Scoop look at the new Mountain Equipment kit due out late summer, 2012.
Following on from last week's look at what's new from Mountain Equipment for this spring, 2012, we also had a quick preview of some of the highlights from the autumn/winter 2012 range, which you should see in the shops some time around September with once exception including maybe the most technical winter base come mid-layer we've seen and a super neat winter soft shell.
Bastion Jacket - Out July
So here's the exception; the new Bastion Jacket is technically a winter 2012 bit of kit, but it'll be available in July exclusively from Cotswold Outdoor, so if you want to land one early, that's where to head. If you can remember that far ahead.
Anyway, the Bastion's a lightweight insulated jacket with a lining full of ME's own-brand PolarLoft fill and a shell made from Gore Windstopper Active Shell soft shell fabric, which is wind proof, highly water resistant and confusingly nothing much to do with Gore-Tex Active Shell waterproof fabric whatsoever.
To keep bulk down, the area under the arms is insulation free and uses the lighter weight XFast Windstopper - so it's still windproof but not insulated. It's worth noting that the hood isn't helmet compatible, so if you want one that is, look elsewhere.
The jacket's been designed as an alpine layer for gnarly but not wet days. It should cope with wind and snow all day long and put in a shift for long days mountaineering or ski touring. Or just going down the pub when it's cold. It's pretty light too, 490g in a men's large and around 30g less in the women's version and will retail for £180.
Pulsar Jacket - Completely Revamped
The existing Pulsar Jacket winter soft shell uses Polartec's High Loft PowerShield fabric along with PowerShield Light, but the new version uses the more weather-resistant - it's pretty much waterproof - PowerShield Pro for added protection.
Inside there's zoned waffle fleece for warmth, but with minimal bulk, plus the under-arm area uses lighter, thinner Windstopper XFast for better mobility. The cut's closer and neater too and it's light at 655g for a large, something you notice if you pick it up.
Finally there's a part-lined helmet hood for winter technical use with a helmet - no peak as the helmet brim should offer some protection. It reminds us of classics like the old Patagonia Stretch Speed Ascent and even the original pile-Pertex Buffalo, though it's less warm than either of those, so you shouldn't broil in it.
Finally, and this is nice to see, there's a women's version too, obviously in a nicer colour than the men's - purple in this case. We're not sure of the price, existing version was £220 so we'd guess around that level, but we'll check.
Super Technical Winter Base Layer
You be forgiven for assuming that the light, stretchy, gridded fabric used for the new Eclipse Hoody is Polartec's PowerDry High Efficiency, but it isn't. Instead it's a similar-looking, custom-specced heavyweight base/lightweight mid-layer stretch fabric made by respected Italian fabric brand, Pontetorto.
There are two weights, the heavier bits on the torso, back and sleeves with the lighter fabric elsewhere - it's stretchy and close fitting for best performance. There are thumb-loops too.
But it's the hood where ME has really gone to town with, according to ME's Richard Bailey, countless man-hours spent on perfecting the desig. First, the zip is off-set to clear the point of the chin to give better comfort. Then, the lower section of the hood can be used like a face mask or Buff covering the lower part of the face, over the nose and up to just below the eyes.
Great for walk-ins. But if you need more warmth, just pull the full hood on over your head. You can also drop the lower section for better venting. And, if you want, chuck a helmet over the top of it in either mode. The chin has been cut specially so it site neatly under a chin-strap.
Berghaus did a similar gig with their Smoulder Hoodie a few years back, but the ME version is stretchier and better cut and seems impressively neat. Should make a cracking heavyweight base-layer top or a lightweight mid. Price is going to be £90.
The Bastion is out in July from Cotswold, the Pulsar and the Exclipse Hoodie you can expect to see around September time.
Information on the current Mountain Equipment range at www.mountain-equipment.co.uk.