UKC

Montane Alpine Resolve Jacket Review

The Alpine Resolve is Montane's current top of the range waterproof shell for alpine climbing and winter mountaineering, but it wouldn't be overkill for foul weather hillwalking too. Although it's not cheap, this breathable and durable Gore-Tex Pro jacket won't hurt your pocket as much as some competitors out there. I tested it during the stormy Scottish winter we've just had, and found a lot to like.

Testing the Montane Alpine Resolve in stormy conditions   © UKC Gear
Testing the Montane Alpine Resolve in stormy conditions

What's it For?

With its rugged construction, the Alpine Resolve is a jacket built for tough weather and tough usage in the mountains, and although climbing and winter mountaineering are the main focus, it is still versatile enough for hillwalking and other activities where harsh conditions will be on the cards.

Fabric

The jacket uses a combination of 40 denier and 80 denier Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable, with a 100% recycled face fabric throughout. The entire jacket feels tough and its ability to counter flapping in the wind has kept me feeling protected by not compromising any of my underlying insulation.

Durable construction and articulated fit make it a good choice for winter climbing  © UKC Gear
Durable construction and articulated fit make it a good choice for winter climbing

As you'd expect from a jacket this rugged, it comes fully seam taped so that no rain or moisture can penetrate through the stitching. The tougher 80 denier nylon feels hard-wearing, and is located thoughtfully at the hips and shoulders where the likes of a bag or a harness will deal increased wear to the jacket, as well as in other high wearing areas such as the inside of the forearms. The 40 denier in the rest of the jacket is still pretty durable (I've yet to put a mark on it) and this thinner fabric helps keep the overall weight and bulk of the jacket down. Although tough enough for most winter climbers, if you are planning on a lot of burly mixed climbing then a jacket with a high denier throughout may be a wiser investment to last you season after season.

Montane provides lab results for waterproofness and air permeability, something that surprised us since Gore don't as a rule release these figures (the lack of which can leave consumers a little in the dark). With a 28,000 mm hydrostatic head, this fabric will definitely keep you dry come what may (20,000 mm is often stated as a benchmark for keeping you dry in prolonged extremes of rain). In practice, there is no reason to dispute this as the jacket has continued to keep me dry through the day even in prolonged stormy conditions. A durable water repellent finish (DWR) is also sprayed on the exterior which has helped bead moisture and aid it in running off the face of the jacket. This may need re-treating every season or so.

Good breathability when working up a sweat uphill  © UKC Gear
Good breathability when working up a sweat uphill

For breathability, Montane quotes a RET value of < 6, which puts this in the extremely breathable category, presumably helped by the addition of the Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable which is a version of the Gore-Tex Pro with a focus on breathability. RET is the Resistance to Evaporative Heat Transfer: the lower the RET value the less resistance to moisture transfer and therefore the more breathable the fabric. During a wet and humid day out walking in the Southern Cairngorms in early season winter conditions, I found the Alpine Resolve managed to breathe well when I was working up a sweat on the uphill, a good demonstration considering its weight.

Weight

At 472g on the home scales, my size medium comes in just below Montane's quoted value of 480g - always nice to see a brand not exaggerating weight claims. Although not lightweight, the Alpine Resolve is still a respectable weight when considering the durability and protection on offer. As you'd expect form a winter-oriented shell with its thicker fabric, it will take up a reasonable amount of space in the rucksack. When packing the jacket into its hood I can manage to get it to just larger than the size of a 1L Nalgene bottle, a packed size which seems absolutely worth it over a lighter, less durable jacket in winter.

Wide cuffs easy to close over thick gloves with velcro strap  © UKC Gear
Wide cuffs easy to close over thick gloves with velcro strap

Fit

A female version of the Alpine Resolve is also on offer. The tailoring is Montane's 'Active Fit' which is designed to be closer fitting for higher exertion activities.

The length in the body feels right, dropping further at the back below the bum for added protection, and the articulated underarms allow for minimal hem lift when I have been reaching up with my tools. The sleeves are long, and wide at the cuff to fit over bulky gloves and stay there.

