By Jason B.
Montane is a UK company with a pretty spectacular history of creating cutting edge equipment to support expeditions in harsh environments. Their mission statement is “Montane engineers innovative, lightweight, breathable clothing and equipment for endurance sports and activities in extreme environments.” They even sponsor a couple of ultra-endurance events: the Montane Lakeland 100 and the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra.
Montane describes the Viper Hoodie as a “Thermally efficient lightweight hooded POLARTEC® fleece jacket with stretch.” My description for the Viper Hoodie is that it is a soft, comfortable fleece the easily layers over base layers and looks good on the mountain or cruising around town. The jacket retails for $115.
The Viper Hoodie looks and fits like a traditional hoody, but is filled with high tech features. The POLARTEC® Thermal Pro® is a fast drying fleece with high stretch to improve mobility. It has well placed front hand pockets and an interior zipper pocket in the left hand warmer pocket. The hood is soft and fits easily under a ski or bike helmet.
My initial impression of the Montane Viper Hoodie is a positive one. I received an extra large hoody and I would say that it fits true to size. It is neither baggy or tight. I can easily wear baselayers underneath it and slip on a hardshell when I need wind, rain or snow protection. The hoody is comfortable to wear and really soft.
When reviewing jackets I like to look for the following characteristics. First is comfort. Do I want to wear the jacket? Does it keep me warm or cool depending on the situation? The second characteristic is durability. How does the jacket hold up to daily wear and abuse? If I wear the jacket while backpacking or with a running vest will it show wear in the shoulders? Do any of the seams unravel? My final category is functionality. What temperatures is the jacket best for? What can I hold in the pockets?
First Update on the Montane Viper Hoodie January 17, 2019
I have worn the Montane Viper Hoodie almost constantly for the last month even though I have only worn it for about 30 miles of traditional hiking. I wore it during cool morning walks with my dog before work, on a frigid overnight camping trip to a local farm in Mississippi with the Youth Group from church, and on an overnight backpacking trip to the Black Creek Wilderness in Mississippi. Temperatures ranged from the upper 50s to the upper 30s with no significant precipitation.
My big three criteria for mid layer jackets like the Montane Viper Hoodie are comfort, durability and functionality. I start with comfort because that is the most important to me. It makes reviewing items so much easier if I “want” to wear it. Well, the Viper Hoodie is so comfortable that I don’t want to take it off. The inner fleece lining is soft and feels great against my skin. The fabric has just enough stretch that it moves with me and does not hinder my movement in any way. Even the hood is comfortable. It fits nicely over ball caps and stays in place, and the light elastic binding is just enough to keep the hood up against the wind when the jacket is fully zipped.
The durability of the Montane Viper Hoodie has been excellent. I wore it backpacking in the Black Creek Wilderness with a 30 pound overnight pack, and there are no wear marks anywhere. I have also worn it with daypacks and regular backpacks with no issues. The elastic in the cuffs and the hem still perform and look new. The zipper operates smoothly with no issues. Definitely an A+ for durability.
My final criteria is functionality. What activities can I use the Montane Viper Hoodie for? The hoody definitely multitasks. I love it for everyday casual wear; it is so comfortable, stretchy, and also very breathable. It provides a decent bit of layering warmth, but I can feel cold wind through the hoody when I wear it as a stand alone outer layer. This makes the hoody work well for high output activities like trail running and backpacking. It is thin enough that it can be used under a rain jacket or puffy if needed. It is a true multipurpose jacket.
This concludes my first update on the Montane Viper Hoodie, check back in about a month or so for my final thoughts.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and Montane for providing the Viper Hoodie for this review.