There’s certain kit that no outdoors loving person should be without. So whether you’re a dog walking moocher or an alpine mountaineering fanatic you definitely need stout footwear, you certainly need an impenetrable raincoat and…in my humble opinion…you shouldn’t be without a warming gilet.
However, I didn’t always believe this – in fact, I actively ignored my husband for many years as he repeatedly encouraged me to get one. Then, after one particularly cold March afternoon spent, for some inexplicable reason atop Crinkle Crags, I liberated my husband’s own gilet from his rucksack and saved myself from frostbite (small exaggeration) and was an immediate convert. I also had to apologise, say ‘yes you were right’ and generally eat humble pie.
My own purchase was of a Haglofs ladies down vest, which I have loved and worn for many a long year. Therefore, when the item currently under today’s scrutiny fell into my hands I felt I had a great product to compare it to. And the Montane Women’s Glacier Vest would have to be pretty special to favourably compare to the Haglofs’ competition… But, favourably compare it most certainly has. Or, to put that another way – the Montane Women’s Glacier Vest knocks spots off at least some of the competition and is a truly great product. So, what’s so good about it?
Pros According to Me:
- It’s cut properly and appropriately for a woman’s curvy form. It has darts and seams and nips and tucks in all the right places so it’s snugly figure hugging.
- This is a massive pro for this particular clothing item. You need it to be close to your body to warm it and keep it warm. What’s more, you have no sagging or flapping material that gets in the way of your rucksack for example, or which could accidentally catch on fire when you’re leaning a bit too close to the campfire to roast your s’mores.
- The clever designers of the Montane Women’s Glacier Vest clearly know that many women worry about the size of their derriere. They also know that no man bringing up the rear (of a climb) wants to constantly hear the woman in front banging on about whether her bum looks big or not. And so, this gilet has a nice long back that very neatly comes down and covers your bum.
- This serves three positive functions in my opinion. 1) It keeps your lower back warm thanks to the lovely PrimaLoft filling 2) it means that no matter what your activity it’s unlikely the vest would ever ride up so high as to expose naked flesh, 3) it keeps your butt covered and hidden so you can forget about it.
- It’s very light, it’s very soft, it’s lightweight and folds up and in on itself into its own pocket – and thus it becomes very tiny. Therefore it feels nice to wear, you hardly know you’ve got it on (except for the warm fuzzy feeling it creates) and you won’t know anything about it if you’re carrying it in your pack or on your belt.
- Finally, the designers know quite a lot about women – for this Montane Women’s Glacier Vest even has a soft bit on the inside of the collar to a) not scratch skin that’s obviously much softer than a man’s stubbly chin and b) to absorb and make magically disappear excess makeup. My Haglofs vest doesn’t have this feature and the collar always looks filthy and disgusting as my foundation rubs off on it and sits in amongst the fibres making me ashamed!
- It’s made from 70% recycled fibres and it’s full of PrimaLoft ® ECO which is an ultra-fine microfibre that mimics the structure of goose down for earth-friendly performance and comfort. Not entirely sure what earth-friendly performance or comfort actually means – but it is very warm.
- It’s exceptionally fast drying, durable and water resistant. True.
- It’s water-repellent and keeps the wearer warm even when wet. True.
- Amongst the many features it’s also ultra-compressible and stuffs into its pocket for easy storage and use as a small sleeping pillow. You would have to be absolutely desperate to use it as a pillow – OR – you’d have to have a head roughly half the size of mine (note, I don’t have a particularly enormous head…it’s just that this makes for a particularly tiny pillow).
- Montane’s Glacier Vest is available in women’s sizes 8 – 16 in Black with a Steel and Dhalia lining and zip. In other words it’s black. With some purple and grey bits. But it’s mainly black.
In Conclusion: This really is an essential bit of outdoor kit. All good gilets like this warm you up in a moment, keep you warm, are lightweight, water resistant and they dry super fast. What sets this apart from the competition in all seriousness is the attention to detail in the design. It’s a female specific product absolutely appropriately designed for its target market.…I’m even wearing it as I type.