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(Product Review) – Montane alpine kit test – Naya Kanga (5846m) – Nepal

18th February 2019

products under review:

Alpha Balance Jacket

Alpha Balance Jacket


CONSTRUCTION
PONTETORTO® Tecnostretch with a durable ‘hard face’ in main body
120g POLARTEC® Alpha® Direct fleece inner in chest, shoulders and upper arms
FEATHERLITE™ Air nylon stretch overlays with DWR

FEATURES
Snug helmet compatible stretch bound hood
Articulated arms with engineered tailoring
Full length YKK VISLON® front zip with internal storm flap
Two zipped Napoleon chest pockets
Low profile cuffs
Thumb loops
Adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord
Weight: 350g


Ice Grip Glove

Ice Grip Glove


CONSTRUCTION
GRANITE STRETCH softshell outer
Goat leather palm, fingers and knuckles
GORE-TEX® waterproof insert
100g PrimaLoft® GOLD
Mid-weight fleece lining

FEATURES
GORE-TEX® Grip Technology
Adjustable hook and loop cuff closure
Weight: 140g

Windjammer Beanie

Windjammer Beanie


CONSTRUCTION 
Quality blended knit of 50% Merino wool and 50% acrylic
Fully lined with GORE WINDSTOPPER® for wind protection and added warmth

PATTERNING AND DESIGN 
Ergonomically knitted shape for a perfect fit
Lining has a six seam crown for a close comfortable fit
Modern knit pattern for a stylish look
Weight: 125g


Alpha Balance Jacket

The Alpha Balance is a full zip technical fleece designed for lightweight, fast-paced mountain based activities. This versatile piece from Montane can be used either as a comfortable mid-layer or insulated outer due to its body-mapped POLARTEC® Alpha® Direct in the front chest and over the upper arms boosting its thermal properties where needed. The jacket also features their ‘hard-face’ PONTETORTO® Tecnostretch in the main body which adds durability similar to a soft-shell but with added stretch.



As a whole I found the Alpha Balance jacket great to work with. The overall fabric of the jacket feels great. It has been shaped using Montane’s ‘active mountain’ fit which is designed to be low bulk and fit closely to the body whilst still enabling full movement throughout. I found this to work really well, with minimal rise around the waist when reaching up and no loose fitting areas trapping dead air and adding unnecessary weight.

Whilst capturing some photos out in Langtang National Park in Nepal during my last expedition to summit Naya Kanga Peak (5846m) I used the Alpha Balance primarily as an outer layer paired with a merino base layer or breathable tech-t beneath. The beauty of this ‘fleece’ is that because of the PONTETORTO® Tecnostretch in the main body and shoulders, the jacket takes on more of a soft-shell likeness. To me it seems like the perfect balance between a lightweight fleece and an insulated soft-shell, ideal for alpine activities.



With a smooth abrasion-resistant outer fabric the Tecnostretch allows for bag straps to slide a little more freely and comfortably over the shoulders rather than gripping the garment, meaning that there is less friction between you and your pack enabling you to manoeuvre more freely. It also has the ability to hold heat. In this case Montane chose to use POLARTEC® Alpha® Direct to insulate the jacket, which was originally created for the U.S. special forces in need of a superior insulation system for extreme temperature variations and the start-stop conditions of combat… It basically means you’ll have consistent warmth, whilst allowing superb breathability during high-excersion activities. Whilst pushing for the summit under a rising sun I found it effortless to further increase the breathability of the jacket, using the vented chest pockets which had also come in handy earlier that morning keeping my camera batteries warm beneath an icy down jacket. All in all I really love the Alpha Balance! It’s versatility and practical design crossed with its smooth alpine look make it a great piece of lightweight kit to have with you when you’re out pushing your limits.

CONSTRUCTION
PONTETORTO® Tecnostretch with a durable ‘hard face’ in main body
120g POLARTEC® Alpha® Direct fleece inner in chest, shoulders and upper arms
FEATHERLITE™ Air nylon stretch overlays with DWR

FEATURES
Snug helmet compatible stretch bound hood
Articulated arms with engineered tailoring
Full length YKK VISLON® front zip with internal storm flap
Two zipped Napoleon chest pockets
Low profile cuffs
Thumb loops
Adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord
Weight: 350g



Ice Grip Gloves

The Ice Grip gloves are fully waterproof, breathable and insulated with 100g of PrimaLoft® GOLD. With goat skin palms and a dexterous GORE-TEX® Grip Technology they are ideal for use in cold and tough, technical environments where durability and warmth really matter.



Montane’s Ice Grip gloves offer a lightweight solution to a highly insulted alpine mountaineering glove. The gloves are constructed on the upper face with a tough soft-shell outer fabric and paired with goat leather palms, fingers and knuckles which combined add great water repellency, wind resistance and outstanding durability against rock scrapes and rope burn.

The Ice Grips are also lined with a GORE-TEX® waterproof insert making them completely waterproof and protected from the elements. The fleece lined inner adds an extra element of warmth to the gloves whilst a 100g fill of PrimaLoft® Gold takes care of the insulation ensuring guaranteed comfort in colder climates.

Overall I found the gloves great for managing rope work and had no issues tackling carabiners climbing at altitude around 5000m+ using them with a basic liner glove beneath. The lack of weight and bulk really set these apart from other competitors, most of my team had committed to oversized down-filled mittens on approach to the summit but I had no issues at all using the Ice Grips which kept me warm throughout.

CONSTRUCTION
GRANITE STRETCH softshell outer
Goat leather palm, fingers and knuckles
GORE-TEX® waterproof insert
100g PrimaLoft® GOLD
Mid-weight fleece lining

FEATURES
GORE-TEX® Grip Technology
Adjustable hook and loop cuff closure
Weight: 140g



Windjammer Beanie

Using a combination of quality merino wool blended yarn and a full GORE WINDSTOPPER® lining the Windjammer Beanie by Montane is designed for those looking for a stylish headwear that boasts technicality suited for tough alpine conditions.



The Windjammer Beanie is a stylish knitted hat featuring a GORE WINDSTOPPER® layer which protects against wind chill. This three layer hat uses a merino wool outer stitched onto a six seam crown inner fleece with the Goretex sandwiched between them. This simple layered construction allows heat to be trapped adding to the overall insulation of the beanie creating a really warm comfortable fit.

Generally I found the hat most useful when relaxing around camp during the evenings rather than to use during the climb. Because of its sheer warmth the hat isn’t ideal for climbing with, I found I became quickly overheated and opted for a lightweight breathable buff (Neck gaiter) whist on the final approach to the summit. But for those chilly mornings and nights spent camping above 4000m the Windjammer is the perfect product to keep you warm in sub-zero conditions.

CONSTRUCTION 

Quality blended knit of 50% Merino wool and 50% acrylic

Fully lined with GORE WINDSTOPPER® for wind protection and added warmth

PATTERNING AND DESIGN 

Ergonomically knitted shape for a perfect fit

Lining has a six seam crown for a close comfortable fit

Modern knit pattern for a stylish look


Naya Kanga Peak 5846m, Langtang National Park.

– I’d like to say a huge thank you to Montane https://www.montane.co.uk for personally supporting me on this expedition. Their assistance and equipment provided for this trip contributed to ensuring my safety and overall well-being. 

– Thank you to all of our support team in Nepal and to everyone who assisted with the planning and execution of this journey. Also to our cook team & porters for keeping us safe and positive throughout!  

If you would like to read more about my latest expedition in the Langtang Nation Park, please check out my photojournal found via my website under ‘blog’.

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