Posted by Sam Harrison on December 10, 2014 at 13:05.
One of the most versatile pieces of kit I own, I'm rarely without this lightweight insulated jacket which balances warmth against weight to near perfection.
|Brand & model||Montane Prism jacket|
|Good points||versatility, durability, warmth-to-weight ratio, well thought out design|
|Bad points||a bit short|
|Best uses||Everything! Alpine starts, standing around on belay ledges, emergency layer, summer bivvying, going to the pub, etc.|
The Prism is a lightweight insulated jacket, boasting 40gsm of Primaloft Eco encased in Pertex Microlight to keep the wind at bay. It has less insulation and is therefore colder than its heavy-weight counterparts, such as the Rab Generator Alpine or the Montane Flux, but of course this means it is less bulky. As an over-generalisation, I'd say the jacket is ideal warmth for throwing on over your t-shirt at belay stances or when you stop for lunch during the summer, or using as part of a layering system (it being the outer layer if it's dry) for the coldest of winter days or early-morning Alpine starts.
WarmthThere is little to distinguish between this and similar lightweight insulated jacket with the same amount of Primaloft; put simply, it's as warm as you'd expect it to be. It's not going to be as warm as a down jacket of the same weight, but then you don't have to worry about getting it wet like you do with down. I picture it as being warmer than a thick fleece but colder than a heavier weight insulated jacket, and actually it's this balance that makes the jacket a winner for me; it's the perfect warmth to make it incredibly versatile. As I've already hinted, there's never a season when the jacket isn't in my bag.
DurabilityTop marks for durability, mainly thanks to the Pertex Microlight material it's encased in. My jacket has had some serious use, including a fair share of scraping against gritstone and hacking through thistles, and apart from the odd dirty mark, it looks brand new.
FeaturesThe jacket has two "hand warmer" chest pockets which are large enough to fit most useful things in (e.g. compact camera, map, pair of gloves). Being insulated, they're also incredibly useful in keeping your hands warm on chilly days, and they're positioned such that they're still accessible with a waist belt done up or with a harness on.
The hood is surprisingly good and being insulated, is perfect for keeping your ears and neck toasty warm on the coldest of days; indeed, it's a good "secondary" hood in full on winter conditions when you've got your waterproof jacket's hood up over the top of it. It's quite a snug fit and therefore it stays on your head better than most (two easy-to-use drawstring adjusters ensure this), though that does mean it struggles to go over a helmet. It won't give you the protection a proper hood on a waterproof jacket will, but it's a nice addition to compliment your layering system nonetheless.
There are a number of little reflective strips on the jacket, which you might think at first are just for show, but actually prove incredibly useful to others following you in the dark. Another feature I'm a fan of is the elasticated cuffs, which mean you didn't have to faff about tightening and un-tightening them every time you put the jacket on (though it does mean it's a bit of a struggle to put the jacket on with bulky gloves or mitts on).