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First test: Montane Fireball Verso (2015)

£100.00

Staying warm in the hills is relatively easy; but avoiding overheating and sweating is a tougher challenge. The problem with a lot of insulation is that it is not very breathable – so you stay warm, but you also get sweaty. This is particularly a problem when working hard in the hills, and particularly when moving fast. Silver Insulation Active ...

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Arc’teryx Epsilon LT Hoody (2015)

£130.00

FeaturesThe Arc’teryx Epsilon LT Hoody is a good all-rounder in terms of features, so you get a medium-weight fabric that offers medium level of insulation, wind and water resistance – potentially ideal for general hill and mountain use. There are two well-placed main pockets and a hood with face and volume adjustment. The 566g weight is reasonable too, so overall ...

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Black Diamond Dawn Patrol LT Shell (2015)

£250.00

FeaturesThe Black Diamond Dawn Patrol LT Shell is made for durability with Schoeller stretch woven nylon, which lacks a membrane so it is very breathable but resists wind. Nanosphere technology enhances its ability to shed water. The design has a hood with a stiffened peak, a chest pocket and two hip pockets that are a bit low for easy access ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Simond Alpine Softshell (2015)

£40.00

FeaturesSimond clothing is available through Decathlon and carries extremely impressive price tags. This jacket uses a stretch abrasion-resistant material with a water-repellent membrane inside. The brushed polyester finish on the inside provides some warmth and comfort. There are two main pockets plus a third smaller chest pocket. 4/5 FitAvailable in men’s S-XXL and women’s XS-XL, the fit is close and ...

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Berghaus Winter Valparola (2015)

£180.00

FeaturesGore Windstopper soft shell fabric makes the Berghaus Winter Valparola durable and very water-resistant with a micro-grid polyester lining for extra warmth, but the drawback is the weight of 774g. There are four chest pockets, however, plus pit zips for ventilation and a hood with a peak, so you’re really getting a lot of features. Definitely built for the mountains ...

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Montane Alpine Stretch (2015)

£100.00

FeaturesThe four-way stretch Chameleon3 is a polyester fabric without a membrane where the tight weave ensures it is very windproof and very breathable, though not quite as waterproof or as warm as some others. The men’s has four large pockets with superb ease of access, the women’s has only the two main pockets, but both have a hood with a ...

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Rab Ventus (2015)

£65.00

FeaturesThe Rab Ventus provides just a little more wind and water resistance than a fleece but lacks the insulation of one. It has two main pockets placed high on the body, plus a hood. There is hem drawcord to keep out draughts, while the cuffs are elasticated but there is no hood adjustment. It’s minimalist compared to most soft shells ...

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Rab Torque (2015)

£130.00

FeaturesMatrix Double Weave Stretch (Matrix DWS) fabric is used to make the Rab Torque very breathable as there is no membrane; also it’s very durable, with hood and elbow reinforcement. The hood is helmet-compatible and has a wired peak. The weight of 488g (size L) is great, but you only get two Napoleon chest pockets. Rab’s Sawtooth jacket (£100) has ...

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Montane Tigertooth Pro (2015)

£250.00

FeaturesThe main fabric used in the Montane Tigertooth Pro is Polartec Power Shield, which has a membrane sandwiched between the outer and inner layers, making it more water- and wind-resistant. The outer is very abrasion-resistant while the inner is a very thick fibre pile layer. You also get four main pockets with great access and a hood with a wired ...

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Páramo Bora Hoodie (2015)

£100.00

FeaturesOver-the-head smock designs such as the Páramo Bora Hoodie do have real advantages, as they allow a large chest pocket to remain easily accessible while wearing a rucksack. Here you also get a hood and a third small chest pocket. There’s also a lot you don’t get though, including adjustment on the hood, a long zip for ventilation and no ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sprayway Cerberus (2015)

£75.00

FeaturesThe Sprayway Cerberus has instant hill appeal, thanks to a hood and two large pockets on the chest with easy access even when wearing a rucksack with a wide hipbelt. The front zip is full-length and gets a baffle on the inside to block draughts while the top of the zip is protected to prevent chin scrape. Thumb loops are ...

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Mountain Equipment Shroud (2015)

£80.00

FeaturesThe Mountain Equipment Shroud has been a favourite of mine thanks to its combination of a hood and two large chest pockets that can be easily accessed while wearing a pack with a wide hipbelt. It has thumb loops and a hem drawcord, and the front zip has a baffle inside to keep draughts out as well as a chin ...

