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 is PrimaLoft’s latest innovation, and it promises the highest level of breathability within the PrimaLoft range while maintaining high insulation. The insulation’s construction allows excess heat and moisture to escape, while each fibre is also processed in a way that prevents migration through fabrics – so you can use more breathable fabrics on the inside and the outside of the insulation.
The Montane Fireball Verso is one of the first products in the UK to incorporate PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Active, and at just £100 it is potentially an ideal product to have on your back or in your pack all year round.
The jacket is a reversible pull-on design with a focus on users looking for insulation while doing ‘fast and light’ mountain activities including mountain marathons. But like all fast and light gear it’s also potentially ideal for any hillwalker or backpacker who just doesn’t want to carry loads of kit.
It weighs in at just 237g (size M) and packs down into its single chest pocket to the size of a 750ml water bottle, so it easily fits in the pocket of a rucksack. The black outer is made from Pertex Quantum to shed water and wind, while the blue inner is a more air-permeable Hypervent fabric for greater breathability.
Features are pretty limited, to maintain breathability as well as reduce weight and bulk. So there is no hood, just a collar with a zipped neck. The hem and cuffs are elasticated, but there are no drawcords at the hem, although you do get thumb loops to lock in heat. There is just one small chest pocket, which will accommodate a GPS or compass.
The Montane Fireball Verso is pretty close-fitting, so I wore it over a base layer or two rather than anything thicker. This snugness makes it better for fast movement without it flapping around, and ensures it traps air more easily. Movement in the sleeves is superb, without a hint of the hem of cuffs moving up, while the elasticated hem and cuffs fit neatly enough to block draughts.
Insulation-wise it takes the edge off cold, but for sitting around a tent, say, you’ll benefit from warmer PrimaLoft/Montane products. As something light you can throw on while moving fast or for summer insulation when hillwalking, though, this is a great option.
Fabric outer Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon
Fabric inner Hypervent nylon
Insulation PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Active
Sizes S-XXL (unisex)
Weight 237g (M)
PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Active provides more breathable insulation and when incorporated into the Montane Fireball Verso you get a lightweight and comfortable jacket that is great for throwing on when moving fast and light. Hillwalkers may benefit from other jackets when moving slower in winter, or if they just want something for enjoying a brew on the summit or around camp; but this would be a good addition to a milder-weather kit list.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2015