It’s not cheap, but the Montane Fireball is a high-performing, versatile mid layer jacket that’s perfect for spring adventures on the trails.
- Mid-layer warmth
- Fit can be small
Montane Fireball: first impressions
The Montane Fireball is a mid layer insulated jacket, which means you might typically wear it over a base layer and under a waterproof jacket. It also offers good warmth as a stand-alone jacket on warmer weather days if you are heading out on trails or into the hills.
It’s a useful jacket for trail runners and walkers, because you can stuff it into a small space in a pack and pull out when you need a bit of extra warmth, for example at higher altitude or when stopping for a breather or a bite to eat. So it’s right up with the best women’s down jackets and puffers that are padded yet packable.
Montane have created the jacket with recycled Clo Vivo Extreme Eco synthetic insulation with the aim of maximizing warmth and breathability yet still keeping the product lightweight. This insulation is made from 55% recycled products so it ticks the environmentally friendly box (see more of the best eco-friendly outdoor brands).
The insulation is also designed into the “under helmet” hood. This means you have a warm and insulated hood that can be useful whether you need to wear a helmet or not.
The outer and inner fabrics are a two-way stretch fabric. Montane calls this material Featherlite Air Nylon, which is aimed at giving a good level of additional breathability, as well as freedom of movement when running or hiking. The addition of a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment to the outer fabric provides protection against light rain but it will not be waterproof in heavier or consistent downpours. A full-length front zip with internal storm flap will keep out the wind and some light rain, too.
The design incorporates articulated arms so that you can reach higher without losing warmth at the wrists. Low-build elasticated cuffs keep down the weight of the jacket without compromising on usefulness. There are some useful extra features including two hand-warmer zipped pockets, an external zipped chest pocket and an adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord.
• RRP: $260 (US) / £200 (UK)
• Sizes: 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16
• Weight (UK10): 345g / 12oz
• Fill: 60g/m2 Clo Vivo Extreme Eco (55% recycled)
• Colors: Uluru Red / Black / Astro Blue
Montane Fireball: on the trails
I always have a lightweight mid layer insulated jacket in my walking and running pack, and the Montane Fireball has been a favorite to pack in recent months.
It offers a nice amount of warmth under a waterproof jacket, or on its own as an outer layer when the weather is warmer, or when I’m working hard and creating my own warmth.
I like the warmth-to-weight balance and the extra DWR treatment is a useful extra. Breathability is great.
The fit is fine. I am a UK10 and it is the right size for me. If you have wide shoulders or hips I suggest you go up a size.
The pockets and other details are what you would hope for in a straightforward and useful mid layer and I particularly like the hood, which fits snugly when pulled up and zipped. The zip pullers are also easy to use even when wearing winter thick gloves.
In terms of niggles, it would be useful if the chest pocket was large enough to fit an iPhone Max. (In fact, I am not sure it would be big enough for many of today’s smart phones.)
I think that £200 is a lot to pay for a lightweight insulated jacket but I expect I will wear this one for many years to come.
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors (opens in new tab).
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