Montane, What’s Now and Next

 Winter is just around the corner and Montane’s new kit is just hitting the shops. I was down at their Lakeland bunker a few weeks back with Craig and Paul showed us what’s happening.
The test kit I’ve got for this winter is here.

I’ve often mentioned that there’s not enough skulls on outdoor gear, so at least the Slipstream Gilet allows you to display your own through its mesh back. It’s a quirky piece this, but very useful and I know a few folk who swear by them. A nice bit of Pertex on the torso on the bike at this time of year is probably all you need when you’re sweating up the trail.
At the other end of the protection scale is the new North Star down jacket below. I saw this the last time I was at the showroom and was sworn to secrecy. It’s a nice bit of kit, great hood, great cut with full body movement. It’s got a stitched-through construction, but done in “shapes” that follow the contours of your body. Very light too.

Lightweight softshell is a Montane regular, the beefier Sabretooth that I tested last winter is staying in the range, and next year we’ll see the Dyno above. It’s hooded, fitted, cut from Pertex Equilibrium and is totally badass.
Montane’s waterproofs are now all coming up the standard set last year by the Halo Stretch. The eVent Evolution below is fresh onto the shelves having just buried the aging Super-Fly’s body in the woods. And rightly so, it’s a better jacket in every way. And I’m saying that without a gun being pointed at my head, that finger isn’t loaded.

The Meteor DT above is a 350g shell cut from Entrant DT with stretch panels. It’s the same slim cut now running through the range, but it’s got good length, proper protective hood and still has three pockets. Entrant is a great fabric, and shouldn’t be seen as second class. The Entrant jackets are every bit as well thought out and as technical as the eVent ones. You can’t say that about all the brands when they use alternative fabrics to their regular Big Name.
Crag’s smiling out of the Dragonfly shirt below, it’s zoned to let heat out of the upper chest area. I thought about this, and if you’re layered up, unzipping your outerlayers to expose this thinner fabric area might let you cool down quicker without unzipping your baselayer as well. Less faff in winter maybe? It’s a subtle thing, but folk are thinking at least.

Paul’s holding a checkpoint sign from the Lakeland 100 race. He was preventing me from leaving with all the orange kit, but it also shows you how important events are becoming to the manufacturers to show their techy credentials, well the ones that haven’t gone all lifestyle anyway.
Below is the wummins Mayfly shirt, a female-cut Dragonfly. Like the Dragonfly, it’s two weights of Polartec Powerdry. I’ve got used to the concept of zoning in recent times, from things like the Montane shirts to the extremes of compression base layers. It’s a good idea, and it’s interesting to see how different brands approach it, some putting the hot bits where other put the cool bits and the like.

Above is the wummins Dyno for next year, again in Pertex Equilibrium and also recyclable through ECO-Circle. The vivid green is a lovely colour, but it’s still a proper technical piece for the mountains. You’ll see the new Montane logo on there as well, it’s bigger and embroidered, looks all grown-up.
The other good-looker below is the wummins Liberty Jacket in Polartec Classic 200 and Thermal-Pro. Although there’s a notion that heavier fleece is dead for technical wear, maybe it’s just been that the designs were often baggy horrors with two waist pockets to keep your hands warm while you waited for your dog to have a pee in the park? 
I wore 200 weight Alpiniste fleeces for years without being upset, so given good features maybe we shouldn’t overlook fleece. As long as they are good ones. Not those ones the teams have to wear in Bargain Hunt on daytime BBC.

Paul is demonstrating stretch in the Dynamic Stretch Pants below. They’re a trekking/general purpose pant with an important feature for Montane, a cargo pocket on the thigh. Just one, but it’s a start. Hopefully we’ll go onto double pockets if these do well. The fabric is Tactel Dynamic and we did a water spill test, and the big slosh we slipped on it would not penetrate the fabric.

