Montane Alpine Stretch (2015)

Features

The 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 wired peak. 5/5

Fit

The men’s version of the Montane Alpine Stretch is in size S-XXL and the women’s version is in size 8-16. The fit isn’t loose but it did allow me to wear a thin fleece underneath. There are Velcro cuff adjustment tabs and a hem drawcord, and I found these areas didn’t easily ride up. The helmet-compatible hood has a remarkably good fit that puts most soft shell jackets to shame. 5/5

Comfort

The Montane Alpine Stretch is ideal for a wide variety of conditions as you can wear insulation underneath or a waterproof over the top, and it is comfortable enough to wear all day thanks to its softness and breathability. It doesn’t have the high level of insulation or waterproofness, but that makes it a more flexible layering garment for hillwalkers. 5/5

In use

On the hill the Montane Alpine Stretch is great for walking, scrambling or mountaineering as it is comfortable, breathable and has four great pockets (two for women) so you can warm your hands and stash maps for easy access. The hood has a wired peak and a fit that make navigating across a wet and windy hillside a breeze. The only minor niggle is that other options are lighter. 5/5

Value

The price is good for what you’re getting as this is better suited to many hillwalkers than most jackets at any price. 4/5

Verdict

The Montane Alpine Stretch is one of the best soft shell jackets available for hillwalkers at any price. Others are lighter or warmer, if that is what you need. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine September 2015

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