Montane Slipstream wind shirt - Printable Version
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Montane Slipstream wind shirt - Andy2 - 02-11-2010 12:51 PM
Apologies for quite a long review - I have rambled a bit but there might be an interesting general discussion here about the merits of windproofs v waterproofs for the local climate.
I’ve not managed to test this jacket thoroughly yet but I have taken it on a few dog walks and it has impressed me so far. My quick dog walk is actually quite a good clothing test as it involves a steep 100m ascent straight from the front door getting hot and bothered even in cold weather followed by a 20 min gentle descent on a windy and exposed ridge – quite difficult to dress for and a good test of any item of clothing’s breathability. I was quite sceptical (still am?) about wind shirts in general, but have found a few occasions during the peak summer up high on the Sierra Nevada where in the sun a long sleeve base layer is adequate when moving but when even a light wind picks up a mid layer is required, although once the wind drops I became uncomfortably hot. Similarly when walking the GR7/142 in winter, in the hot sun a base layer on its own is ideal but I quickly become too cold even when moving once the wind picks up or I move into the shade. In these situations I have imagined that a wind shirt would be the ideal solution.
On the other end of the scale, I have been consistently disappointed with the water resistance and/or breathability of the lightweight water-proofs available and often concluded that it would be less hassle just to get wet in light to moderate rain when it is warm. I can’t decide if my Montane Atomic jacket is just poor at keeping out the rain or at breathing but the result is a constant and significant dampness on the inside of the jacket under any conditions other than cold temperatures and light exercise. I’ve never been overly excited about the breathability of my Goretex jackets and friends who invested in eVENT have only ever expressed mediocre endorsements of its breathability, although it does seem to be slightly better than Goretex. The super lightweight Goretex Paclite seems to be very fragile and can apparently become overwhelmed in heavy or prolonged rain at which point it stops working all together – I’ve no experience of this particular fabric, I’ve just heard enough from others to put me off. In situations with light or short bursts of rain and warm weather or a high work rate the wind shirt is advertised as offering basic protection from the rain but more importantly for me, high levels of breathability.
Anyway, I invested in a jacket to see how it worked. The main feature of the Slipstream is its weight – 90g including its stuff sack for a XL size, which is just incredible. I have pairs of socks which weighs more and this thing stuffs down to the size of an apple core, not just an apple. It has no pockets or hood but a full length zip which locks into position and an anti snag baffle on the inside which works well. It comes in suitably leery colours but like most Montane gear it is not sized for fat blokes. Their clothes are designed to be close fitting on the skinny men (and women!) with big watches who can run the Brecon Beacons in a day fuelled only by a single mars bar. So I have to buy the XL sizes and suck my belly in when I meet anyone on the trail but at least here in Spain they haven’t seen Little Britain so they don’t know what the “Only Gay in the Village” looks like if they catch me off guard!
Out of the packet (i.e. before being washed) the jacket beads up the rain very well and as I’d hoped, it fits neatly between just wearing a base layer and wearing my lightest alternative mid layer. The jacket is phenomenally thin, and I’ve not had it out in very windy conditions to really understand how wind proof it is but I have used it comfortably on occasions where the alterative would have been a heavier over layer which would have made me hotter than I’d prefer and also on occasions where I would have been too cold in just a base layer. In that sense it has worked and I’m confident that in the scenarios outlined above it will have a use, however I have also managed to get quite cold wearing this jacket over just a base layer, not as a result of wind or water ingress but just the low temperature as it offers absolutely no insulation (other than limited wind protection as you would expect) and so I would not hike without carrying a warmer top to over or underlay with this.
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - El Perro Negro - 02-11-2010 01:38 PM
:-\ big topic this!
First of all it might be better to tell you what works for me here in the Sierra Nevada.
Outer Waterproof - Never got along with Goretex in all it's different forms. Same with Triplepoint and all the other derivatives/spin offs. Spent thousands on jackets like this only to be disappointed at the first wet outing in Glencoe. Only thing that has ever worked is Paramo. This gear is simply the best there is for the Sierras in winter. Feels good, and works amazingly! Downside is that the jackets are relatively heavy and we can only use them from end October to May. Also big enough to hide the "belly" so I only need an L!
We also use paramo cascada trousers for leg wear. No need for underlayers even in -15 temperatures plus wind chill. In warmer conditions the full length side zips allow cooling regulation and control. Again though only for end October to May.
