Montane Fury Fleece Jacket review: a stylish, superstretchy top for intense outdoor activities

The trim-fitting Montane Fury Fleece’s fantastic stretch and breathability make it ideal for energetic outdoor activities – but is it a fleece or a softshell?

Montane Fury Fleece Jacket
(Image: © Pat Kinsella)

Advnture Verdict

A versatile and handsome top that sits somewhere between a fleece and a softshell, the Fury performs well as an outer layer or beneath a shell, especially during high intensity outdoor activities such as climbing, scrambling, skiing and fastpacking, where its superior stretchiness and ability to wick moisture away really shine. There are several styles to choose from – it’s just a shame that the clever material mix doesn’t include some recycled fabrics.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent four-way stretch

  • +

    Highly breathable

  • +

    High neck

  • +

    Smooth feel

  • +

    Full zip

  • +

    Zipped pockets

Cons

  • -

    No thumb hoops

  • -

    No recycled content

  • -

    Limited colors

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Meet the reviewer

best fleece jackets: Artilect Halfmoon Bio Pullover
Pat Kinsella

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 Fury Fleece: first impressions

The Montane Fury Fleece Jacket is available in various versions, including a good-looking hoody ($145 / £120) and a pull-on ($125 / £95) with a quarter-length zip, but I’ve been testing the full-zip Fury with no hood. Personally, I quite like a mid layer without a hood, a feature I find often simply gets in the way or sticks out the top of an outer shell and gets wet in the rain, but it’s a subjective thing, and it’s nice to have a choice.

Specifications

• List price: $130 (US) / £100 (UK)
• Fabric: Polyester (51%), Nylon (39%), Elastane (10%)
• Gender availability: Full-zip version only available for men
• Sizes: S-XXL
• Weight (large):
340g /12oz
• Colors: Black / Oak Green
• Best for: Walking, hiking, trekking, scrambling, climbing, snow sports

The full-zip, sans-hood Fury is only available for men (and only in two colors), but the other styles come in both men’s and women’s versions, and in a wider range of hues (some a lot more vibrant than Oak Green and Black). The pull-on Fury is marginally cheaper than the full-zip and hooded version, and features an additional pocket on the chest; overall this is arguably the best style when you’re out on the trails and at the crag (other than making it marginally easier to put on and take off, I can’t see any enormous benefits to having a full-length zip – but again, it’s a personal preference). 

The first thing to note about this family of fleeces – new from Montane this season – is that they boast a huge amount of stretch. The four-way flex in the dynamic ‘Thermo Stretch’ fabric means you can wear these tops for all sorts of high-energy activities in the outdoors – from hiking, biking, hill walking and fastpacking through to ski touring, scrambling and rock climbing – without your movement being impeded at all. The design and mixture of materials used in the construction of this garment also equip all of these tops with excellent breathability and superb moisture management capabilities. 

So far, so good, but is the Fury really a fleece jacket at all? The answer to that depends on how strict your definition is of what counts as a real fleece. While the Fury has a brushed-back polyester inner, the smooth-finish nylon outer gives it more of a softshell finish than a traditional fleece. This in itself isn’t a negative, but unlike most fleeces, there doesn’t appear to be any recycled material content in the Fury, which makes me a tad furious (there’s no excuse for brands not to be using recycled polyester these days – so Montane need to up their game). 

Montane Fury Fleece: on the trails

Montane Fury Fleece Jacket

The Montane Fury Fleece Jacket’s high neck, which is also gently elasticated, keeps chilly breezes at bay (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

I’ve been walking, hiking and cycling in the full-zip Fury fleece top for the past month, in the hills, woods, wilds and wetlands of Devon, during a soggy December and a suddenly freezing January. And I have to say, as disappointing as the lack of recycled material is, as a technical garment it performs really well. 

The brushed-back polyester inner has a warm next-to-skin feel (complemented by comfortable low-profile seams) and being hydrophobic it directs moisture away from your body very effectively. Meanwhile the denser hydrophilic nylon outer dissipates the dampness, which ultimately evaporates. Furthermore, the density of the outer finish makes it more windproof than fluffier fleeces, and also means it should be a bit more durable and less prone to piling (time will tell). 

Montane Fury Fleece Jacket

As a midweight top the Montane Fury Fleece doesn’t supply a huge amount of warmth, but it’s designed for active use rather than standing around (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

With its excellent stretchiness and advanced breathability, the Fury works as a good-looking outer layer in dry weather, fending off windchill and dealing with sweat and moisture that builds up on the inside when you’re working hard in the outdoors, climbing hills and powering around trails.

A midweight top, it doesn’t supply a huge amount of warmth, but it’s definitely designed for active use, not for standing around in cold campsites – just be aware that if you’re wearing it while climbing in late fall, winter or early spring, by the time you’re on belay in the shade, you might need another layer. On the upside, being made entirely from synthetics it will continue to provide some warmth even when wet.

That said, it’s not rain repellent and works much better when dry, so in wet weather you will need to wear a good waterproof shell layer on top. The body-hugging, performance-orientated fit means it works well as a mid layer – albeit one with modest thermal properties. Unfortunately the Fury lacks thumb loops, but the cuffs are elasticated, so they don’t easily ride up your arms when you pull on an overlayer.

Montane Fury Fleece Jacket

While the Montane Fury Fleece Jacket has a brushed-back polyester inner, the smooth-finish nylon outer gives it more of a softshell finish (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

The high neck, which is also gently elasticated, keeps chilly breezes at bay, and the back panel does extend down over the top of your bum, but not quite as much as some other fleeces – another inch or two would be preferable to really keep drafts out and to stop the top riding up when you’re wearing a backpack.

There are two zipped hand pockets on all the Fury tops, but only the pull-on version has the chest pocket; it would have been a welcome addition to the full-zip and hooded iterations of the top in my opinion.

The Montane Fury Top is a relatively expensive garment in fleece terms, but it’s cheaper than many softshells. The design is decent, though, and the material and components, including YKK reverse coil zips, are excellent quality, and I think these tops will last for many years of active service (although, if you’re regularly wearing one while working up a sweat ascending peaks and charging along trails, some odor buildup might occur around the pits, because there’s no evidence of microbial treatment in the materials).

Montane Fury Fleece Jacket

Sadly, no recycled material has been used in the making of this garment (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Pat Kinsella

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.