British gear brand Montane has gained a Gore-Tex licence, which is no small news as it’s the first new licence to be issued in more than ten-odd years. The perennial mountain company has decided to use the licence in a series of ‘proper’ mountain gear, which we’ve been testing in the UK and Europe in mixed conditions. Read on for our Montane Alpine Pro Jacket review!
Montane have gone all out on this jacket, describing the shell as having ‘unrivalled versatility’, and to be honest it’s not bad description. With a claimed weight of 420 grams, and a roomy athletic style fit, it’s hard to imagine any persuasion of outdoors type being upset with it.
It’s essentially a Gore Pro shell waterproof in a classic vein – which is to say a good one. It’s robust, well designed, and as good an all-rounder as you’ll find. The only unusual note is the inclusion of pit zips, which are allegedly really good for venting, but we always find awkward to zip and unzip once you’re in a harness, and often get forgotten in the open position, leading to spindrift-filled underarms. Maybe just us?
The helmet-compatible hood on our sample has enough adjustment to accommodate a small rhino, whether wearing a helmet or not, and has a pleasantly stiff wired peak that can be shaped to suit conditions and headwear alike. Adjusters are glove-friendly, standard toggles on the front and a flat, idiot-proof device on the rear, ideal for gloved fumbling in a howling gale.
Having tested the Montane Alpine Pro Jacket in a variety of weathers, we’re still not sure what conditions the pitzips are for, but other than adding a few grams they’re not too much of an issue either way. Your tester is a ‘run hot’ type, so opening pit zips is really an admission that he’s overdressed, so for colder types they’re perhaps more useful, although a series of straw polls failed to find anyone who really gets on with them. On the brighter side, the underarm cut is excellent, with lots of movement for reaching up in search of gear placements, or axe placements for that matter.
The GoreTex Pro material feels great, light and flexible by with that GoreTex ‘armour’ sensation which – when you’re out in a hoolie – gives you something to cower inside. The excellent Rab Flashpoint Jacket we’ve been testing this summer weighs half as much, but has little of this comforting robustness to it. A must for UK winter!
The Montane Alpine Pro Jacket is available now from all good outdoor shops, including at SportsShoes.com for £329.99.