Fast and light highlighs plus the new pack range from Montane this spring.
We've already run a quick preview of the Montane autumn 2012 highlights, but the spring/summer 2012 range is available right now and includes some really handy-looking kit including a new four-strong pack range.
New Packs - Cobra 25
We've been super impressed with the new Medusa 32 lightweight mountain all-rounder - see our review - but there are three other bags in the range as well, the Cobra 25, Anaconda 18 and the wee Batpack 6 lumbar pack/bum-bag.
All three share the Medusa's high spec Raptor TL fabric - '500D material with the strength of a normal 1000D one' says Montane's Paul Cosgrove - and neat features and detailing, but the one that really stands out as an all-round summer mountain option is the Cobra 25.
With a claimed weight of just 819g it's light as, but it's also very well specced with reinforced base, dual ice-tool loops, side stash pockets and compression straps and a shell clothing-friendly back system using non-abrasive fabrics to save wear on your clothing.
Unlike the Medusa it uses a zipped panel opening with top and side access, but it still features the neat 'Buddy Pocket' idea that lets your mate access your lid pocket contents without messing with your hair / ears / sanity. If it's as good as the Medusa, it should be spot on. In the shops now at £70.
Faithful Black Bag...
It might have a bit of a bin-liner vibe going on with the glossy finish to the ultra-lightweight Pertex Quantum GL Smock, but you're looking at a sub-80g windproof smock with a pocket no less, a snorkel hood and reflective trim. Packs tiny as well making it ideal for runners, racers and anyone else with space and weight issues.
It joins its even lighter brother the Slipstream GL Jacket, which is around 65g, but makes do without either a pocket or a hood, so for an extra 15g, you're getting a fair bit of extra useability.
New Atomic Jacket
Also new for spring 2012 is the Atomic Jacket. It's a lightweight - 325 gramme - waterproof shell made from Pertex Shield 2.5-layer fabric with a price tag of £100. It's close-fitting and neatly cut with venting pockets and a full storm-flap on the main zip and, if you want to use it for climbing, you'll be glad to know that it also has a full, helmet-compatible hood.
The fabric used isn't as breathable as the eVent used by Montane for their top-end waterproofs with a hydrostatic head of 10 metres and MVTR rate of 7,000, but it has a nylon face for durability and should work well as a multi-use stash until needed, mountain rain shell.
With the launch of Gore-Tex Active Shell and Polartec's NeoShell, eVent's been slightly overlooked recently, but it's still up there with the very best performing waterproof breathable fabrics and it's what Montane uses for its top-end waterproofs.
The Air Jacket isn't new, but it's one of the lightest eVent shells out there with a claimed weight of just 310 grammes and a minimal pack size. The hood takes a climbing helmet and is fully adjustable with a wired peak and the design is reassuringly streamlined.
There's just one big, map-compatible, mesh-lined chest pocket making it an ideal choice for anyone who doesn't feel the need for a multi-pack selection of pocketing solutions and obviously also helps to keep the weight, bulk and complexity down.
Should be a good, minimalist, multi-activity, shell jacket in the classic Montane fast and light mould. Price is £230.
Last but not least, there are two Sonic T-Shirts, lightweight, high-wicking, summer-friendly designs made from DRYACTIVE Express polyester fabric with the permanent Polygene anti-pong treatment.
They're cut slim and technical and have flat-locked seams throughout. Two versions: the Sonic T-Shirt which is a straightforward, round-neck tee with a price of £30. And the Sonic Ultra which is zip-neck version with a quarter-length venting zip and a low-rise collar for comfort.
Disappointingly, the Sonic Ultra wasn't the Super Sonic. We call that a missed opportunity, unless there's a Super Sonic on the way?
Obviously there's a lot more to the range and you can find full details at www.montane.co.uk.