Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 24 October 2016

Montane Air Jacket

Readers will know the story - the jacket leaked, at the pocket zips and front zip in my view. However
Montane tested it and could not find any fault so the retailer refused a refund asking that
photographic evidence be provided so that they could take up the case with Montane.

Needless to say we had a very dry, cold and beautiful first week in Braemar at the beginning of this month followed by only a little intermittent rain until the middle of the second. At the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve I wore the jacket on an easy stroll and it rained for about 10-15 minutes - steady but not heavy and with no wind. Small areas on the inside mesh at the pockets became wet and the inside baffle very wet. Back at the motorcaravan I took pics and emailed them to Swaledale Outdoors from whom I'd bought the jacket

They felt the evidence was clear and the money has been refunded. My thanks to Richard.

All a bit of a hassle and a pity because I did like the Air Jacket in every other respect - quite light, a nice fit, packable etc.

I won't, however, be buying anything made by Montane in future and will revert to my usual trusted
brand - Mountain Equipment. I don't expect to stay 'dry' in prolonged rain no matter what kind of waterproof I'm wearing but I know what's acceptable, and the Air Jacket was not.

Wearing the Air Jacket on a cold and very windy October day on Cairn of Claise



AlanR said...

It's a real shame you had to go through all this and pleased that Swaledale outdoors came good in the end.
My feelings on Montane light gear is the same as yours. I didn't find mine fit for purpose either. I reverted to ME as well. Good luck with the replacement when you get it.

Ian Sommerville. said...

Had a similar experience with a Rab Myriad jacket. But both Rab and Go Outdoors were uninterested. My conclusion is that Rab are focusing on the fashion market.

Sir Hugh said...

Glad to hear you got this sorted. In theses instances the question of "fitness for purpose" seems to be the clincher. Also it is relevant if the retailer agreed with you if you told them of your intended purpose when you were buying, and even more so if they actually advised you.

afootinthehills said...

I'm going to have a fairly high spec'd jacket from ME Alan, even though it will be heavier than the Montane
though not very much more so than my present ME.
I'm finished with 'fast and light'.

afootinthehills said...

I've never had Rab waterproof but I've always been happy with other stuff - Neutrino Hoody and Alpine Light down jacket. I was tempted by NeoShell at one point but for all it's own limitations, I'm staying with Gore-Tex

afootinthehills said...

I bought the Air Jacket after reading Chris Townsend's review after using it on the TGO Challenge. He found it reassuringly protective in some pretty awful weather. I assume I was unlucky and if Montane had said 'We can't find anything wrong with it in the lab tests but we accept that it is not performing on the hill so here is another to try", then I might still have an Air Jacket and their standing as a company in my eyes would still be in tact.

''Fitness for purpose' is the test as you say Conrad but in this case the lab tests showed no fault, so how do you challenge that result without a lot of hassle and possibly expense?

afootinthehills said...

Odd. Even though I'm replying to each comment in turn they are not appearing like that on the blog. E.g. Alan's last and not under his comment. Quirk of the mobile site?

Dave said...

Hi Gibson, I have the opposite issue - in a manner of speaking - with a lightweight Jack Wolfskin waterproof. On warm, rainy days involving any sort of exertion, I am left uncomfortably damp; at first I couldn't be sure if it was leakage or poor breathability but eventually established that it was the latter (simply by testing it on a day with no rain). Ironically, a Montane Atomic (previous spec, not the current one) which I picked up for a giveaway price is, if anything, a slightly better performer on wet summer days but I'm still trying to find a jacket, or fabric, which really lives up to the waterproof/breathability claims.

The best one I've ever had is still my battered old Sprayway Commanche, but it's very much a winter-only jacket.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Dave, I think the issue is really the exaggerated claims made for 'breathability'. I tend to ignore this because apart from Paramo I've never had a jacket that didn't leave me feeling a bit damp. In the photograph I had walked from Carn an Tuirc to Cairn of Claise, hardly an arduous walk,and my mid layer was a little damp in places so I don't think Pertex AP is all that breathable. I wouldn't have sent it back on that basis though.

If I'm warm enough when I'm walking and it starts to rain I reckon I'll be too warm if I just add a waterproof, so I'll sweat more and the jacket's 'breathability' will/may be overwhelmed. So, I take off a layer before putting on the waterproof. That's not always possible of course - if the heavens open I'd get saturated in the process - but as a rule I think this helps. I also wear Icebreaker next to the skin which may help me keep warm even if I'm a bit damp.

