New packs and lightweight clothing from north east specialists Montane for next year.
Our latest spring 2013 preview from this year's OutDoor show in Germany is a quick look at what's new from Montane including an extended pack range and some neat-looking lightweight clothing.
Montane launched its first pack range this year and it's really rather good with a nice balance between slick design, light weight and all-round useability. In fact the Medusa 32 is one of our favourite current bits of kit. For 2013, the rage has been expanded with a further three models including a specialist climbing pack, a lightweight backpacking sac and a specialist mountain race number.
Torque 40 - £110
The Torque 40 is the new specialist climbing sac and it looks like a rougher, tougher, sleeker take on the Medusa 32. It's still not exactly heavy at a claimed 1325 grammes, but it incorporates a stiffened frame sheet to give more comfort and support when hauling ropes and hardware to the base of the crag - you can strip it down to 885g by removing the sheet and removable bivvy pad.
Otherwise it's all about light and tough with the tougher Raptor TL fabric doing the anti-abrasion gig in the main body, matched to the familiar Montane moulded Comfort Back Pad, removable hip-belt, simple compression system, lid with handy backwards-opening 'buddy pocket' and 'Dual Tool' ice axe attachment system which allows you to reverse the axes for alpine safety.
There's a single buckle closure which uses a quick-clip, Lid Locker-type alloy buckle for glove-friendly fastening and finally Montane's neat, pull-to-release chest-strap buckle. Looks gnarly but light.
Grand Tour 55 - £120
Strip the Grand Tour down to the bare bones and it tips the scales at just 1100g, but even at full fighting spec, it's till only 1290 grammes. As you've probably guessed, it's a multi-day, lightweight backpacking beastie with an internal frame teaming an alloy stave with an HDPE back plate to produce something called the 'VertErgo Tour' back system.
And while it's light thanks to minimal build and lightweight fabrics, it's not exactly poverty spec in feature terms, coming complete with lid - Buddy Pocket - and side stash pocket storage, hip-belt pockets, front strap water bottle mounts and more. Looks sleek and designed, it'll be interesting to see how well it carries.
Ultra Tour 22- £65
Final member of the new extended pack family is the Ultra Tour 22, a lightweight, fast-moving pack aimed at nutters who do fast-moving, ultra-distance races in particular or anyone who wants a nice light pack really. Weight is 545g thanks to lightweight but tough Raptor Zero fabric in the main body and a minimal roll-top closure, like a dry bag.
As you'd expect it's hydration system comptatible and equipped with a variety of stuff pockets, front bottle holders, gel pockets, hip-pockets and a compression system so you can tote pretty much anything you need for a full day out in various conditions.
It's got an interesting square profile too, a bit like a box-file with straps on, oh, and finally, you could also, if you're an intrepid mountaineer, also use it as a lightweight summit pack, while your big packs sits around in base camp catching some rays and doing the washing up.
Minimus Family Breeds
On the clothing front, the big news is that Montane has added to this year's lightweight, 2.5-layer Minimus Jacket with two new Minimus shells, again aimed at cutting weight to a minimusim, er, minimum.
Both use the familiar Pertex Shield + 2.5-layer fabric which we've found decently breathable and dependably waterproof with the original Minimus making it a good option to team with a soft shell.
Minimus Smock - £120
The Minimus Smock we showed you yesterday, is a pull-over style lightweight shell with a claimed weight of just 143g. It's made from 2.5-layer Pertex Shield + waterproof an breathable fabric and is cut neat and close, but also has a hood - no peak - and a central pocket which wll happily take a map.
Seams are micro-taped to cut weight even further and that peakless hood is designed to sit under a climbing helmet rather than over it. You also get articulated sleeves for easy movement and lycra-bound hem and cuffs again to save weight. Price will be £120 and at that sort of weight, you should be able to sling it in your pack and forget it's there till needed.
Minimus Mountain Jacket - £150
Last but not least, there's also the Minimus Mountain Jacket, which, you won't be massively surprised to learn, is a minimal mountain jacket. Same Pertex Shield + fabric, but with a full-length YKK Aqua Guard zip, chest pocket and twin map-compatible hand-warmer ones down below, plus a full helmet-compatible mountain hood up top.
So what does it weigh? Er, shuffles through notes and press kit, yeah, it's around 232g in the men's version and just 210g in the women's. Light enough to stow away while you climb in a technical soft shell then pull on when the heavens open.
Things We Don't Know Much About...
And that's basically it from Montane bar a lightweight, weather-resistant mountain shirt called the Mountain Star which has a hood, a zip and a fabric called Aeroflyte, that we don't know what it is. Plus the Trail Star, same fabric, no hood, aimed at trail runners. Both are decently light at 171g and 127g respectively. If only we'd paid more attention in show school eh...
More Montane info at www.montane.co.uk.