Just In - Montane Alpine Endurance Jacket
Montane says that the new Alpine Endurance eVent Jacket that's just arrived for review is - and we quote - 'an extreme conditions alpine mountaineering shell' and it's certainly a serious bit of kit with a comprehensive technical spec and a chunky, durable feel.
That does comes at a cost, the jacket weighs in at a real-life 640g, which is weighty for a modern shell, but the sort of person who buys an Alpine Endurance is going to be more concerned with durability and function than saving the odd 100g or so.
Some of that weight comes from the fabric, a tough-feeling, Nylon-faced eVent, still one of the most breathable waterproof materials out there, but it also reflects a comprehensive specification. There are, for example, no fewer than seven pockets - two hand-warmer ones, two Napoleon-style chest pockets, a external sleeve pocket and two internal ones.
There are pit-zips too, something that's not overly common on eVent jackets with their impressive breathability plus not only an adjustable shock-corded hem, but an additional 3/4 waist cord to snug things in around, well, the upper butt really. The idea is a neater fit sat under harnesses and packs.
At this point ultra-minimalist mountaineers will be running off grunting about excessive numbers of pockets and weight, but that's not really what the Alpine Endurance is all about. It's kind of a modern take on a traditional bomb-proof mountain jacket with top spec materials and construction.
Montane has used 13mm micro-taped seams to up breathability and a 12-13 stitch count on seams to give a stronger, neater seam helped with a 3mm stitch allowance. Adjustment cords on hood and elsewhere are low-profile and generally captive as well with Montane's flat, round, 'penny cordlocks' on the lower adjustment cords. Main zip is a modish YKK water-resistant, plastic-toothed Vislon as well, top spec stuff.
Mountain jackets like this live or die in bad conditions by their hood performance and on paper the Alpine Endurance one looks promising. It's a helmet-compatible monster with four-points of adjustment, captive cords and a neat wired peak.
One thing we like about that wired brim is that once cinched down it feels bomber solid with no prospect of the wind flipping the peak up, which can happen with some designs. It fits and adjusts fine with a naked head or beanie in place, but is roomy enough to swallow the editorial BD Half Dome helmet - not the lowest of lids - and still give great facial protection and decent mobility. Looks like a winner.
Another nice touch are the cuffs. They have a neat, asymmetric cut to cover the back of the hand, but also a Velcro adjuster which can be used either with a plastic buckle in ratchet mode to really cinch things solidly down in stormy conditions or as a more conventional straight Velcro flap if you prefer.
Finally the cut is a neat middle ground. The jacket's decently long by modern mountaineering standards and has a drop-tail for rear protection. There's enough space to accommodate an athletic sort of climber-build body with sufficient to spare for a warm mid-layer, but it's absolutely not a loose, flappy cut or a a super-close über-technical affair. Mobility in the harsh environment of the office, seems good too with articulated sleeves promising to stay properly in place even during climbing-style arm waving episodes.
Tough, Fully-Featured Mountain Jacket
Overall, the Montane Alpine Endurance eVent Jacket, looks bob on for anyone looking for a tough, fully-featured mountain jacket that should handle anything from Scottish winter mountaineering through to Alpine use or beyond.
The detailing's good, cut neat without being restrictive and pockets, venting and hood are all present and correct. Add in one of our favourite waterproof fabrics and it's looking good. The trade-off though is a slightly heavier than average weight and a price tag of £300.
Full review to follow. More information at www.montane.co.uk/range/men/shell/alpine-endurance-event-jacket.