The Montane Alpine Resolve sure packs a punch straight out of bag. Coming in the striking Citrus Green design, it certainly ticks the first box for a winter shell jacket. Bright and bold, it will stand out in contrast to the shorter days and bleak white mountain tops of the winter season.
The next noticeable feature is the use of fabric. An updated 40 Denier Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable Technology is used for the main body, whilst reinforced panels with a beefed up 80 Denier version can be seen in the dark blue sections located in areas of high abrasion. Although this is quite a modern theme with winter jackets there is also a more traditional vibe to the Alpine Resolve which is reassuring. Take for example the sewn in Gore-tex Pro logo on the arm, this adds effort in production and a small bit of added weight compared to a heat-sealed transfer. To us this speaks volumes that Montane want to show they have designed and built a jacket to be tough going, where no corners are cut. The Alpine Resolve takes a few wears to soften the fabric but never loses that feel of wearing a proper hard-shell. The stitching is noticeably strong as too are the seams, and after much use over what has been a very decent winter season the Alpine Resolve follows suit with the many Montane products we have used, in being a solid build and taking a fair bit of abuse with little signs of wear.
At a weight of 476 grams this can be classed as a fairly mid-weight jacket, which came as a surprise given its rugged appearance and full feature set. The best of these features for us is the hood. It certainly lives up to its ‘Alpine’ title and is large enough to accommodate a helmet with near unrestricted movement and vision. Without a helmet the simple but effective three-point adjusters will pack in the slack providing a close fit to the face. A strong wired peak, and a fantastic high collar keep you well and truly out of the elements and able to focus on the job in hand. We used the Alpine Resolve in almost every condition Scotland had to throw at it, from long days spent in heavy downpours, to sideways winds with plenty of snow and ice, and we could not fault the hood one bit.
Although the cut is described as “close fitting”, we would say its more of a relaxed fit. This is another plus point, as in a size medium we were able to fit multiple layers underneath and have unrestricted movement throughout. Quite often when choosing a winter jacket, a size up is needed to accommodate extra layers. This larger sizing makes for great use in winter but then doesn’t lend itself well for the other seasons. The Alpine Resolve bridges a perfect gap offering versatility. Over the course of the Autumn and Winter months it played its part in many activities including big winter days in the Cairngorms, scrambling up steep rock in Torridon, whilst also lending itself well to low level activities including pack rafting and forest camping.
The pockets are very spacious, easily accommodating a full-size OS map, compass along with spare gloves, headtorch etc. Although we would prefer the main pocket entry to be around the chest, they are placed high enough not to be restricted by strapping from a rucksack or harness. The smaller chest pocket is a great place to store a GPS, food, or a buff. Inside is a mesh pocket which is a great feature in winter to warm up or remove a bit of unwanted moisture from a spare pair of gloves.
We were keen to see how the new Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable Technology fabric would hold up, but unfortunately we were slightly underwhelmed with the breathability aspect, or maybe we had just set our expectations too high. Breathability can be considered satisfactory compared to similar style jackets and on the plus side there are still other options to increase airflow. Opening the pit zips slightly is a great way to regulate heat whilst working hard on steep ground. A very cold blustery day on Ben Wyvis meant that a build up of ice was inevitable on the face fabric, restricting breathability. The ability to open up various zippers without fully exposing yourself to the conditions creates a good balance of protection without overheating. For times when the pace is slower the Alpine Resolve can be pulled tight to the body around the hem, hood, and wrists, letting your insulating layers beneath generate and store any built up warmth.
Zippers are tough enough to handle being encased in ice although, we would have preferred longer pulls, as with larger gloves or mitts they can be difficult to get a sound hold of. The cuffs have a wide opening with the Velcro straps providing a decent hold.
There’s a reassuring presence with the Alpine Resolve which is possibly the greatest attribute you can place on a piece of clothing. In the harshest conditions we had full faith that the Alpine Resolve would be up to the task and it became a firm favourite amongst our guides, the hood being the standout feature and one of the best we have come across. At a medium weight and great versatility, the Alpine Resolve lends itself to much more than just high mountain activities. Due to a strong build that has the feel of what a traditional hard shell jacket used to be, it’s one of those pieces of clothing we believe we will look back on in 20 years time and say, “I wish they still made that.”
Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...