In the end I suppose I just accept all the limitations of even the best outdoor gear. I just wish the manufacturers would moderate their claims.

I think I've settled on aan ME Lohtse replacement which suits the Scottish weather. A bit OTT for summer maybe although not for some of the recent ones!

afootinthehills said...

Sorry, Lhotse.

Alan Sloman said...

I would be like a dog with a rabbit over this. The manufacturer has tested the jacket and said it was okay, when clearly it was not. I would now send it to Gore-Tex, telling them them of your experience with Montane.
Gore license their products to be used by Montane and other manufacturers, and if they thought that that Montane were being less than honest about their product (in manufacturing terms) I would imagine they would take a very dim view of it.

afootinthehills said...

The fabric on the Air Jacket is Pertex Shield AP not Gore-Tex Alan. The AquaGuard zips didn't look nearly as well sealed when closed compared to the ones on my ME which in eight years have never leaked. I don't think the fabric is very breathable either (but see my comments to Dave).

The thing I found absurd was the request for photographs showing the wet areas. As I said to the retailer on more than one occasion,I could easily sprinkle some water inside the jacket and claim it was rain ingress but they seemed to be prepared to accept photos as evidence all the same. I expected my word to be taken and in fairness to Swaledale Outdoors they never suggested that they didn't believe me. Montane obviously preferred their lab results over what a customer found on the hill. In the end it cost me £8.55 to return the jacket the first time so that Montane could test it, and another £7.25 to return it for a refund.

I don't blame Swaledale Outdoors for all this but Montane is a tarnished brand for me now more because of the way they handled it than for the faulty jacket itself.

I seemed to spend the last holiday ranting about Montane and the bastards who massacred the beautiful mountain hares in military-style operations.

AlanR said...

The guys in the outdoor shop who told me that they had many Pertex Shield jackets returned suggested that the problem stemmed from the taping not the material. This is probably why the lab tests proved ok.
My Dermizax NX waterproof from Bergan is still my number 1 material choice but my ME Polartec neoshell jacket has never let me down and I would buy it again.
Just for info. Have a read of this article.

Try diacalm for the rants! Ha

Alan Sloman said...

Pertex Shield AP, eh? I am so far behind this modern stuff these days...

It seems that Montane believe the customer is always wrong. You've already spent money sending the anorak back twice (I am absolutely amazed that this was not refunded to you!) but I do think that I would splash out again and send it to the fabric manufacturer. Like Gore, they will have allowed Montane to use their fabrics in manufacture and they will have a keen interest in ensuring that their customers and reputation is not tarnished.

I would send them a detailed letter explaining what you have had to go through, and I would itemise the costs you have incurred.

And don't worry about your rants - You may well have saved another poor sap from making a very poor purchasing decision. The internet tends to throw negative reviews up with wonderful regularity. Kit I have excoriated on my blog posts get the most views.

And as for the bastards slaughtering mountain hares, again, it's all grist to the mill.

Carry on Sir!

Alan Sloman said...

I would try a large Scotch.

afootinthehills said...

Ah, but I don't have the jacket to send to the fabric folks. I was much more distressed about the hares than the jacket and told everybody I met on the hill whether they wanted to hear it or not!

afootinthehills said...

If the outdoor shop guys meant the tape wasn't applied properly, that wasn't evident to the eye. Perhaps it just wasn't of the right quality.

afootinthehills said...

Good idea Alan though it might just make the rants unintelligible :-)

AlanR said...

I think it was either too narrow or too thin. Not sure which but it was all about cutting weight.

Anonymous said...

I've had exactly the same issue with Montane. They didn't believe me that their product leaked and ultimately blamed me for not washing the jacket well enough. I haven't gone near Montane products since then. It only takes one disappointing experience.
Dave Porter

afootinthehills said...

Hello Dave. It's really two disappointing experiences: the jacket you buy doesn't work and the manufacturer doesn't believe you. I can't imagine there are many of us who would go to the trouble and cost of returning an item for no good reason but Montane obviously think otherwise.

I have now bought an ME Lhotse which looks extremely well made. A bit too much for summer maybe but my eight year old ME Morpheus will still do for then I expect.

Thanks for commenting Dave.