Super comfortable to wear thanks to the Polartec Thermal Pro fabric’s soft handle, the Montane Viper fleece is nevertheless a technical layer that puts performance first, balancing warmth with good wicking ability.
- Super soft fabric for superb comfort
- Balances warmth and wicking ability
- Elastic-bound hood
- Full zip with inner baffle
- Only one zipped pocket
- Lacks thumb loops
The Montane Viper hoodie is a midweight stretch fleece made from Polartec Thermal Pro fabric. It is a polyester blend, which offers the proven performance of a synthetic fabric in terms of being quick-drying, with good warmth for weight. There is some elastane content too to provide added flexibility, which aids comfort and articulation, especially when climbing or scrambling.
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Unusually, however, the fabric also contains soft Lyocell yarns – a sustainable alternative to cotton that is made from plant fibres. It is more absorbent and faster-drying than cotton, but just as soft when worn close to the skin. It is ideal for a trim-fitting midlayer such as this. Other details similarly aid comfort, like the micro-flatlocked sewn seams throughout, the snug lycra bound hood and cuffs as well as the brushed microfleece lined hand pockets. It all adds up to create a technical layer that feels more like a favourite casual fleece.
• RRP: £80 (UK)
• Fabric: Polartec Thermal Pro (80% polyester, 12% lyocell, 8% elastane)
• Sizes: Men's: S–XXL; Women's: UK 8–16
• Weight (men’s size L): 358g/12.62oz
• Colours: Men’s: Shadow / Redwood / Inca Gold / Narwhal blue; Women’s: Blue ridge / Shadow / Redwood / Inca Gold / Narwhal blue
In the field
There’s lots to like about the Montane Viper fleece, and our favourable initial impression was confirmed when we tested it in Snowdonia, heading out for various summit-bagging trips and low-key bouldering sessions. It looks great and feels even better, thanks to an attractive heather finish in the fabric, and the unusual blend of fibres that make this hoodie feel not just soft and comfortable, but positively luxurious – not a word we normally associate with technical mid layers. It fits great, making it ideal for active wear.
The midweight fabric offers more warmth than a microgrid fleece, but has a similarly trim-fitting profile, with only marginally reduced breathability. It excels in chilly conditions when worn over a wicking base layer and underneath a shell if it’s wet out, or beneath a puffer in cool but dry conditions. The only things we missed were the lack of thumb loops at the cuffs and a dearth of zipped pockets to stick bits and pieces in. There is a single concealed zipped stash pocket, which is great for a phone, but then you run out of places to store car keys, wallet (and, in these Covid-afflicted times, a mask).
On the other hand, Montane Viper fleece has added a couple of good features that other fleeces lack – namely, a full-length baffle behind the main zip, which aids comfort, and a hanging loop at the collar, which adds practicality (especially if you’ve got a little sweaty and need to let your fleece dry out somewhere warm).
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