Balancing weight and toughness, this streamlined yet fully-featured Montane Alpine Resolve is a great option for those who require maximum protection in the great outdoors but don’t want to carry or wear a bulky waterproof. In terms of fit and functionality, it’s as good as any other technical jacket we’ve tested, and deserves to be up there with the flagship shells from brands like Arc’teryx, Mountain Equipment and Rab as one of the best waterproofs on the market.
- Trim, streamlined fit
- Superb technical features
- Uses recycled fabrics
- Stiff fabric
- No stretch
The Montane Alpine Resolve is something a little different for Montane, a brand probably best known for their ‘fast and light’ outdoor gear, from minimalist packable shells to highly breathable trail running kit. New for 2021, this is the brand’s latest flagship waterproof, designed for technical alpine climbing and winter mountaineering.
Employing a mix of 40D and 80D recycled nylon fabrics to balance weight and durability without compromising on protection or environmental sustainability, it employs a Gore-Tex Pro membrane for class-leading waterproof-breathable performance. The jacket tips the scales at about 480g in a men’s medium – no featherweight then, but considering the standards of weather protection on offer here, still commendably weight-conscious.
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Gore-Tex Pro’s enviable waterproof-breathable specs (an estimated 28k HH and 25k MVTR, for those who need the numbers), plus the rugged fabric weights and the competitive gram count will doubtless already tick a few boxes among gear heads. But there’s even more to this jacket than what it delivers on paper.
The build quality and finish are also of extremely high quality, as is the fit and patterning. This largely overcomes the major limitation of Gore-Tex Pro (and most ePTFE membranes), which is the fabric’s lack of stretch. Admittedly, it doesn’t feel as soft and supple as some other WP/B fabrics on the market, but this doesn’t translate into inhibited movement thanks to clever 3D patterning that gives plenty of arm reach with minimal hem lift. The long arms and extended cuffs also provide plenty of coverage right down to the knuckles, while the scooped tail covers the rear. It all makes for a jacket that feels extremely protective, ready to do battle with the worst the weather can throw at you.
• RRP: $500 (US) / £360 (UK)
• Weight: Men's M: 480g
• Sizes: Men’s S-XXL Women’s UK 8-16 (US XS-XL)
• Waterproofing: >28,000mm HH
• Breathability: >25,000g/m²/24hrs MVTR
• Fabric: 3L Gore-Tex Pro (40 denier main body with a 100% recycled nylon face, 80 denier at shoulders, hips and elbows with a 100% recycled nylon face)
• Colors: Men’s Firefly Orange / Citrus Green / Slate / Orion Blue Women’s Black / Alpine Red / Saskatoon Berry / Wakame Green
In the field
The Montane Alpine Resolve is the sort of jacket that requires an elite climber to really test it to its limits, so bimbling around in Snowdonia hardly counts. Still, North Wales is known for springing the odd downpour or two – and more – on the unsuspecting hillwalker, and whilst being buffeted by winds in the wild and rugged Rhinogydd, we certainly felt thankful to have this shell as a first line of defence.
As part of a layering system, it’s a perfectly comfortable jacket, despite the audible rustle and swish that inevitably comes with Gore-Tex Pro. There’s no getting around the fact that it is a stiff fabric, which might annoy some users. On the other hand, it withstands wind buffeting well and the trim fit means no excess fabric to bunch or billow around.
The jacket’s many features perform exactly as you’d expect from a top-end technical shell. The cavernous hood easily accommodates a climbing helmet, whilst also cinching down tightly thanks to its effective three-point adjustment. The wired brim stays firmly in place, deflecting driving rain away from the face. Meanwhile, the main zip extends past the chin to the base of the nose, enabling you to really hunker down in the jacket. A soft chin guard prevents irritation.
The laminated, two-way main zip is backed with a storm flap and runs smoothly, while hand pockets are positioned high enough to avoid hip belts and harnesses. The outer chest pocket is similarly useful, and while the inner mesh stretch pocket isn’t huge, it’s still a good place to temporarily tuck your gloves. Dual tethered hem drawcords do their job without getting in the way, and the wide cuffs accommodate gloves and layers easily. Our sole reservation with the Velcro cuff tabs was that the hook and loop fixings are a little narrow, which may shave a few grams but comes at the cost of a super-solid closure.
The heavyweight 80-denier panels in the shoulders, hips and elbows ensure good durability and resistance from abrasion, whether caused by contact with rock or rubbing from a rucksack harness. The lighter 40-denier main body fabric makes for better breathability, maximising the performance benefits of that Gore-Tex Pro membrane. If you do need to dump any excess moisture build-up, two-way pit zips provide quick and effective ventilation, as well as cooling.
If this review seems to be an unending stream of praise, that’s because we’re struggling to give you many downsides to the Montane Alpine Resolve. Quite simply, this is one of the very best winter-ready Gore-Tex jackets on the market for mountaineering and hillwalking. With a UK RRP of £360, it isn’t cheap, but even that price point compares favourably to its key rivals, like the Mountain Equipment Lhotse (£400), the Rab Latok (£450) or the Arc’teryx Beta AR (£500).
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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