Above are a trio of Firefox jackets, a Pertex and Primaloft lightweight insulation piece. Two handwarmer pockets and a nice high collar.
There’s an important point here in that there’s no male equivalent, for once we get the peanut Revel and the girls get the Galaxy counter.
Sticking with the girls, below we have the Anti-Freeze Vest and Jacket. They’re both nice and light with 800+fillpower down inside and a water resistant Freeflow fabric on the outside.

We’ve got the girl’s Atomic DT’s above and below. The restyling on both gender’s versions is good, very fresh looking. It’s another one of these unsung heroes, lightweight, functional and now with a face you won’t be afraid to take home to meet your mother.

 The Atomic DT pants are below, light and will keep the wet and wind out. Why carry heavy shell pants? It’s been years since I packed traditional-style shell pants that my jacket. These days with softshell pants and the like, all you need most of the time are lightweight shells for the wettest and coldest of days. Maye for all of the time in the UK?

Above and below are the Atomic 2.0’s. Light, simple, slim and technical.

The Meteor DT pants below are a mix of Entrant DT Storm and DT Stretch fabrics, they’ve got braces, 3/4 length zips, zip fly and still come in at 280g. Winter lightweight there I think.

The Velocity DT is in fine eyewatering position above, made for the bike but still good for wet trails on foot as well.
Below is the hilarious and really rather nice Bear Jacket. It’s in super-furry Polartec Thermal Pro “High Void” ( I presume this means it has a false ceiling with plenty of room to run building services through…), and comes with thumb loops. Aye, it’s not technical, but we couldn’t help but like it anyway.

Paul was overcome with happiness when he modelled the Jaguar jacket. I think he was getting sick of looking at us by this point.
There were some old friends on show as well, the Prism 2.0 below has become a wee classic and stays in the range.
It’s impossible to show everything, the range is huge (just look behind Paul above), but I picked out the stuff that really caught my eye (that includes the test kit that’s through).
I liked the female range, and it’s good to be able to show some of that.

As you can see it’s a very serious business. The three men above are tired and emotional, having reached the limits of gear endurance.
I like these visits, it’s good to see the evolution, the ever changing output of folks design glands.
Like I always say, the manufacturers are trying, blame the stores if you can’t get what you want.

Craig and I went for dinner in Ambleside afterwards. It cost about £300 for what you see in the photie there, but luckily the parking was only £66.

Anyway, Montane updates coming soon. It’s the weather for it.

91 thoughts on “Montane, What’s Now and Next”

  1. Blimey so much to look at, I’m overwhelmed :))

    But, all the same, not massively tempted. Montane do lots of good stuff, and inovate more than many, but somehow very little of theirs ever fills the niches I’m looking at.

    This week just gone though, I did get my trusty Montane Kinetic shirt back into action for the bike trips to work – it has just the right mix of warmth and wind-resistance to cope on its own – and today I’ve dug out from the wardrobe the identical one that I bought 3 years ago because I was so impressed with the first one, it still has the swing-tags attached! But it’s about to be unleashed :))

  2. There is a lot, and there’s even more left out!
    I like the new shells, they’re a big step forward I think.
    But I do think that the new Flux was my favourite thing from the new range (the North Star was close).

    I know what you mean about gap-filling. Imagine the fun you could have if you had to start from scratch again, completely new gear…

  3. Yes yes yes! That’s what we like to see, some really nice kit for us girls.
    I’ll have an Anti Freeze vest in that lovely silver/grey colour – does it come with a skull on the back?
    also a Dyno in lime green! and an Atomic DT in steel (I believe that’s what they’re calling it).

    I don’t know what it is but the new stuff looks a lot more… modern? (is that the right word). Maybe it’s the new logos and the wee reflective bits and bobs/dots.

    I did used to love them Galaxy Counters by the way.

  4. Where to start. All fantastic kit. I would like the new Dyno. The Super Fly is still class and will be missed by me :) Montane are just a superb brand. Light, well designed and British. Look forward to more reviews soon and especially the Dyno.

