Mountain Equipment Winter 11

After a glorious september, we have now settled into a more familiar October/November weather pattern. It can no longer be denied that there is a need for waterproof and warm clothing so here are a few stand out pieces from the Mountain Equipment Winter 10/11 range.

Firefox Jacket

1. Firefox Jacket.
A recycled name but a completely new jacket made from the new Gore Active Shell fabric. The Firefox is one of the lightest and most breathable 3 layer membrane jackets out there. The Firefox does in fact have a lighter brother the Firelite, however the extra 50g (270g rather than 320g) makes the Firefox much more useful. I did not used to be a fan of pit zips but am slowly coming round to the idea, especially if you have a minimalist clothing system where you need to stretch the envelope of each garment. With the front zip mostly undone and the pit zips open a lot of body vapour is flushed out of the jacket as you move along and pump your arms, hampered by a pack but still effective. 2 proper chest pockets are also very useful for maps, food, GPS or gloves. An extra 50g or so for better pockets is well worth it, in just about all situations. A properly adjusting hood is the last item that I will gladly carry some extra grams for, ask anyone or has spent all morning walking into wind with a poor hood. Active Shell does not have enough durability for some, especially climbers, but for lightweight walkers, runners and ski tourers it’s a great piece.

Fitzroy Jacket

2. Fitzroy Jacket
The Fitzroy is a Primaloft One insulated belay jacket. The insulation is 100 g/m in the body and 60 g/m in the arms. The right balance between warm and packability for a Scottish and summer alpine belay jacket. Maybe not enough for winter alpine use but you can double up to the Citadel for ultimate warmth. The Fitzroy has a weather resistant Drilite Loft outer, which resists snow and wind but allows a reasonable amount of moisture to travel through the jacket from inside if wearing over the top of a shell at stances. The Fitzroy also does a great job of being an everyday winter jacket for domestic use. I’ve had one for years and despite looking scruffy it’s still working really well.

Womens Arete Jacket

3. Arete Jacket & Vest
Mountain Equipments first foray into narrow baffled down layering pieces has been very well received. The Womens Arete Jacket and Mens Arete Vest are just the thing for cool dry days and to turn your shell into a winter insulated shell if necessary. Narrow baffles are not only very popular style wise but are also very functional for layering garments as the smaller amounts of down used would migrate about too much with standard width baffles. Down works as a layering piece but is at it’s best when worn as an outer layer and it’s as some extra warmth on clear cold days that the Aretes come into their own.

Fang Jacket

4. Fang Jacket.
Many people are realising that since they always wear a warm layer under their shell in winter, they might as well get it built into their jacket. The added convenience of taking off both layers at once when being inside is preferable to the more versatile multi layer option. You can insulate any shell with a primaloft or down vest but the outer shell of the vest will inhibit the transportation of body vapour through your clothing so although more flexible this option does not perform quite as well. If you only have one shell then the vest is a great option but if you have 2 shells (and the other is a lightweight summer one) than the built in insulation makes sense. After all if you have 2 waterproof shells they will both last twice as long. The Fang is essentially a Pro Shell waterproof jacket with an primaloft vest built in. Add to that proper pack friendly pockets and a mountain hood compatible with climbing and skiing helmets and you have a very versatile winter jacket.

Fitzroy Pant

5. Fitroy Pants.
Following on from the success of the Fitzroy Jacket and Cirrus Pants we now have the Fitzroy Pant. A Primaloft insulated pant for those climbing and standing around in the cold. Not as durable or weatherproof as classic salopettes but much warmer and more breathable. The Fitzroy Pant is a designed as a light expedition piece where full down salopettes would be overkill and is perfectly suited to base camp treks and artic circle trips. The Fitzroy Pant is also ideal for those standing still for long periods of time in European winter conditions, not just climbers, but great for spectators.

Hooded Xero Jacket

6. Hooded Xero Jacket.
The addition of a hood to the Xero Down Jacket could hardly be called ground breaking but it has really improved the Xero. As this jacket was mainly used as a back up piece for alpine climbing and ski touring, the hood not only further insulates the head but also channels the warm air that used to flush out of the jacket collar around the head. For the extra weight of the hood you now have a significantly warmer jacket and of course, you don’t have to have the hood up! The Xero uses a very high quality of down (750 Lorch) with minimal stalk/feather ratio (7/93) for a very high warmth to weight ratio and amazing packability. No ski tourer should be without one.

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