Coming soon from ME for autumn 2009, soft shell, hard shell, fleece and some great gloves.
We've been telling you a lot about Spring
recently, but we've just been over to
see Mountain Equipment
for a quick look at what's new this autumn and will be in the shops in
September. And very nice it is too with a cracking new lightweight soft shell jacket
on the cards along with a completely revamped version of the
Shield Jacket -
lightweight soft shell top
ME' existing G2 Mountain Jacket is protective all right,
but a bit of a heavy, inflexible beast. The new Shield jacket aims to
be lighter and less restrictive. The main body areas are a lightweight
Gore Windstopper fabric which has been developed for legwear.
They're backed up with Polartec Powershield Lite side panels for
increased breathability without compromising protection. On top of
that, all seams are flatlocked for smoother internal surfaces and
better mobility and there's a proper, helmet-compatible Stealth hood.
The hood's lined with DriLite Loft water resistant fabric, so it's not
going to soak out if you find yourself spin-drifted with the hood down,
which is a neat touch. There's also an anti-wick strip at the base of
the drop-tailed rear.
A quick trial donning proved that the jacket feels feathery light and
very unrestrictive. We reckon it's a bit of a winner in the making and
it's already landed a European Award.
The hard figures are a weight of around 565 grammes
not inconsiderable price tag of £200
Bear in mind that this is a jacket that you should be able to use as a
proper shell thanks for the hood in particular rather than as a
glorified, weather-resistant mid-layer and it looks slightly more
reasonable. And it does look sleek in the flesh too.
G2 Ultimate Mountain Pant
Also effectively brand, spanking new is a completely
overhauled G2 Mountain Pant. The originals were great on really brutal
winter days and had a lovely, close-fitting cut, but the
thick Windstopper fabric made them feel very industrial.
The new version is cut along the same lines, but with more
sophisticated fit and articulation at the knees, but again, uses a new,
lighter and thinner Windstopper fabric developed specially for legwear,
which makes the pant lighter and more flexible feeling, though probably
not quite as indestructibly durable.
They should be more of a winter all-rounder than the previous version.
Features include slanted thigh vents, a lower leg and cuff design which
works better with ski-mountaineering boots including a built-in
asymmetric gaiter to clear buckles more easily. Removable, adjustable
braces come as standard.
There are kevlar-based Keprotec kick panels for crampon protection and
finally, the men's version comes in regular 31" and long 33" leg
incarnations and you get a colour choice of black or grey.
Price is £160
and we're really looking forward to trying these out this winter.
New Pulsar Soft Shell
The Astron Hooded soft shell jacket with its mix of
Powershield and Powerstretch was a bit of a leftfield hit last year and
one of our favourite ever bits of gear, essentially the new Pulsar
Jacket is a winter version.
It's a mix of Polartec High Loft Powershield on the body and
Powershield Light on the side panels. What's interesting is that
Polartec has played with the Powershield's PU membrane and by
sacrificing approximately 5% of its windproofing, have created a fabric
that they say is around 33% more breathable than before.
As Powershield was already reasonably breathable, that's quite
impressive. Otherwise it's a simple design with an helmet-compatible
Stealth hood and the same Ergonomic Cuffs with internal stretch cuffs
as the Shield.
Feels dead warm, possibly too warm if you run hot, and will retail for £220
Weight claimed is a chunky 710g.
Touchstone Jacket - Fleece
We reckon the Touchstone is spot on for anyone still
pining for the late, lamented Karrimor Alpiniste fleece. It's a
super-warm, luxurious-feeling, winter-weight jacket made from thick,
recycled Thermal Pro fleece, complete with ergo cuffs, thumb loops and
a grown-on hood along with a collar.
It's very warm, but should be ideal for end of day pottering about or
simply standing around gawping at the view in winter. Price will be £100
weight 645 grammes. Think of it as a winter version of the ME Shroud
fleece and you won't be far wrong.
Women's MRT Jacket
Following on from Mountain Equipment's Kongur MRT jacket
developed specifically for mountain rescue teams, there's now a women's
version with the same red and black colours, heavy duty fabrics, plague
of pockets and oodles of reflective strips.
Where the women's jacket is different, is that it's unique in the ME
women's range in having four big pockets and pit-zips, it's kind of a
mix of the Namba Parbat and the Jannu.
Only avalable to rescue teams at the moment, watch out for it on a hill
near you soon. ME is also developing a new MRT salopette and a soft
shell jacket also pitched specifically at rescuers.
Ulta and Diamir Pants
The Ulta is the blokes' version, while the Diamir is for
women, both are a simple all-round, Gre-Tex Pro Shell three-layer
overtrouser complete with full-length water-resistant zips, braces,
reinforced kick-strip, articulated knees and zip-crotch.
Triple zip-sliders mean you can zip or unzip the leg-zips for maximum
or minimum venting in whatever area suits you - thighs, calves or
both... Price is £200
weight for the Ulta a claimed 510 grammes.
New Gloves Too
Just to round things off, ME has also been working on its glove range
and one in particular stands out, the Cascade Xtrafit
It's a glove designed specifically for ice-climbing and features a new
Gore-Tex lining technology called Xtrafit.
The new waterproof liner is part stitched in and part bonded to the
glove and the bonding means that there's no slippage within the glove,
when, say, pulling up on an axe shaft because the liner can't move
relative to the glove outer, so it feels much more secure.
Also rather good is the Pittards Oiltac Leather palm - above - which
uses a rubberised polymer which is absorbed into the leather during the
tanning process and feels as sticky as a very sticky thing.
More dexterity and better grip. Sounds good to us. A sticky
snip at £80
Finally, there's a new stretchy mountain glove called the Mountain Stretch Glove
which teams a woven soft shell outer fabric with a waterproof Drilite
It has fibre pile lining, pre-curved fingers and thumb and a cow hide
leather palm. Should make a good, all-round winter glove. Price will be
All the items above available from September 2009 approximately.
Details of the current Mountain Equipment range at www.mountain-equipment.co.uk