  5. Some good looking stuff there. The North Star looks like a winner, definitely something I could see myself wearing on a fricking cold day out in the woods.

  6. About time they gave the dynamo a hood really :)

    When I saw the north star on their website I wasn’t totally sure what all those baffles would do to the overall warmth. Still it should be warm and does at least have the decency to be cheaper than the PHD equivalent ;)

  7. That North Star jacket looks ace!

    I really like Montane, I still say if there was only one piece of kit in my entire kit inventory that I was allowed to keep, it would be the Montane Terra Convert pants, they are still exactly the same as the day I bought them four years ago despite hundreds of outings and abuse!

    If Montane say they need a handsome young mancunian to test one of those this winter then give them my business card. Nicky said to tell you that if they want an Anti-Freeze testing this winter by a good looking mancunian babe then to send one her way!

  8. Not particularly familiar with Montane, but that looks like consistently good technical product with a proper cut: long and slim, Scandinavian-style. And they’re British? With a proper cut? OMG.

  9. Lots of positive noises there folks, they must be on the right track with the new look then?
    The North Star is nice, expecially in black with the red lining. It was one of many on my testing wish list!

    I should probably point out that Montane showroom samples are a medium, so all the kit above is put on over a Black Sabbath t-shirt if it’s me in the photie, and some of it maybe looks a little tight. All the test samples I get are a large.

  10. Ah, but ACS, what is a ‘proper’ cut? Sure there are *different* cuts, but the outdoors public isn’t mono-build, and not everyone who wants ‘technical’ is long and slim!

    (Like to think I still am! ;)
    (Despite using a fair bit of Paramo!! ;O)

    It’s just as well really that different brands have different ideas of the cut for technical kit…

  11. I agree, mattc; it all looks good stuff but until Montane add a “male maternity” cut it’s not for me!

  12. The technical cut that Montane have on a lot of their kit these days seems to be called an “athlete” cut by a lot of brands. The idea being that it is slim folk that’ll be using it, but I think Montane’s take on it is a bit more forgiving than some.
    I know this excludes a lot of folk who would like the features, but it makes for a better performing bit of kit.
    I for one am glad not to be wearing boxy cut waterproofs anymore!
    When Holly was born I put on a good bit of weight with irregular hours and constant snacking (only now am I getting it down again!) and I did find how quickly the slim stuff started to make you feel like you didn’t belong in it.

  13. Montanes sizing is all over the place between styles anyway. The troos are a definite try on first… one style will fit, another is hopelessly wrong. So even if say, Terra pants don’t work for you, it’s still worth trying on say the new Meteour DTs.

  14. Ah I’m glad we girls aren’t the only ones who find getting trousers to fit a problem.
    And we get the Galaxy Counters.
    Oh wait… maybe that why the trousers don’t fit!
    :o)

  15. Nice one fella, certainly looks some good stuff there, i picked up a superfuly and some venture pants for our lass at bargain prices due to the new stuff coming out and the factory shop closing.

    any news on new versions of the terra or terra converts?

  16. I’ve got a lot of love for Montane. Just this week I’ve been mostly gaddin’ aboot in a Krypton. I’d forgotten how good it is.

  17. You would have to assume the majority of the active-outdoors population would be in better shape than Joe Blow from wherever. Given this, it would be logical for the majority of outdoors cuts to be on the slimmer side.

    Interjection – short is a different issue, as some people prioritise maximum mobility over better coverage, which is their prerogative.

    But slim? North Face? Cut like a box. Berghaus? Ditto. Paramo? Ditto. Mountain Equipment? Varies from item to item, but never exactly anorexic. Arc’teryx? Fairly slim on the body but stupidly massive on the shoulder, and short in the bargain. Mountain Hardwear? Slim but with a nasty propensity to be short in the arm (though not always)? And that’s a big chunk of your popular outdoor brands right there.

