MON­TANE ATOMIC £125

The low price and light weight make the Atomic in­stantly ap­peal­ing, but how does it com­pare to higher-priced and heav­ier al­ter­na­tives?

Trail (UK) - - GEAR - Tester Gra­ham Thomp­son

■ Ma­te­ria● 2.5-layer Per­tex Shield ■ Me■’s S-XL

■ Wome■’s 8-16

■ Weight 331g (L) IT'S GOOD

This light jacket packs down small, so you’ll hardly no­tice it in your ruck­sack. The weight sav­ing comes from the use of 2.5-layer Per­tex Shield fab­ric, and there’s no in­ner layer, just a printed sur­face to man­age con­den­sa­tion. The fab­ric is quite thin and sup­ple too. This all adds up to this be­ing very com­fort­able.

The sleeves don’t ride up badly when scram­bling and the hood has good face draw­cords and rear vol­ume draw­cord ad­just­ment, so it was easy to see even as I moved my head around to look for good holds dur­ing scram­bles.

The two main pock­ets are well placed to al­low ac­cess while wear­ing a ruck­sack, and both are large enough for a map too. These pock­ets are lined with mesh, which im­proves con­den­sa­tion con­trol by al­low­ing a means of adding air­flow, while a pair of pit zips add fur­ther vent­ing. So in many ways there is lots to like here and for gen­eral walk­ing in warmer wet weather this is a su­perb choice.

HOW­EVER

Prob­lems start to show them­selves when you re­ally chal­lenge the ma­te­rial. Firstly this jacket is not as stiff as oth­ers and the fit is slightly closer than some, so in the wind it feels a bit chilly. Also as it is only a 2.5-layer fab­ric con­den­sa­tion de­vel­ops eas­ier than the 3-layer fab­rics, so did get pretty clammy once I over­heated.

Those mesh pock­ets also al­low wa­ter to pass right through the jacket, mean­ing I had to keep them closed prop­erly dur­ing the gill scram­ble – not a prob­lem you’d get with sealed pock­ets.

Other jack­ets also have a use­ful third pocket for a guide­book or phone, but here you have just two. Of course all these small draw­backs could be re­duced by adding fea­tures that would in­crease both the weight and the cost, so you need to de­cide if weight or com­fort is your pri­or­ity be­fore part­ing with your money.

VER­DICT

The weight and price are great, and the de­sign is ideal for milder con­di­tions, but in re­ally wet and windy moun­tain con­di­tions you may pre­fer dif­fer­ent fea­tures.

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