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Mountain Equipment Scorpion (2015)

£135.00

FeaturesI would always choose a fleece with a hood, but if you don’t want one then the Mountain Equipment Scorpion is the best option around. It has two large main pockets that can be accessed while wearing a rucksack, plus a third smaller chest pocket for GPS receiver, guidebook or compass. There is also added abrasion resistance in key areas ...

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Rab Shadow Hoodie (2015)

£140.00

FeaturesThe Rab Shadow Hoodie has almost everything you could dream of with its hood, two huge chest pockets and highly abrasion-resistant material. There is no external third smaller chest pocket, but you do get an inside chest pocket which is very large and could be used for compass, GPS receiver or phone. The drawback is all that extra weight if ...

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Mammut Eiswand Tech (2015)

£175.00

FeaturesThis jacket from Mammut’s Eiger range is designed for alpinism and climbing, but it also works really well as a hillwalking and scrambling fleece thanks to its ‘alpinist’ features. So you get two large chest pockets, a hood and a close fit to allow active movement without riding up. There is no third chest pocket, though, which is a surprise ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Montane Chonus (2015)

£280.00

FeaturesThe down is held in box wall construction throughout, which means there are no cold spots as found on most jackets at this price, which are generally stitched-through designs. The 800+ fill power 90/10 down is certified not live plucked, but it isn’t water-resistant. You do get a helmet-compatible hood with a stiffened peak though. 4/5 FitThe men’s Montane Chonus ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Montane North Star (2015)

£240.00

Features The outer shell is more water-resistant than most, which is good as the down used does not have the water-resistant treatment some jackets offer. The hood gets volume adjustment, face drawcords and stiffened peak, and can be rolled down and secured at the collar. The cuffs have tab adjusters. All that for 565g (size L) is impressive. 4/5 FitThe ...

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Berghaus Ramche (2015)

£340.00

FeaturesThe big story is the 850+ fill power 90/10 hydrophobic down, which maintains its performance when wet better than standard down. You also get Pertex Quantum GL outer fabric to keep the weight down to a very acceptable 516g (size L). The helmet-compatible hood has face drawcords and a wired peak while the two pockets get zips. 5/5 FitThe Berghaus ...

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Mountain Equipment Lumin (2015)

£200.00

FeaturesThis jacket uses water-resistant 675+ fill power 90/10 down, production of which is audited via Mountain Equipment’s Down Codex scheme to ensure it does not include live plucking. The outer is a lightweight ripstop nylon. The hood gets a wired peak, volume adjuster and face drawcords, and it can be rolled down and secured at the collar. 5/5 FitThe Mountain ...

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Rab Infinity Endurance (2015)

£285.00

FeaturesInsulation is provided by Nikwax Hydrophobic Down with a fill power of 850+ while the outer is a Pertex Quantum GL ripstop nylon, and this ensures the jacket offers a very good level of insulation but is also very light for its performance. There are three pockets and the hood gets a wired peak, with the lack of cuff adjustment ...

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Rohan Nightfall (2015)

£245.00

FeaturesThe insulation is a hydrophobic down that absorbs 30% less water than normal down and dries 60% faster. The down is 800+ fill power and is made of 95% down and just 5% feather, which all adds to the warmth of this jacket for the minimal weight. The hood is also removable but the peak isn’t stiffened or wired; however ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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First test: Fjällräven Keb Loft Jacket (2014)

£195.00

When the thermometer goes negative, down insulation is what most of us turn to. But down loses some of its insulating performance when wet, making it less than ideal for the UK; and it’s pricy. Recently, outdoor brands have tried to make synthetic insulation as efficient as down, and the latest attempt comes from Fjällräven. G-Loft Supreme is a synthetic ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rab Xenon X Hoodie (2014)

£140.00

FeaturesThe Rab Xenon X Hoodie’s two main pockets and a chest pocket are all map-sized and have zips, although if you wear this with a rucksack you do lose some access to the lower pockets. The hood is elasticated around the face with no drawcords at all, while the cuffs have no adjustment and are simply elasticated. 4/5 FitThere is ...

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Berghaus Capucin (2014)

£160.00

FeaturesThere are a lot of nice touches here, but some annoying elements too. The hood has face drawcords, but no volume adjustment at the back. The three pockets on the outside are placed reasonably well for access with a rucksack on, but they aren’t quite big enough for an OS map. The cuffs get internal elastication, though, which is neatly ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Aclima Warmwool Hoodie (2014)

£80.00

FeaturesThis oddball from Norwegian wool specialists Aclima can be worn as a crew, a polo neck or sporting a full hood, making it ideal for a range of cold conditions. You also get a tunnel pocket and thumb loops so – while it looks a bit Flash Gordon – you’re getting great value here. A women’s fit is available. 5/5 FabricThe ...

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