An Introduction to Montbell

Montbell Co. Ltd. was established in Osaka, Japan, on August 1, 1975. With a goal to produce high quality outdoor equipment.

Since then the company has developed a reputation for high quality, light weight outdoor kit. The range covers clothing, sleeping bags, tents, backpacks and an array of accessories. Montbell is now a world leader in producing some of the most innovative, lightweight and functional kit across a number of categories.

For a number of years only direct sales were possible from Montbell in Europe so here at Ultralight we are extremely proud to be one of the main sellers in the UK now. It especially important as the 'Light & Fast' ethos of the Montbell brand is perfectly aligned with our own here at Ultralight. 

Montbell focuses on "Light & Fast" and does so without compromising on quality, durability or function. The definition of what is functional can be very broad. It naturally depends on the products intended usage, user specific requirements and circumstances. Montbell takes this issue seriously and tries to develop a well-balanced and wide range of products that can be used in extreme conditions for different intended uses. The range and depth of products offered is what makes Montbell an extremely competitive outdoor gear and clothing company.

When designing functionality into products we are continually challenged to satisfy conflicting requirements. As in the case of tents, making products light and compact, could negatively impact its wind resistance and/ or thermal capabilities. In outerwear, for example, waterproofing could negatively impact breathability. Going extremely light could compromise the durability of the product. Montbell, therefore, designs and creates backcountry gear and apparel with a clear definition of use and function.

As a pioneer of the "Light & Fast" philosophy, Montbell learned early from European mountaineers that our technical equipment must be engineered for reliability in order to be functional for multi-month expeditions as well as the lightning fast assaults that Isamu Tatsuno built his reputation on. With our focus on tough materials with an ethereal quality, we maintain that we are "Light & Fast, yet designed to last."

The history of Montbell stretches back over 45 years now. The company has supported numerous expeditions, athletes and causes along with developing a wide range of clothing and equipment offers over this time.

From the very beginning when they began making rain gear and sleeping bags suitable for the rainy climate of Japan, the idea of durable, lightweight gear was a focal point.

Montbell have a proud history and over the past 45 years they have experimented with innovative materials and design techniques to create many groundbreaking outdoor products, expanded sales across several continents, supported numerous expeditions all over the world and have received a multitude of awards in recognition of their progress and development.

Highlighting Innovation

1000 FP Down Jacket

In 2013 Montbell introduced the Plasma 1000 Down Jacket, using the highest quality 1,000 fill power goose down available.

Using the EX Light Down Jacket as the foundation, we have taken ultra-light insulation to the next level with the Plasma 1000 Down Jacket! Epitomizing no-frills warmth for your core, this piece utilizes industry-leading 1000 fill power goose down and 7-denier nylon face fabric to achieve a minuscule weight of only 136g. Cut for a trim fit in order to work more effectively with outer layers.

  • This unique sewing pattern is designed to promote down loft while keeping the thread used during stitching to a minimum ensuring the garment is as light as possible.
  • We utilize some of the smallest fibers and thinnest fabrics available to achieve a highly compressible ultra-light garment. This silky 7-denier shell has the feel of cotton, but is durable enough to withstand the rigors of normal use for an insulated inner piece. Weighing in at a spartan 21 grams per square meter this highly wind resistant fabric is one of the lightest used in the outdoor industry!
  • Fill power (or loftiness) refers to the volume in cubic inches that 1 ounce of down will displace. The higher the fill power, the less down is needed to achieve a given thermal profile. All other things being equal (fabric, construction method, and fill amount), a jacket made with high fill power down (1000) is lighter and more compressible than an equally warm one made with lower quality down (550).
  • At Montbell, we source down from both the European and Asian markets to satisfy a variety of characteristics (supply/availability, low cost, consistent quality, humane practices, etc.) and maintain our lofty standards. Every season we seek to balance the superior quality for which we are known and the lowest possible raw materials cost. We change down sourcing companies frequently to ensure that our customers have access to superior products at the lowest price possible. In the course of these efforts, Montbell never purchases down from operations that practice “live-plucking” methods. We only utilize down plumes and feathers collected as a by-product of water fowl raised to meet the demands of the food industry.

Super Spiral-Stretch System

In 2000 Montbell produced two new sleeping bag series, the Super Stretch Burrow Bag and the Super Stretch Down Hugger, using the Super Stretch System.

Then in 2009 they introduced the "U.L. Spiral Down Hugger" sleeping bag, which incorporates Montbell's Spiral Stretch System. Won BACKPACKER's 2009 Editor's Choice Award.

By adopting a classic tailor's trick and paring it with high grade materials Montbell has brought extreme comfort and thermal efficiency to the light weight backcountry enthusiast. We found that integrating a woven fabric "cut on the bias" and orienting the fabric's warp and weft threads at 45 degrees to most major seam lines the sleeping bag becomes more fluid in nature. To create an even more comfortable system we utilize an elasticized thread in the stitch to create small "gathers" in the quilting. Through the combination of strategic seam orientation and the stretch provided by gathered quilting we offer unrivaled fit and comfort. These innovations allow the sleeping bag to move with you as you change positions throughout the night, drawing the 800 fill goose down closer to your body and eliminating drafty dead spaces. Keep body heat inside your sleeping bag, where it belongs.

At Montbell, we source down from both the European and Asian markets to satisfy a variety of characteristics (supply/availability, low cost, consistent quality, humane practices, etc.) and maintain our lofty standards. Every season we seek to balance the superior quality for which we are known and the lowest possible raw materials cost. We change down sourcing companies frequently to insure that our customers have access to superior products at the lowest price possible. In the course of these efforts, Montbell never purchases down from operations that practice “live-plucking” methods. We only utilize down plumes and feathers collected as a by-product of water fowl raised to meet the demands of the food industry.

We will continue to look for sources of down that maximize value to our customers and allow Montbell products to perform at the highest level.

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