    That leaves us with some Rab, Montane, and our friends from Scandinavia (Haglofs, Norrona, etc). Apologies if I missed anything particularly obvious: I have no experience of Mammut clothing and a bunch of other continental brands, for instance. But you get my point. It’s like footwear for narrow-footed people (like me): AFAIK, it’s Asolo, La Sportiva, some Inov8, and that’s bloody it. Arrgghhh.

  18. Plus, as PTC said above: slimmer cuts mean less weight and bulk, less snagging, smaller pack sizes, and better breathability.

  19. Or not even that. Like the British addiction to BORING BLACK, there’s a tendency for Big Men to think they need Big Jackets. No, you don’t, you need a jacket that fits you, not one that makes you look like you’ve been nicking stuff out of Arnie Schwarznegger’s wardrobe. Buy a big size of a well-cut jacket: you’re a Big Man, not a Fat Man. There’s a difference.

    And FFS buy something other than black.

  20. Ange, chocolate will be my downfall. Or Irn Bru. Pies, Greggs…

    Moggy, there’s no change to the Terra’s as far as I can see. I think it’s a case of “It sells, don’t touch it!”

    Chris, I’m looking forward to getting that smock out too. I will be trying it wath a short sleeve merino shirt at first though.

    Kev, you forget how many things Montane have tried over the years. They do tend to thow stuff out there with gay abandon and see if it sells or not. Bless ’em.

    The sizing and also the colour stuff? I can only nod along in time!

  21. I already have so many Montane garments…..do I really need more? Um, well, dammit I do!!!
    The North Star does look good

    Wonder how full the kids piggy-banks are?

  22. Chocolate is my downfall… And Irn Bru! ( she says whilst munching on M&S choc covered popcorn and swigging from a Wee Bru bottle )
    :o)

  23. Wow! So much good stuff! I love the Montane fit. Like a glove and all that…

    What’s the deal with the hood on the North Star jacket? You make it sound like a proper, insulated hood but the website makes it look like a thin ‘hidden-in-the-collar’ type?

    Hooded Dyno. Yes please! Thank ***! Honestly, soft-shells without hoods just do not make sense.

    Agree with you about Entrant. Perfectly serviceable and cheaper alternative to eVent. I use an Atomic in summer and will probably have one of the new ones but why the loss of the rain flap and proper zip for one of those not-quite-waterproof zips? And they’ve put on a bit of weight!

    Can we have a boy’s Firefox for next Spring/Summer? A really light insulated jacket/smock to compete with the Nano/Generator?

  24. Montane will be blushing here!

    Ah the want/need dilemma…

    The North Star hood is insulated and all properly shaped, but it does foldaway, somewhat pointlesslay I think, but it does give it that clever collar arrangement a bit like what the Flux has.
    We do need a blokes Firefox, it’s a two pocket Solo for those of us that mourn its loss.

    Ange, back in the gym for you.

  25. I love the Dyno in blue! A very animated, super hero look about it.

    I want one in large… When will it be in the shops?

  26. Hey PTC, great rundown of new products. Question: will the Dyno be of Pertex STRETCH Equilibrium, or the normal variety?

    Also, are you sure the picture near the top noted as two guys wearing the Dyno is indeed the Dyno? It looks like other photos I’ve seen of the Atomic DT Stretch Jacket.

    Thanks.

  27. The Dyno comes in Equilibrium ECO, which I confess I’m sure quite how stretchy that is?!
    It is indeed the Atomic DT Stretch we’re wearing in the photies, the Dyno is the grey jacket with the red zips on the wall in a few of the shots.

    See, I need folk to keep me right :o)

  28. did anyone try on the dynamic stretch pants? if so, is it a closer cut than say the terra pants? and are the legs tapered?

    ps. why’s everything in black?

  29. “why’s everything in black?” Now that is indeed the question!