Next layer inside is always for me a lightweight windstopper fleece. Works fantastic and is so versatile, especially if you get a version with pit-zips. They are light, commonplace and the Trangoworld variety are quite cheap too.
Next we come to the garment that gets most use here in the Sierra Nevada year round and that is a Mountain Hardware windstopper vest. A cut off version of the full on jacket. Versatile enough to be worn year round. Pefect for summer use at 3000m when there may just be a cool breeze blowing.
I cant speak for Montane as I never have had a garment from them but they have good reputation. Tried Buffalo stuff before but you have to keep moving to keep warm. Again I would like to have a good look at yours when we meet up. It does sound incredibly good value and weight though.
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - Andy2 - 02-11-2010 07:52 PM
I’m a Paramo convert as well. I bought a pair of Cascadas over the winter and agree that they cannot be beaten when it is wet and cold – I actually look forward to getting out in the rain! I find the fit a little funny (there is a common theme here) and so I intend to go and try some on next time I’m back in the UK before ordering any more items.
However, even last Tuesday I had to change out of my Cascadas into a lighter pair of trousers part way through my hike (@ 1,000m in Feb) because I was just too warm even with the vents fully open.
I am looking at the Paramo Velez trouser and the Quito jacket for this year as my fully waterproof layers – the Velez trousers are a lot lighter than the Cascadas but apparently breath & waterproof just as well. I’d hope that they also run a little cooler as well but have not heard many comments confirming this. I don’t have a real problem with the weight of the Cascadas as I do not have to pack waterproof over trousers but I am interested if the Velez trousers work better in hotter conditions.
In combination with the windshirt I had been looking hard at purchasing a Paramo Torres gillet and maybe some Torres trousers.
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - La Gringa - 02-12-2010 01:36 PM
Andy, the Torres gillet is ONLY good as a windbreak. It doesn't breath as well as other paramo and the insulation is not as efficient as even my PHD minimus gillet. If I had to give away one item of clothing...my torres would be it ! (Tested in UK and Spain) Hope this helps.
P.S. See my post on Velez Light....they come in large sizes and could be the answer to your problem ! At least try one on. Great breathability and although no pit zips, the side venting is almost up to your pits so not necessary. Obviously more bulky than the Montane shirt, but with that comes complete confidence in the rain.
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - El Perro Negro - 02-12-2010 03:01 PM
La Gringas post re the new Velez sounds pretty convincing. Andy's combination though has sound reasoning and should work well but I cant comment about the Montane jacket without actually trying it out.
These things are so personal arent they? What works for one doesnt always for another. I tend to get a bit cold these days so need warmer gear than you youngsters!!!
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - Andy2 - 02-12-2010 06:05 PM
Thanks for the info la Gringa! Friends who own Velez Adventure Light’s have only had enthusiastic praise for it as well so I will definitely look very hard at it next to the Paramo Quito which is a bit lighter and simpler.
You are the first person I’ve come across who has used a Torres gillet so thanks for the feedback. I’ll keep thinking – unless the gillet becomes much lighter there is not much difference between carrying it or one of the lighter full Paramo waterproofs.
I’ve also realised that the Cascadas work fine as over-trousers and can be used as a warm layer or waterproof layer, put on top of my lighter trekking trousers for cold starts and then taken off once its warmed, so no real need to invest in the Torres trousers or similar.
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - Andy2 - 02-19-2010 04:49 PM
I’ve had a bit more time to test this jacket now and it has really impressed me with its water resistance – it does leak eventually but I wore it for over 45 mins in steady rain and my torso was dry. It also allowed me to maintain a comfortable temperature, more so than any of my heavier waterproofs would have allowed. This type of jacket, if its “weathproofness” can be sustained after washing and treating could be adequate for peak summer low level trekking.
One major negative though is its durability. After 2.5 hours under a 20lb pack it has a couple of pulled threads and noticeable marks on the shoulders. Montane do rate this as one of their least durable jackets, it having traded weight for strength but even so this is a disappointing. I think I will keep this for dog walking or other outdoors activities without a rucksack to try and preserve it.
I have been convinced of the merits of windproofs for the local conditions, and the benefits over traditional layers will only increase into the summer, but now I need to find a jacket with the right balance of weight (and therefore breathability?) versus robustness.
Re: Montane Slipstream wind shirt - El Perro Negro - 02-19-2010 06:10 PM
Andy. You and La Gringa should have a chat. She is out here Sunday evening onwards. Usually to be found in the Health, Flower or Gecko with a large Bacardi and coke!