The first thing that’s apparent about the Mountain Equipment Orion Vest is its rugged durability. The fabric is EXOlite II, which is hard-wearing as well as having four-way stretch for freedom of movement. It was one of the most water-resistant gilets in our test, and would certainly see off intermittent showers on the hill, as well as providing a breathable windproof layer.
The cut is longer than most of the other gilets we looked at, and the scooped tail allows extra protection over the backside, but our size Medium tester found the fit on the skinny side – bad news if you have any extra baggage (such as a beer belly) to conceal!
The stretch fabric lends itself to unrestricted movement and the hip pockets can be accessed while wearing a harness, which is good for climbers, scramblers and those using the hipbelt on a rucksack.
Other gilets deliver greater insulation per gram than the EXOlite II, but the Mountain Equipment Orion Vest performs well as a robust, windproof soft shell.
Size S-XXL (men’s); 8-16 (women’s)
Weight 330g (size M)
Outer fabric EXOlite II
Water resistance high
Wind resistance high
The Mountain Equipment Orion Vest is best if you want a windproof gilet.
First published in Trail magazine September 2011