    The Dynamics seem to be quite straight-cut, with the stretch they’ll get away with being quite close fittting.
    The samples were mediums, and there’s no way I’m getting in size medium panst at this stage in my life :o)

  30. i ordered a pair of black montane terras the other day; black because it’s the only colour that the short leg version is available. i went for the terras coz they’re reputed to dry very quickly! i’m praying that the legs aren’t tapered and don’t have a massive arse!

    i’ve finally arrested the fatness stage and i’m only 5 years younger than you. i hope you’re not saying that it’ll all be in vain!

  31. Oh, and if you had to buy a winter down jacket again would you consider the North Star over the Rab Endurance that seems to be everybody’s benchmark?

    Brilliant looking range of clothing though. Not often one brand potentially covers ALL your clothing bases. They just need that boy’s Firefox…

  32. The fabric on the Terra’s is great, you’ll not be disappointed. They don’ have a huge arse and tapered legs, I do…

    The seasonal release thing is always intersting. I’m testing pre-production Haglofs winter boots which are coming out in March?!

    The Rab Endurance is a cracker, I’ve had one for maybe three years? But when it comes down to it, it’s a bog-standard stitch-through design with a few nice tweaks like the outer fabric and a brilliant hood that’s permanently attached. The new Endurance fabric is lighter and more felxible, so the new version is little bit better again.
    The North Star hits all the same markers, but with better pockets and a sexier look. The hood might be better too.
    I’d happily buy a North Star.

    Two points also come to mind here, have we all seen Montane’s new website? And, Yeti down gear now have proper UK distribution and will be available here next year.

  33. Thanks for the info ptc*.

    Bizarre time to launch a softshell, they’re perfect for winter! I might give the Rab Fusion a try instead.

    The Rab Endurance jacket seems to have become a bit of a cult piece and I guess the North Star could too in time. I think I’ll give the North Star a go.

    Yes, the new Montane website is a HUGE improvement! The Yeti stuff looks interesting, are you getting some stuff to test?

  34. I was talking about getting some Yeti in to test next year when they’re launching over here, so we might get to see something aye.

    Different is good, I think the North Star is a killer bit of kit.

  35. Actually, I did the “blow test” through the fabric and I’d say “quite” windproof.
    I was paying more attention to the DWR which was outstanding, sorry!

  36. Hey, no problem. It’s a bit unfair to expect you to act as our own personal gear tester at all times ;-)

  37. Greetings.

    Isn’t the North Star basically just the anti-freeze with a hood? Surely that wouldn’t be nearly as warm as the Rab Neutrino?

    And is there a good reason Montane have for making such small baffles? Surely with much more stitching you get many more cold spots and less overall lofting?

  38. Hi George

    I suppose it is an evolution of the Anti-Freeze, aye. The pocket layout is the same, but the torso construction is miles apart, and the hood follows the recent integrated collar thing Montane have been using on the synthetic jackets.
    Dunno how it would compare to the Neutrino, I’d need to go and look at down weights, too late at night!

    The down baffle thing is something that I’ve wondered about. I got a pullover from Crux to test which is all small squares, nice and warm but leaks down everywhere!
    Big baffles don’t always mean reliable down distribution and loft, the Neutrino’s fill needs adjusted now and again, the down migrates leaving cold spots. The Alpkit PD400 I tested ended up with all it’s down on one side!
    So you could say that small baffles means a more even and reliable down distribution.
    When I first used the Marmot Atom down bag which is a regular style stitch-through I thought I would freeze, but the insulation inside felt even in use, until I ran the back of my hand up and down the bag and could feel variations where the stiching lines were.

    Basically, I think that any stitch-through construction will have a degree of compromise, be it shapes or long baffles. Down quality and fabrics will make the difference.
    Boxed baffles are the only guaranteed way of getting even insulation, but of course at the cost of weight, bulk and expense.

    I must admit that when I pull on the box walled Haglofs LIM Down hood it’s like stepping indoors. I don’t get that from any other down clothing!

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