Montane Prism jacket

Manufacturer Description

The most versatile piece of insulation in the Montane range, the Prism is an essential piece of mountain clothing whatever the activity. Using 40g PrimaLoft ECO insulation throughout ensures that the Prism is warm yet lightweight enough to be worn on the move in cool conditions. Used and abused by Mountain Rescue teams across the UK, the Prism can be worn as a mid-layer within any shell system or alone as an outer jacket in drier weather.

Features

  • Pertex Microlight outer fabric that is completely windproof, fast drying and features an exceptional durable water repellency
  • 40g PrimaLoft ECO insulation throughout the body is warm, packable and exceptionally fast drying
  • 40g PrimaLoft ECO in front of and behind the pockets giving this area 80g of insulation in total
  • PEAQ Synthetic Lining
  • Articulated arms for reach high movement and tailored specifically to reduce hem lift
  • Fully adjustable helmet compatible mountain hood with three point adjustment and wired peak
  • Internal tab to lock down and roll away the hood in windy conditions
  • Soft fleece beard guard around face and mouth for extra comfort
  • Two insulated hand-warmer pockets positioned well clear of backpack or climbing harness belt
  • Full length, reversed and baffled two way YKK front zip for ease of use with a backpack or climbing harness
  • Low bulk and profile elasticized cuffs which can be pulled up forearms to aid cooling
  • Adjustable hem to prevent spindrift entry and heat loss
  • Scotchlite reflective details for mountain safety
  • Stuffs into right hand pocket for easy storage and use as a small sleeping pillow
  • Active Mountain Fit
  • Measured size medium
  • Weight – 417 g (14.7 oz)
    • Center Back – 74.7 cm (29.4 in)
    • Pit to pit – 58.9 cm (23.2 in)
    • Arm Length – 92.6 cm (36.5 in)
  • Retail – $130

YMMV Review

If you have been following my site for while you know that I am a big fan of European Brands. Compared to most US Brands they tend to have a trimmer cut to them, which works better for my build. Montane is a brand out of the UK. They were created 18 years ago by a young engineer who in between adventures began to sew garments for his friends and fellow enthusiasts. Montane is all about innovation, creating equipment to help us all move further and faster.

Front View

Testing

I tested this jacket in a variety of situations. I took it up to the slopes skiing, I used it as an insulating layer when taking breaks while snowshoeing, and wore it out on snowy cold days. The Prism was so comfortable that I also used it around town and to work a fair bit as well.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (15%) ★★½☆☆

Construction (30%) ★★★★☆

Packability (15%) ★★★☆☆

Pockets (10%) ★★☆☆☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★★★☆

Weight (20%) ★★★★☆

The Montane Prism Jacket is a lightweight synthetic insulated jacket made for a wide variety of activities. The jacket uses Pertex Microlight fabric as the outer shell. Pertex Microlight is a 53 g/m2 100% Polyamide Nylon Ripstop weave. It is slightly air permeable and therefore, very wind resistant. The fabric also tests well for abrasion resistance. The outer fabric has been treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellency) treatment to help water bead up and run off on the jacket in wet conditions. The inner liner is also a Nylon fabric called PEAQ Synthetic. PEAC Synthetic is a 37g/m2 plain weave nylon. It is very breathable and soft next to the skin. In between these layers is the PrimaLoft ECO insulation. The Prism uses 40 g/m2 insulation. Synthetic insulation remains warm when wet and dries fast. This makes it an excellent insulation for stop and go activities. PrimaLoft ECO fibers are produced from post-consumer and post industrial plastic waste. The insulation is a minimum of 50% recycled content. The insulation totally envelops the front chest pockets providing a total of 80g/m2in that area.

Back View

There are two pockets on the Prism Jacket. These pockets are fairly large and are located slightly up from the waist area to accommodate a backpack hipbelt. With higher pockets, you can access them even with a pack on. At the top of the zippers, there is 3M Scotchlite Reflective Accents for better visibility. On top of these there are two on the back as well. The Prism has elastic cuffs at the wrist. Montane chose this type of cuff because it is low profile and able to accommodate many sized wrists. It can also be slid up the forearm to vent if needed. Unfortunately, they are not adjustable, which is the tradeoff. The bottom hem of the jacket has an adjustable bungee cord to tighten the hem. There are adjustment points on both hips for more control of the fit.

The Prism Jacket has a fully adjustable mountain hood that is large enough to accommodate a climbing helmet. The hood has three points of adjustment and a wired brim to allow you to get the right fit. To help store the hood out of the way, there is a Velcro tab lock system which rolls the hood out of the way for windy days or to just keep it out of the way. The jacket has a full-length wind flap behind the main zipper to keep the user warmer. Around the face, this zipper guard and the other material around the face has been covered with soft fleece for comfort. The jacket can be stuffed into its own pocket for packing or to be used as a pillow.

With a Climbing Helmet On

The Prism Jacket is a mix of non-renewable and eco-friendly materials. The outer and inner shell fabrics are both synthetic non-renewable materials while the insulation is PrimaLoft’s ECO Insulation. PrimaLoft ECO insulation uses post-consumer recycled material to create a high loft, thermally efficient, earth-friendly insulation. Montane also has an environmental statement in regard to their brand. It basically says they are very aware of the impact and responsibility they have to the environment. For this reason, they try to make equipment that will last longer and not have to be renewed as often. Montane also tries to use renewable materials when an acceptable alternative is available. This is not always the case, but they are constantly looking for these alternatives. If you would like to read more about the company, it can be found at their website.

