don’t cook in it which is nice.

The full length main zip is smooth and doesn’t seem to add a lot of weight. There’s a wee chest pocket for left handed people (it’s good to see them getting something nice), but why is there not a matching one for right handed people as well? One pocket either side would be great. The positioning and size is spot on.

The only niggle is the stitching on the cuffs, stretchy thread would let you pull the sleeves over your elbows. It’s got a nice wee tuck-away hanging loop inside the collar which is probably unneccesary but it’s really neatly done so you have to like it.

It’s a good bit of kit, I’ll be using it plenty.

17 thoughts on “Montane Oryx, lightweight fleece midlayer review”

  1. Montane gear on the whole seems to be very good, and especially in the value for money stakes. Puma soft-shell is great (other than no hood). Just invested in some Terra Trail shorts for summmer walking and mtb-ing and they are top quality.

  2. Yeah,Montane do tend to be great value for money,I’m well impressed by the puma,the fit is perfect for me.I had one of their windshells a few years ago for use on the bike.Some of their trousers are also excellent,the terra pant is great,I regularly use them in all weathers…although just bought a pair of Rab alpine lite pants which are mighty impressive.

  3. I’ve got a fair few bits of Montane and it is all pretty good. I wear a Dyno softshell a lot, and the Solo Pertex/Primaloft jacket was a killer.
    I think they suffer from the “Bargain/Budget Brand” tag because their kit is always well discounted all over the internet.
    Good for punters, not so good for building their brand profile.
    Their current kit and the stuff for this winter looks very nice indeed.

  4. Liked the look of this so much, I’ve ordered one. Should make a great lightweight mid-layer for these fine Sunny days we’re having. Thanks for the review.

  5. Don’t know if you’ve ever encountered Powerstretch Light (Lite?), but if so, how would you say this compares? I wonder if PowerDry is simply a re-branding?

  6. There’s quite a few different grades of Powerstretch, and nae bugger uses them. Some of it is really good as well. The one I like is the “Regulator” style grid backed version, using it gives you a zip necked pull on with a retail of £100.

    The Powerdry on the Oryx is a bit like standard Powerstretch (the Lite version I’m thinking of is thin and feels like more like a softshell), but it feels different. I think the face fabric is less closely knitted on the Oryx.
    There’ll be grades of face fabric, backing and weave that put otherwise similar fabrics under different headings.

    Next range showing I’m at I’ll ask more questions :o)

  7. Yes, the full powerstretch range is massively confusing and somewhat rare. I managed to track down a Powerstretch Lite top by Lowe Alpine last year and it’s a wonderful bit of kit. If only it had merino’s non-pong properties too…. :)

  8. No shit :o)

    I’ve got the Cosmique from Kimmlite which is a genius bit of kit, a pull-on with two stretch mesh chest pockets in a kind of powerstretch-esque fabric. But you can’t wear it for more than a day as it smells so bad. It’s truly remarkable.

    Macpac had a half merino/half stretch polyester fabric which worked very well as a midlayer. Interwool was it? Good kit.

  9. Had mine on for a bijou ramble last night, very impressed. It has a surprising level of windproofness as well. Definitely my mid-layer for the summer.

  10. I had one for three weeks and had to take it back for a number of reasons. The stitching on both cuffs started to come out (mentioned in review), it bobbled all over but particularly on the mesh side panels and underarm and most annoyingly one of the bobbles on the forearm mesh (ripstart) caught on something and resulted in the surrounding mesh beginning to unravel. When I took it back The guy in Cotswold didn’t even question me about it as he said they’d had quite a few returned with the same issues. By the way the loops on the collar are to hold mp3 earphones when not in your ears.

  11. I should have asked about those loops, they might have been handy.
    Mine’s bobbled since I wrote the post, mainly on the shoulders and my upper back where it’s rubbing on my pack. Might be s much a pack issue as the fbaric though. there’s a few catches here and there as well.
    Interesting about the Cotswold return thing, I wonder how many things have common faults and we never get to hear about it?

  12. I never got as far as wearing a pack with mine, it was just general use, pub and (office) work, I thought if it couldn’t handle that there’s no way I’d want to use it in anger.

    Incidentally, the guy in Cotswold said returns and faults were common with Montane fleece stuff in general, but their shell stuff was bulletproof. I myself have a toastie jacket I use a lot, as a duvet when bouldering and sitting around camp at night so I can attest to the latter part.

  13. The only fleece I’ve had from Montane was a purple and navy blue Alpine fleece from the early ’90s. I should get a photies of that on here…

    It’s true what you say about the waterproofs, I’ve got a couple of Superfly’s and an Air, all well used and issue free. If you look at the forums, Rab are always getting returns for fabric failures and I can’t remember seeing any similar woes for Montane. They’re both using eVent, just not the same quality of fabric?

  14. Call me old skool, but I’ve always struggled to beat the good ‘ol Norgie Cold Weather shirt – a hangover from my army days probably…you can pick ’em up for next to nothing and I never seem to be cold in one, even in wind. Not the lightest or most technical I’m sure but a great solution for any youngsters with thin wallets and a head for the hills.

  15. I’ve just this morning got merino kit in for test, and in there is a heavier weight shirt not unlike those very Norgie shirts. Plain with a zip neck, looks good.
    I’ll get it on here next week hopefully.

    You’re right about budget kit. I was kitted out for the hills from army surplus and Millets for many happy years.
    Fancy kit is comfier, better performing etc, but it shouldn’t create a barrier to folk wanting get out. In our consumer culture how many folk think “I can’t offord to be a hillwalker”.
    I’ve asked for some budget test kit this year with this in mind.

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