Posted 20 hours ago

Montane Mens Pacplus Jacket RRP £220

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The windproofing is excellent and there’s little risk you’ll catch a chill once you’re zipped inside; There’s ample length in the sleeves and the cuffs don’t end up halfway up your forearms when you artiuclate you arms, so there’s little risk of your wrists being exposed to the elements when you need to extend your arms. And when the cuff adjusters are tightened, they create a good seal against the elements. The Pac Plus features a slim, athletic fit, cutting down on bulk where it isn’t needed. Because of this it works best over a baselayer or lightweight midlayer.

RET (Resistance to Evaporative Heat Transfer) tells you theresistance a material has to water vapour passing through it. The lower the RET value, the less its resistance to moisture transfer and therefore the higher its breathability. By the definition of this standard, an RET of 0-6 is 'extremely breathable' (comfortable worn at a higher activity rate); 6-13 is 'very breathable' (comfy at a moderate activity rate); 13-20 is 'satisfactory' or 'breathable' (uncomfortable at a high activity rate); and anything over 20 is going to boil you in the bag (I paraphrase). To keep your outdoor clothing and equipment in tip top condition and performing to its maximum we recommend the use of Nikwax products. We have been using Nikwax products since day one (26 th March 1986) and have found them to be totally reliable, dependable and effective. Today’s Nikwax treatments contain environmentally friendly elastic water-repellent polymers that bond to fabric fibres, leaving the spaces between open and breathable. These stretchy polymers are able to stretch and move with the fabric so they stay put for longer and work better. Nikwax treatments will not change the look or feel of the fabric and they are all water based, environmentally safe, non-flammable and contain no nasty Fluorocarbons. Nikwax products can be used to clean, re-proof and revitalise all your outdoor technical clothing and equipment. GORE-TEX makes an excellent windorproof layer so the Pac Plus get 10 out of 10 here. But you alson need think about other factors and, fortunately, Montane have put huge effort in this thought process.A great design – Montane tend to cater for a specific user as opposed to creating garments that do everything for everyone, but the use of recycled face fabrics is a move in the right direction. It is laminated to a membrane made using PFCs, however, so it’s one of those glass half-full, glass half-empty situations. None of those PFCs are of environmental concern at least, and the progress is in the right direction. Montane tend to cater for a specific user as opposed to creating garments that do everything for everyone.” Its 2.5 layer construction laminates a tough outer fabric onto the Gore-Tex membrane. Instead of using a third layer under that (as per 3L Gore Pro, for instance) the membrane is given a protective inner coating, which constitutes the nominal half layer. For Paclite Plus, Gore add another abrasion-resistant treatment that's designed to boost the fabric's durability. In practise this means it should be tougher than plain Paclite, though not as burly as Pro. The sleeves on lighter summer-oriented shells can be a bit narrow, but while the cuffs on the Pac Plus XT are not quite as generous as on a typical technical winter mountain shell, they're still sufficiently roomy to fit over insulated gloves (though can be a bit of a struggle with bulkier gauntlets). It's also possible to push the sleeves up over your forearms, an expedient I often seem to resort to in warmer conditions. A simple hook and loop tab gets the fit nice and close to your wrist when you don't want that volume. Less costly competitors are cheaper for a reason – they don’t match the specs, or promise Montane make.

Though it's described as helmet-compatible, I'd say the hood is too small to be a really successful match. While you can pull it over a helmet, comfort and mobility both become compromised when you then fully fasten the zip; head movement is restricted looking up or side to side, and the collar pulls too tight across the mouth and chin. Drop your zip below chin level and it's all freed - but of course you're not then fully sealed against the elements. I've used the hood with a helmet when winter mountaineering, so I'd concede it will just about do for an occasional such day, but if you're regularly climbing in the Pac Plus XT I suspect it'd get annoying. The cut is great, with a slim fit and excellent patterning that includes articulated arms for high reach movement – ideal for strenuous climbing or scrambling moves. Primarily designed as an outer shell, it’s best suited to use over a baselayer to provide weather protection and waterproofing. The twin hem drawcords can be tightened one handed, though as on the hood they are a bit more fiddly than the modern type built into the seam.

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