Soft Fleece Face Guard

Fit ★★★☆☆

Adjustability (15%) ★★½☆☆

Arm Length (20%) ★★★☆☆

Comfort Next to Skin (15%) ★★★☆☆

Ease of Movement (20%) ★★★½☆

Hood (10%) ★★★☆☆

Torso Sizing (20%) ★★½☆☆

Insulated jackets are sometimes difficult to comment on the fit. Arm and torso length is easy to address, but most jackets are made with extra room to layer over other clothing quickly. The Prism jacket is similar in this way. I liked the arm length which can be an issue for me on some items I have tested. The torso length is also nice and long with a little additional coverage in the back. The actual torso sizing does have a bit of extra room. I did not feel like I was swimming in it like can happen with some jackets, but it was not snug either. I tested the size medium which is what I normally test, and I do think it was the right size for me. Nothing leads me to believe that a small would have been better. The torso might have been snugger, but the arms and torso would have been shorter which I definitely would not have liked.

Wrist Cuff

The whole jacket is nice and soft. The inner PEAQ material is especially soft, which makes this a jacket you do not want to take off. Not only did I find it a good jacket when up in the snow; I liked to equally wear it to work or around town. The other part of this jacket which makes it so comfortable is the soft fleece face guard. I think this has the best face guard of any jacket I have tested. It is soft, comfortable, and does not grab my chin and neck hairs when I have not shaved. It was really a big fan of this.

The jacket is made to move well with the body, and I definitely found that to be the case. I did not feel any restriction when using the Prism Jacket. When reaching out or upward there is only a slight lifting of the hem, but for the most part, it stays in place. The hood on this jacket adjusts to however you need it. It can be worn over a climbing helmet but not over a skiing helmet as they are just too big. I have also used the hood over just my head, and it cinched down to fit that well too. The wire brim is an excellent addition as it can be tweaked to your personal preference.

Hood All Rolled Up

Performance ★★★½☆

Breathability (10%) ★★½☆☆

Durability (25%) ★★★☆☆

Versatility (15%) ★★★☆☆

Warmth (25%) ★★★★☆

Water Resistance (10%) ★★★½☆

Wind Resistance (15%) ★★★½☆

While the Prism Jacket is lightweight and only has 40g/m2 insulation, it is still surprisingly warm. The combination of materials is great for keeping a chilly wind off and warm air in. If I was going to be just sitting around in the winter outside this jacket may not be enough, but if you are active, then the warmth to weight ratio of the Prism makes it a great jacket to take along with you. With synthetic insulation, I really like the fact that I am not constantly losing feathers. I think it is quite annoying when you have loose feathers around all the time. The pro of down is the warmth to weight characteristics and compressibility. While high quality down will still beat this jacket in those areas, the PrimaLoft ECO is not far off. This jacket still packs down plenty small and when stuffed into its own pocket can be used as a pillow. I have not slept on it yet but playing around with it, I was impressed with the shape and firmness; I think it would be a good backcountry option.

Frayed Bottom Thread

The Pertex Microlight outer shell has been enough to block all the wind I have experienced thus far and even turned away a couple of light showers. The water beaded up well and just ran off. This is where synthetic insulation is better than down. If this jacket were to get wet, it would still insulate and dry much faster than down. This makes this jacket a good option for wetter climates or stop and go activities. While the jacket does seem to breathe well, if you were to be sweating, the insulation could get damp from your own perspiration, which would affect its performance. This is why down is not a great option for high exertion activities; some manufacturers even insulate with synthetic and down in different layers to combat this from happening. Remember that the outer shell is only water resistant meaning than anything more than a short passing shower can seep through.

I did find the jacket fairly durable except some of the stitching. It did not come unstitched or anything like that. Just some of the stitching around mainly the bottom hem has frayed a little. I did my best to show this in the picture. It has not been an issue yet and hope it won’t become one. Other than this the jacket has been great, it has withstood everything I have thrown at it. The Montane Prism Jacket is very versatile. It can be used as a midlayer or outer layer very easily. Anytime you need a lightweight insulating piece this is a great option. I think of it as a warmer and more weather-resistant option than a fleece. It even has a way to roll the hood out of the way when you do not need it or want to secure it.

Jacket Stuffed into its Own Pock makes a Pillow

Overall ★★★½☆

Overall, I have like the Prism Jacket. I like how lightweight it is while it still keeps me plenty warm in most situations. It can be layered over the top or be worn as an outer layer. The synthetic insulation has some benefits over down, which are where this jacket shines. Generally, if it is too cold for the Prism jacket, then rain is not going to be your concern anymore, and most down jackets do not have the same issues with snow as they do rain. I would definitely recommend the Prism Jacket by Montane. It is well-made and carefully thought out. The only things I wish were done differently on the jacket are the pockets. I am surprised there is no inner or outer chest pocket. I wish there was a small inner pocket up on the chest to store an iPhone, GPS, or even energy bars. With only two pockets it does feel a bit limited in pocket space but then this does keep it trimmer. Always a tradeoff. The Prism Jacket retails for around $130, which is a great value. You can spend more on similar jackets or fleece equivalents and get less jacket for the money. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Lightweight
  • Packs down small – into a pillow
  • Good warmth for the light weight
  • Face guard is the best I have tested
  • Hood is very adjustable and can be secured

Cons

  • Some of the thread in the stitches is fraying
  • Wish there was a inside chest pocket

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About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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