The Arete is noticeably very warm, making it suitable both for the coldest days and less strenuous winter walks. It’s pitched as a mid-layer replacement for your fleece, but it will need to be a fairly icy day for you to avoid being too warm if you’re wrapped in the Arete under a waterproof shell layer. The jacket feels well padded with insulation, especially around the collar, which helps to keep the wind out. As a functional item of clothing the Arete performs well, with an internal zip pocket and two zipped handwarmer pockets. This adds to the jacket’s bulk a little, but also boosts its practicality. Its construction also minimises down-leakage, with fewer feathers poking through the baffle stitching than with rival jackets. Overall, it wins because it manages to balance its light weight with durability, and the practicality of zip pockets.
Insulation: 675 90/10 pure down
Women’s version available: Yes
Contact: 0161 366 5020; www.mountain-equipment.co.uk