Women's Rock Range From Mountain Equipment Review

© Mark Glaister

Mountain Equipment have brought out an eye catching new range of women's crag clothes for 2019, which I've really enjoyed testing both at the wall and outdoors. I've been using the: Viper Pants; Bahia Vest; Rio Vest and Calico Hooded Jacket.

Using the Calico Hooded Jacket and Viper trousers on Castle Rock  © Mark Glaister
Using the Calico Hooded Jacket and Viper trousers on Castle Rock
© Mark Glaister

Viper Women's Pant - £70

I love the Viper climbing pants because of the pull up waist band and the fit. Once on they are so comfy and they stay put – important when trying to flash your routes, not your undies. The soft, low profile waist band is also perfect for under your harness.

The trousers feature handy pockets not just to keep your hands warm, but with the nice touch of a zipped one down the leg which I've used for a topo page (OK also a shopping list for after the bouldering wall too).

Testing the Viper Women's Pants and Bahia Vest in Portland  © Mark Glaister
Testing the Viper Women's Pants and Bahia Vest in Portland
© Mark Glaister

The stretchy waistband fits well under a harness  © Mark Glaister
The stretchy waistband fits well under a harness
© Mark Glaister

The recycled polyester / organic cotton fabric is quite thick, so not ideal when it's hot, but even at the wall when it's warmed up and everyone else has been in shorts I've still been able to move freely in them thanks to the ergonomic design and the slight give in the material.

There's a handy bungee for pulling in the ankles whilst climbing but I prefer to fold the bottoms up; I guess everyone has their own preference. I've got them in pumpkin spice colour which goes well with most of my tops in my cupboard.

Mountain Equipment say:

With our tailored Women's climbing fit and stretch fabric these are the optimum pant, whether on far off rock or back home on your board. A deep, elasticated waist won't pull down during sit starts and sits perfectly under a harness whilst working projects. A zipped hip pocket keeps essentials secure.

  • Sizes: 8-16
  • Stretch Organic Cotton/Recycled Polyester fabric
  • Women's Climbing fit with regular fit ankle
  • Stretch jersey waistband for outstanding comfort
  • 2 hand pockets
  • Hip pocket with concealed zip entry
  • Adjustable hem drawcord
  • Weight : 340g

Viper pants prod shot

For more info see

Bahia Vest £30

The cropped top Bahia and strappy T-Shirt Rio worn together look great, and perform well. ME have called both a vest which is a bit confusing.

Stretchy fabric and an eye catching print...  © Mark Glaister
Stretchy fabric and an eye catching print...
© Mark Glaister

I wouldn't usually have chosen the jazzy geometric coloured design of the Bahia, but I really like it. There's no internal cup in this bra top, but it's supportive enough for me to have used it on a 10 mile run so don't worry about that (OK I'm an A cup so don't need too much support but it helps give you an idea of its snugness). I've also felt comfortable using the Bahia without a T-shirt over it, when it's got a little warm. The stretchy nylon fabric allows good freedom of movement, too.

Mountain Equipment say:

This slightly longer crop top gives total support and complete freedom of movement for the most athletic moves and dedicated training. A year round essential for rock or plastic, it can be worn alone or layered over in cooler conditions. The fast drying, stretchy fabric gives excellent next to skin comfort.

  • Sizes: 8-16
  • Stretch nylon fabric
  • Cross back design
  • Exclusive Mountain Equipment print
  • Weight : 95g

Bahia Vest prod shot

    For more info see

    Rio Vest - £30

    The pool blue Rio Vest complements it well. Its stretchy 'drirelease' fabric is so soft, and the cut is quite baggy, so it allows a lot of movement and cooling air. It's breathable and dries quickly too. The material is "anti-smell" (Polygiene odor control) which definitely got tested on the run and I've also tried it on subsequent training sessions. Whilst my husband was horrified as he does the washing, even he agreed that it worked.

    The strappy Rio Vest layers well over the Bahia  © Mark Glaister
    The strappy Rio Vest layers well over the Bahia
    © Mark Glaister

    The Rio Vest is UPF 50+ which is handy for the areas it covers. All the clothes reviewed have been through the wash countless times now and they have remained as soft as when I first put them on. They are also colourfast which is reassuring when as I said before my husband does the washing and isn't so particular on separating out the whites wash!

    Mountain Equipment say:

    The perfect vest for layering over a sports bra for warm days on the rock and social indoor bouldering circuits. The drirelease® fabric combines cotton-like feel with technical, fast drying performance.

    • Sizes: 8-16
    • 175g drirelease®; lightweight moisture management with stretch
    • Polygiene® anti-microbial technology; environmentally friendly and Bluesign® approved odour control
    • TENCEL® cellulose fibres give outstanding wicking performance
    • Spaghetti racerback design
    • UPF 50+
    • Weight : 95g

    For more info see

    Rio Vest prod shot

    Calico Hooded Women's Jacket - £90

    When the temperature drops a bit, I've got this zipped hooded jacket to stick on over the top. With its brushed inner this has a fleece-like feel that's nice and snug when worn over one of the vests. The softness is always welcome when you put it on on a breezy belay, and it's kept me warmer than I thought it might. In recent weeks I've worn it home from the bouldering wall with no coat, but earlier in the year I'd have needed more.

    The jacket is ideal for a breezy belay, and the hood fits well over a helmet   © Mark Glaister
    The jacket is ideal for a breezy belay, and the hood fits well over a helmet
    © Mark Glaister

    In contrast to the thickness of the trousers, it feels more summer weight and baggy. I've climbed in it both at the wall whilst warming up and outside, and because it's tailored well it has done its job keeping me warm without me giving a moment's thought to it.

    The hood keeps nicely out of the way when it's not needed, the simple elasticated sleeve cuffs keep the sleeves exactly where you want them and if you only push them up slightly they don't dig in either. It's a long fit, so sits happily under the harness without any question of it riding up when lifting your arms up, or of the pockets getting in the way of the harness.

    The hood fits really well over a helmet for extra warmth when belaying, and was fine when I put the hood up sat around on a campsite and it wasn't breezy; but it is a loose fit around the head, with no means of tightening it, so it will be less suited to windy conditions.

    I love the deep hand pockets, and the very practical hidden zipped pocket inside the right-hand main pocket, which I've used loads for keys or money whilst climbing. Overall it's a really versatile extra layer and the low weight and packability are handy when popping it in the rucksack as a "just in case" layer.

    Mountain Equipment say:

    A close fitting, low bulk hooded jacket for climbing and trekking use. Delta® brushed fabric gives exceptional next to skin comfort and rapid moisture transfer for strenuous climbing. A grown on hood gives added protection from the wind on a hanging belay and coverstitched seams ensure comfort under a pack or harness.

    • Sizes: 8-16
    • Delta® brushed fabric; low bulk, rapid moisture transfer
    • Women's Active fit
    • Coverstitched seams throughout for next-to-skin comfort
    • Two hand pockets
    • Concealed zipped pocket
    • YKK® moulded centre front zip
    • Elastane bound hood, hem and cuffs
    • Weight : 240g


    Calico Hooded Jacket prod shot


    I generally buy clothes at a size 8 or 10 or small and the sizes I got here were 8 or XS for the pants, and 10 for the tops and I'm happy with the fit. I like the strappy vest and hoody fitting loose, but it's possible the smaller size would have been fine if you wanted a closer fit.

    I'll be taking this lot to the Dolomites for my holidays this month, where they will be perfect, look great... and I think the Italian sun might bronze my shoulders, which will set the vest off even better.

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    4 Aug, 2019

    Glad to see from the photos that these items have been certified for use in both trad and sport climbing!

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