A harness sits comfortably over the top and the chest pocket is still accessible when the hand warmer pockets are not  © UKC Gear
A harness sits comfortably over the top and the chest pocket is still accessible when the hand warmer pockets are not

Being slim in the body, the active fit has suited me well, even with the addition of bulky winter layering underneath. Those with broad shoulders may find this jacket restrictive in this area, but the cut follows my body closely whilst still allowing freedom of movement. The chest and shoulders are nicely fitted to me, and I'm not left feeling lost in a flappy or boxy shell, and the waist is close enough to not leave me with bunched-up areas when I have my harness over the top. Top marks for fit on me but it would be best to try on before buying if you're broader, especially considering the number of layers you may wear underneath it in winter.

Cinchable hood can be brought in close to the face for good weather protection  © UKC Gear
Cinchable hood can be brought in close to the face for good weather protection

Enough room to accommodate a helmet when climbing  © UKC Gear
Enough room to accommodate a helmet when climbing

Hood

I've found the hood on the jacket roomy enough to accommodate a helmet, leaving the collar resting just below the mouth. If I was being harsh, with a helmet on, the brim doesn't quite extend as far out as I would like it to, meaning some drips land on me from my helmet instead of running off round the rim of the hood. The front and back drawcords can be easily operated by pulling to compress the hood structure vertically and horizontally - although can these can be fiddly with gloves on when trying to release the tension in the front cinches. This tension positions the hood nicely around the face, with my field of vision unaffected but a great deal of protection given against the elements.

The hood also performs well when climbing, allowing for the full range of motion with only a slight bit of restriction when looking downwards. When you're not wearing a helmet, it tightens nicely onto your head.

Features

The Alpine Resolve has four pockets, three of which are external and fitted with YKK Aquaguard vislon zip, which are a polyurethane laminate taped zip to provide added water repellency. Although these are not completely waterproof, so far I have had no issue with them wetting through and I trust them with my phone in them in all but the wettest of conditions. Two large handwarmer pockets are large enough to just fit an OS map (although might be a squeeze with a cover over the map) and provide the jacket with a bit more of an all-round feel rather than being solely climbing focused. The chest area pocket is large enough to store some climbing essentials when the hand warmer pockets are covered by a harness. The internal mesh drop pocket is just large enough to fit my spare gloves but this is positioned slightly too high for my liking, at the chest - not a huge problem.

Internal mesh pocket can squeeze in a spare pair of chunky gloves  © UKC Gear
Internal mesh pocket can squeeze in a spare pair of chunky gloves

Two internal drawcords at the hem are easy to locate and use with gloves on. Internally the cord is fixed up into the jacket to avoid this being in the way whilst fiddling with gear on the harness, avoiding any accidental clipping of carabiners to the drawcord. The pit zips on either side provide adequate length to dump heat when working up a sweat walking uphill, and have served well on wet humid days.

Conclusion

The Alpine Resolve is a great jacket for mountaineering and winter climbing alike, and thanks to its slightly lighter fabric and the addition of hand pockets it's well suited to walkers too. With the tough waterproof and breathable fabrics you would expect in a hard wearing winter shell, it should keep going season on season. It may not be quite as snazzy as some winter mountaineering shells on the market, but it comes in at a more affordable price point (albeit still nowhere near cheap), and for the jacket you're getting it represents really good value by comparison. If you're slightly broader it's probably worth trying on to assess the fit before making the investment, but slimmer builds will hopefully find a great fit, where many other winter jackets on the market can feel baggy.

Montane say:

The Men's Alpine Resolve waterproof jacket is a tough, technical shell jacket especially designed for high-altitude Alpine climbing and mountaineering. This durable, breathable waterproof jacket has a GORE-TEX PRO membrane which provides excellent waterproof protection.

Breathable fabrics and a tough 40/80 Denier ensure this waterproof jacket is highly equipped to handle challenging weather conditions and extreme terrain. It's what makes it such a popular waterproof jacket amongst local mountain rescue teams!

  • Fit: Active Mountain 
  • 40D GORE-TEX Pro Most Breathable in the main body
  • 80D GORE-TEX Pro Most Breathable across the shoulders, hips and elbows
  • 100% recycled nylon face
  • Hydrostatic Head: 28,000 mm
  • Air permeability: RET <6
  • Fully adjustable roll-away climbing helmet-compatible hood with three-point adjustment and stiffened peak
  • Two-way pit zips with YKK AQUAGUARD® zips 
  • Two map-sized hand pockets with YKK AQUAGUARD® VISLON® zips

  • Sizes: S-XXL (men) 8-16 (women)
  • Weight: 480g

For more information montane.com


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