The Montane Icarus has a story to tell. It might look like a standard issue high-street micro baffle jacket, but there’s a very good reason or several to be sporting one this winter. Read on for our Montane Icarus jacket review to find out why!
Aside from the actual jacket, which we’ll get to later, the big headline news in this launch is a new, highly technical material. Created and distributed by insulation-doyennes Primaloft, it’s called ‘ThermoPlume’, and as the name hints, it’s an artificial down. Not just any old fibre roll either, this is a fluffy synthetic down substitute that mimics down in warmth and handling qualities (so construction techniques are the same as a down jacket), but offers a more robust end product. The big benefit for climbers and walkers in the UK is that it is unfazed by water, so in British-type climates, and especially in damp Scottish conditions you stay warm, if not entirely dry.
We tested the Icarus in a full-on downpour, and the exterior DWR-treated Pertex Quantum Eco fabric outer repelled water for a decent period before eventually seeping through at the shoulder stitching. However, the internal insulation didn’t clump as down would, so we stayed relatively warm as promised. The windproof Pertex certainly helps with this, and while it’s not the first combo of Pertex outer and insulating inner on the market by a long chalk, it’s a winning pairing on the hill.
As anyone who has been in a light shower in a down jacket knows, it doesn’t take long to become a soggy cold mess, something the ThermoPlume-powered Montane Icarus refused to become, in spite of insulating to the equivalent of 550+ fill power down.
As a jacket, Montane have kept both the lines of the jacket and it’s accoutrements clean and simple. A micro baffle construction allows for a snug body fit and freedom of movement, accentuated via little details like the varying baffle thickness under the arms, which also helps reduce hem lift, according to Montane. Elasticated hem and cuffs keep the theme of simplicity going, as well as minimising heat loss and weight. Indeed, it’s a surprise that the Montane Icarus weighs in at as much as 581g, although that’s not exactly porky by jacket standards.
The simple elasticated hood has plenty of helmet room without being too vast without, a neat trick to pull off, and a lack of adjusters can be useful faff-avoidance in mountain situations too. The jacket liner, 100% recycled PEAQ Synthetic ECO fabric, is smooth and handles well, while the two hand pockets are raised slightly to clear a rucksack belt or harness. There’s the obligatory ‘storm flap’ inside the zip, and a neatly engineered ‘beard guard’ at the top – the yellow zip adding a welcome pop of colour and easier identification in murkier conditions.
Overall, the Montane Icarus jacket is a solid workhorse for the winter months, and feels robust enough to deal with several season’s worth of abuse without having to resort to duct tape to keep it together. A bigger, bulkier version would be the ultimate Scottish belay jacket, but in the meantime this is a flexible mid/upper layer, especially for winter walkers. As a quick-pull on extra insulation for stops in winter it really delivers the goods.