I recently tested the Mountain Equipment Microtherm Alpine Jacket on a trip to the Alps this summer, and wore it on several routes. I was using it as the midlayer in my layering system which I think worked really well – usually I wear a thin micro fleece as my midlayer on summer alpine routes and I have to say I was a bit sceptical about changing this as my old system has been very much tried and tested. However I was really impressed with the Microtherm Alpine Jacket – the first route I wore it on was the Traverse of the Bouquetins a committing long alpine ridge – I actually kept it on the whole duration of the route, layering it over just a thermal top.
On the approach, even when slogging uphill, the jacket wicked my sweat efficiently so when the wind hit us at the col at the start of the route I didn’t get that instant chill from being sweaty. The advantage of the Microtherm Alpine Jacket over my old micro fleece asserted itself once the wind started too, it has an He30 shell – thin and lightweight – but it keeps the wind off remarkable effectively. Later on in the day the weather really turned, it started to snow, and the He30 shell shed light snow for about 2 hours without it soaking through; although once the snow picked up I had to put on my waterproof. On the descent from the Bouquetins we went below the snow line and it started to rain; I had taken my waterproof off by this point so had the Microtherm Alpine Jacket as my outer layer. I discovered it did not shed the rain; rain soaked into it quite quickly, so I put my waterproof back on.
Having tested this jacket on a few other alpine routes, and cragging in the UK, the views I formed on the Bouquetins have been pretty much confirmed. The Mountain Equipment Microtherm Alpine Jacket is a brilliant windproof layer, with a similar amount of insulation to a micro fleece or powerstretch top; which means it is my midlayer of choice for climbing in temperate conditions.