New for winter 2018, the Montane Fleet waterproof jacket is the successor to Montane’s original Spine, mountain-running jacket, but unlike its super-focussed, uncompromising predecessor – it had, for example, just one, small chest-pocket – it’s much more of a lightweight mountain all-rounder.
It may weigh just 40g or so more than the equivalent Spine, but it has more adjustability, a larger chest pocket, two venting hand-pockets and a more protective hood with a wired peak compared to the Spine’s minimalist stiffened brim.
It’s also cut appreciably looser, giving more space for insulation layers, natural or otherwise, and has strategic heavier duty Gore-Tex reinforcement panels at hips and shoulders to cater for pack or, it says here, harness use.
All of which makes the Fleet a better lightweight hill and mountain all-rounder than the Spine, but also makes it looser and flappier for running or biking use.
Like the previous Spine, the Fleet uses Gore-Tex Active, which is Gore’s most breathable three-layer fabric. It’s designed primarily for fast-moving, sweaty, high tempo stuff like running and tanking up hills like a loon.
It’s decently light and in this version has a very soft and quiet feel. What it isn’t designed for, is long-term durability, but Montane has added panels of a slightly tougher, but still soft and quiet in use, Gore-Tex micro ripstop fabric with a C-KNIT backer at hips and shoulders.
The idea is to increase durability with pack and, potentially, climbing harness use. Arguably you could make the same jacket from the tougher, but still light and decently breathable Gore-Tex Pro fabric, but it would end up around 100g heavier and also have a stiffer, noisier vibe.
Bottom line: it’s a fabric designed for comfortable, fast and hot use rather than long-term toughness, though Montane has added a bit of that with the reinforcement.