Morpheus01.jpg
Morpheus01.jpg
Price:

£200

Weight: 440

grammes

(medium)

Features:

Lightweight, three-ply Gore-Tex Pro Shell Ascender

waterproof mountain jacket, full storm flap protected front

zip, Stealth hood with laminated wired peak and new larger

bonded fleece guard, one pull volume adjuster, two large

front pockets with water-resistant zips, external map pocket

with fully-taped pocket bag, dual hem shock cord system,

tethered waist and hem drawcords, adjustable rubber cuff

grabs.


What's It

For?

Mountain Equipment says that the Morpheus jacket 'is designed

as a

lightweight but full spec mountain walking and climbing jacket.' In

other words, full protection, but in a lightweight package that's

easy to carry when not needed.

Previously a Gore-Tex jacket at this sort of weight would

mostly

likely have been made from PacLite and have an emphasis on light

weight at the expense of robustness. New Pro Shell fabrics mean the

company's been able to priduce a lightweight jacket that should still

be reasonably tough.


The Techy

Bits

The new Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabrics have three big advantages

over

the old XCR material. The woven backer that forms the inner surface

of the fabric is bother lighter and more durable than the old knitted

version, but also nicer to wear as it slides more easily over inner

layers giving appreciably improved mobility and comfort. Used here

with a lightweight face fabric, it means you can have the pros of

PacLite without the cons.

The rest of the jacket isn't really ground breaking, but

builds on

ME's traditionally capable features, in particular the effective

Stealth hood.

Morpheus02.jpg
Morpheus02.jpg

How It

Performs

The key to Mountain Equipment's reputation as arguably the

definitive British mountain shell jacket brand has been getting the

basic functionality right. ME's jackets may not always look as sexy

as some of its rivals, but you can bet your waterproof pocket zip

that the hood will work well, the hem will stay put when you reach up

for a hold and the cut will fall nicely into the happy zone between

contour hugging and baggy.

So it's no surprise that the Morpheus ticks all those boxes.

The

cut is generous enough for us to fit a fleece underneath, but not

really loose, stuff like the cuff adjustment works well and the

pockets are arranged so as not to interfere with pack belts and

harness. There's an external map pocket that'll take a 1:25,000 OS at

a pinch and means you don't have to open the main zip's double storm

flap every time you want to get your map out.

Length is kind of medium - not quite as long as a traditional

mountain jacket, but not as short and boxy as the short-cut climbing

jackets intended to be used with shell pants. We found it about right

for general mountain use, though that will depend a little on your

own proportions so try before buying.

Morpheus03.jpg
Morpheus03.jpg

You also get the latest incarnation of ME's effective Stealth

hood

complete with laminated and wired peak. With bare head or hat it

works excellently with the adjuster cord gripping the top of your

head so the hood moves seamlessly as you turn your head sideways. It

will also accommodate a helmet, but we found the helmet peak sat a

little high and the chin piece was too tight in lidded mode, so

again, try before buying if you intend to use it in climbing

mode.

Morpheus05.jpg
Morpheus05.jpg

The Pro Shell fabric generally works well and is the key to

the

Morpheus's light weight and packability - it'll fit easily inside a

climbing helmet for example. Breathability isn't quite at eVent

levels - we used main zip and easily rolled up cuffs for venting -

but the smooth inner face slides easily over lower layers giving a

silky smooth, mobile comfortable feel in use.

We're not sure how tough the lightish face fabric would be in

really brutal use, but we'd definitely take it over Paclite for

general durability and effective waterproofing too.

morpheus04.jpg
morpheus04.jpg

Quibbles? The chinguard is a bit tight across the point of the

chin, we didn't really use the half drawcord at the waist and it

would be a nice touch if the two hem cords - one front, one back -

used either colour coding or different shaped toggles so you could

tell easily which is which. That's it really.

Quick Verdict

With the Morpheus, it really does seem like you can have

your

cake and eat it. The three-ply Pro Shell fabric keeps things light,

packable and mobile, but you also get good levels of protection and

Mountain Equipment's proven design features.

We would suggest you check the chin area of the hood for fit,

particularly if you intend to use a helmet occasionally, but other

than that, you're getting a great jacket. The only open question is

over durability and with that, only time will tell. For really

aggressive use with big packs you may be better off with a jacket

featuring reinforcement on shoulders and hips.


Pros

Light, compact and with an

excellent balance between weight

and protection.

Cons

Hood chin piece may be tight when used with some climbing

helmets.