Gear Review - Montane Extreme Smock Review
The Montane Extreme Smock is a Pertex and pile base layer, mid layer and outer layer all rolled into one, with excellent versatility for all cold weather outdoor sports. For skiing and climbing its sure not to ride up, and it is excellent at venting for high activity adventures.
I like to get out on my mountain bike throughout the winter, and head into the hills for long walks, and I was looking for a soft shell jacket, but the Montane Extreme Smock really caught my eye, as It had all the features to double up as a jacket for skiing. Most of the models I tried were a little restrictive for cycling although for walking they would have been fine. I didn’t really want to spend so much, but the biting cold in December proved just too much and I splashed out on one. It wasn’t cheap at a shade under £100, but I justified the cost by comparing it to an Icebreaker long sleeved base layer and a soft shell jacket and it seemed a bargain in comparison. I had seen them around in green and red, but I have never gone for the Army or Mountain Rescue look before, I didn’t feel like breaking with tradition. For me, the black was definitely the way to go.
First thing you notice when you put it on is the warmth. I would guess that for anyone who doesn’t really feel the cold, it’s a winter only jacket. It has always been a struggle for me to get the balance right with layers, as it takes me an age to get warmed up and then I overheat easily, especially when on the bike. The under arm vents are great for letting the heat out, and run right down the side of the jacket, with mesh inside the pockets to maximise breathability and temperature control. You can remove the waist strap which I did for cycling, but will put back for skiing, and the large pocket gives has plenty of room with a handy attachment loop for a lift pass.
The Montane Extreme Smock has some really cool features, which really does put it in a class of its own. There is no shortage of jackets of this type, but I do feel I have got more than what I paid for and it’s certain to see a lot of use. For skiing it’s great as I don’t have to layer up, and no matter what I wear it jackets always ride up, but the crotch strap and drop tail will be perfect. The hood is fantastic with great coverage, with a visor to keep the worse of the rain and snow out of the face and with a pair of skiing goggles nothing is getting in, and the glove attachments on the sleeves will be useful for someone like me.
The pockets are a little high and I did feel a little odd standing with my hands in them, but if you carry a pack it will mean you can get at your stuff without having to undo the waist strap, and if wearing a harness they are well placed, and it only takes one hand to open for quick venting and closure.
The Extreme Smock features an active cut to maximise movement with a drop tail to stop it riding up, which is great when on a bike. Pull down zips allow for one handed opening and closure, with mesh backing to maximise breathability and to keep good control over temperature. The side vents run from the armpits right down the sides with the Cross Vent system keeping the air moving. It has a DWR Beardguard lined collar for comfort, with a one handed adjustable hood using Velcro to fix it easily. The lining is DRYACTIV® 3000 Pile, which is warm even when wet, and uses PERTEX® 6 as outer layer. Its fully windproof with storm baffles, and it is a lot of jacket for only 860g (mine was a medium). The D loops on the sleeves are great for attaching gloves, the front pocket is generous and the crotch strap and greater versatility. It is sold in a small, medium, large & extra large
Rating - 4.5 stars. I love it for its warmth, practicality and for the range of movement it affords, and I can genuinely say kept me comfortable all day, it loses half a mark for the price, but for me it is worth every penny. For those who run hot, it’s a winter only option, but for the rest of us it is sure to see a lot more wear.
Review date - 21st February 2011 - Reviewed by SA