Just In - Montane Direct Ascent Jacket
New for this winder, Montane's Direct Ascent eVent Jacket is a bit of a rarity, an unapologetic 'technical mountain walking shell' made using a high-spec breathable fabric with the routine attention to detail and construction more usually seem with full-on technical climbing shells.
What makes it a walking jacket? It's cut longer than climbing shells giving pretty much full crotch coverage, but without interfering with walking movement. That in turn means it has a waist as well as a hem shock cord adjuster and up top there's a helmet-compatible hood which cinches down nicely for non-helmet use.
None of that is extraordinary, but what makes the Direct Ascent a bit different is the fabric, the construction and the detailing. The material is three-layer eVent, still one of the most breathable waterproof fabrics out there and a good bet for staying cool when the going gets warm. A really good fabric, but one that's not often seen on pure, longer-cut, walking shells.
Then there's the construction. The seams are micro-taped to increase breathability, seams have a 12-13 stitch count for neater, stronger joins says Montane and a seam allowance of 3mm again increases neatness. As a user though, you simply notice that it seems well made and neat.
The same's true of the design. The cuffs for example, use an ergonomic bias cut, the pockets are above waist-belt level, zips are water resistant all round and there's a bonded-on internal stretch mesh pocket. That hem-cord has flat, hidden, 'penny cordlocks' for neatness and the waist cord adjusters are inside the pockets.
All very neat, as is the stiffened storm-flap behind the main YKK zip, mini vents at the tops of the pockets, beard-guard and soft collar panel. Finally, colours are Montane's signature blue and orange; muted but distinctive.
Don't Look Like A Scarecrow
It's as if Montane is saying, hey, just because you're a walker doesn't mean you have to look like a scarecrow. Nor do you have to buy an over-specced, under-length technical climbing shell to get hold of a top waterproof fabric. And hey, if you do want to do some winter mountaineering, yes, the hood will take a helmet, but we understand that mostly you'll be walking and scrambling. And you know what, there's nothing wrong with that.
The fit, by the way, is long and generous enough to swallow a fat winter fleece, but the waist cord adjustment keeps things together and it's by no means vast anyway. The all-in weight for our medium test jacket is bang on 500g and suggested price, £240.
Extra Length As Standard
We like the concept, we like the added protection from the extra length and we're looking forward to giving it a go in the delights of a wet and woolly British winter. Full review to follow.
More information at www.montane.co.uk.