We popped over to see the nice people at Mountain Equipment the

other week - bumped into their sponsored climber John Dunne, who was

just off to Vietnam on some hush, hush mission - and sneaked a look a

their new kit for the 2002 autum/winter season.

We also managed a quick look at something ME has up its sleeve for

2003, but right now we're not sure whether we can tell you about it.

Let's just say it's a very neat modern take of an idea that's been

tried before and we reckon it'll make a big splash come bed time.

Watch this space for more details...

Anyway, back to autumn/winter...


Manaslu Jacket -



Half-cord waist pulls

front of jacket flat

when tensioned - neat

New for this year and aimed squarely at outdoor women who

are looking for a serious mountain jacket that doesn't make

them look like a bag of spuds. Fabric is classic Gore-Tex

three-ply rip-stop with reinforced panels on main wear

points. Like the men's Latok it's based on, the Manaslu has

ME's excellent wired hood, pit-zips using easy-access

water-resistant zips with no superfluous overflaps, big

chest pockets, concealed draw cords and a map pocket.

Looks classy in a neat, understated sort of way and it's

good to see a British company turning out well-designed

women's kit. One neat touch we liked was the half-cord waist

that means the front of the jacket sits flat when cinched

up, great for being able to see your feet and coincidentally

flattering, not that women worry about such things of



Cirrus Jacket - £150


Simple fast-mover's

jacket with a proper hood

Another new arrival, the Cirrus uses ME's effective

Drilite Extreme own-brand hydrophyllic laminate fabric in

2-ply form and is aimed at minimalist users like adventure

racers and lightweight alpinists. It weighs in at around 680

grammes, which isn't that light, but you're getting a

full-spec roll-down hood with wired peak which will also

accommodate a climbing helmet plus two big pockets,

concealed draw cords etc.


Women's Dewline Jacket - £100


Women's version gets

box-stitched details for added


Another neat design aimed specifically at women. As

everyone knows, buy your partner a down jacket and they will

love you forever. Proven fact... Well, maybe. At any rate,

the women's version of the classic Dewline jacket is, erm,

cut to fit women. It also gets 'Box' stitch-through

detailing front and rear (yes, that's the box-shaped

stitching), weighs 540 grammes and has the same technical

features as the men's version.

That means ME's 90 per-cent down filling with 600+ fill

power, two large hand warmer pockets and a large internal

chest pocket, plus Lycra-bound cuffs, mmm... Sorry.


And it comes as a vest as well -



Woman dwarfed by giant

down vest horror...

'It was huge and orange'

And the rest...

On top of all that - okay if you're a girl we reckon - there are a

few other new developments. The Microtherm synthetically-insulated

lightweight fleece alternative in jacket or pull-on form gets a new,

tougher rip-stop face fabric. The jacket - weight 520 grammes - has

zip-off sleeves for instant vest conversion scenarios - 'Help, I've

been converted to a vest...' and large, venting pockets. The idea is

better insulation than fleece in a ligher, more compact and more

wind-resistant form.

Talking of which, there's also a new addition to ME's longstanding

Aquafleece range in the form of the new Aquafleece Alpine jacket, a

highly water-resistant and windproof fleece top. The Alpine looks

like the existing Guide jacket, but uses a warmer Gore Windstopper

Glacier fleece for the main body together with lighter weight

Windstopper Monsoon in the arms where insulation is less crucial and

mobility matters. It's also slightly longer in the body than other

Aquafleece jackets and should work well in extreme winter conditions.

Price is around £120.

And that's it except for that 2003 innovation... Nope, can't tell

you yet.