A very competitively priced, ultra-warm hooded down jacket made with recycled materials, which will keep you toasty in even the coldest conditions. The design is smart, the features – especially the head and face protection – are well thought through, and it comes with its own stuff sack.
Excellent eco creds
Great hood and high front zip
Comes with a stuff sack
No thumb hooks
Slightly strange aroma when new
You can trust Advnture
Meet the reviewer
Pat has hiked all over the world, his adventures taking him to Mont Blanc, the roof of Western Europe; the Norwegian Alps; the highest peaks on Australia; and New Zealand’s Great Walks – among others. He’s an experienced tester of hiking footwear and gives each pair a thorough thrashing before reviewing.
Montane Anti-Freeze XT hoodie: first impressions
I have no idea why Montane labels this garment as a “hoodie”, because the Montane Anti-Freeze XT is quite clearly a big-arse chunky down puffer, and an excellent one too – so why not call it that? On their website it’s described as a “packable hooded down jacket”, which is a bit closer to the mark, but I still think they’re underselling it – although, it’s quite refreshing to see a brand under promising and over delivering for a change, so I should probably applaud Montane rather than moan.
• List price: $365 (US) / £280 (UK)
• Weight: Men’s: 460g / 16.3oz; Women’s: 420g / 14.8oz
• Fill: 90/10 water-resistant, fluorocarbon-free, HyperDRY down at 750+ fill power (RDS- and Track my Down-certified)
• Shell: Recycled nylon rip-stop
• Sizes: S-XXL
• Colors: Men’s: Flame Orange / Slate / Eclipse Blue / Alder Green / Black; Women’s: Dark Wake Green / Eclipse Blue / Saffron Red / Black
So, in brief, what we have here is a thick puffer jacket, intended for cold-weather winter use in woodlands and on hillsides, or for wearing while you’re mountaineering in the high peaks. The water-resistant, fluorocarbon-free, RDS-certified HyperDRY down has excellent loft and is kept in place by well-designed baffling to offer incredible insulation when the temperatures tumble. The Pertex Quantum Eco outer shell fabric is made from recycled nylon, treated with PFC-free DWR (durable water resistance), and the rip-stop construction promises to make it reasonably robust.
It’s available for men and women in black and a range of bold colors, including some brand new hues such as the striking ‘Flame Orange’ number I’ve been busy testing.
So far so good – the Montane Anti-Freeze XT Hoodie looks the business and it has clearly been made with sustainability and longevity in mind. But how does it stack up against the best down jackets and synthetic puffers on the market? I took it out into the cold to find out.
Montane Anti-Freeze XT hoodie: in the hills
Happily, my trialing window for the Montane Anti-Freeze XT Hoodie coincided with a cold snap in my neck of the woods that saw temperatures plummet well below zero for multiple days in a row, so I was able to get out into the white-frosted hills and give the jacket a thorough trail test in exactly the kind of conditions it was designed to perform in.
Even more happily, I didn’t freeze my bits off in the process, because the jacket kept me completely and comfortably warm even when the mercury was edging south, past -5°C. The lofty recycled down this coat is stuffed full of offers great thermal protection, and the windproof and rain-resistant outer proved capable of keeping light showers at bay. The nylon ripstop shell is reasonably tough, but you do, of course, need to be careful around sharp objects, including thorny bushes and trees.
The hydrophobic HyperDRY down used in this jacket retains its loft – and therefore its thermal properties – even in damp conditions. However, it’s still preferable not to get the fill wet, and the Anti-Freeze XT Hoodie is not waterproof (and doesn’t claim to be) so you will need to pull a proper rain jacket on over the top in the event of a real downpour.
It is really chunky when worn as a mid layer, though, requiring an extra generous-sized outer shell to fit over the top of it, though annoyingly the Anti-Freeze XT jacket lacks the thumb loops that would make putting on an extra layer a lot easier. It’s a minor quibble, but it would have been an easy addition, and hoops would help ensure the sleeves didn’t ride even when you’re wearing this jacket as an outer layer, with gloves on, which would be useful.
The lid on the Montane Anti-Freeze XT Hoodie is really good, providing a toasty and comfortable cocoon for your head during shivery escapades, and it can be tightened (so it stays firmly in place in windy weather) with an easy-to-use toggle at the back of your bonce. The main zip comes right up to your nose, completing the considerable face protection (in really challenging conditions, when you’re walking into the howling wind and horizontal rain/snow, you can go full ninja, with just your eyes showing). The thoughtful inclusion of soft material around the chin and neck ensures lovely next-to-skin comfort when you have this ensemble pulled tight around your face.
There are two hand pockets on the jacket, both with zips, but no chest pocket or inner pocket (which is standard on a puffer). All zips feature pull cords to make them easy to operate with hiking gloves on.
The Anti-Freeze XT jacket comes with it’s own stuff sack, making it easy to pack and carry when you’re not using it (although we urge you not to store it scrunched up in this sack for long periods in between outings – and certainly not for the whole seven or eight months when you’re not going to need the kind of heat this jacket supplies – to avoid damaging the down). Good winter coats are a serious investment (although this is one is very reasonably priced in comparative terms, for the level of performance it offers), so check out our guide on how to keep your down jacket in top condition.
Aside from the lack of thumb loops, our only real grumble about this jacket is that it has a slightly odd smell to it when new (we’re not quite sure if this comes from the down or the DWR treatment, but hopefully it will wear off).
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.