Extensively tested by Trek Scotland in the Highlands of Scotland from April to October.
The main considerations we have for waterproof jackets are that they will stand up to repeated Multi Day Trekking in the pouring rain, be light enough to stash in a backpack on dry days, and not soak us through with condensation when working hard and at speed. As such, the Montane Atomic had a lot to get right to win our approval.
Waterproofness comes top of the list and the Atomic worked well at protecting our reviewer over what was a somewhat damp and cool 3 season period in Scotland. The 40D Pertex Shield with Dry Touch material hasn’t failed, even in days of persistent rain and heavy downpours. Importantly, we have kept the jacket clean and waterproofed by using the appropriate technical wash and reproofing system that all jackets need to keep them at peak performance. Despite pretty constant use, and also whilst wearing a full backpack, the jacket material shows no signs of wear which we usually find after a full season of multi day trekking. This was particularly clear around the seams and shoulder areas.
When moving at pace and generating more heat than usual, the pit zips came into their own. Although, on very warm but wet days, we experienced a small amount of condensation and a dampening of under layers. The hood can be concealed by a simple but effective fold and tie system. On colder days, although described as a slim fit, we found there was ample room to layer up, including getting a down jacket underneath. Further ventilation/heat adjustment can be made with toggles on the hem. Some people might prefer a jacket with a longer length but we never found this a problem with the lower back remaining covered when bending to pitch tents or reaching up when scrambling.
The hood has a three-way adjustment toggle system which is easy enough to use and allowed the wearing of a hat underneath. However, it needs to be understood that this is not a full mountaineering jacket and the hood does not have enough volume to take a helmet. Once fully adjusted and tightened the hood, especially with its wired peak, gives stiff and full shielding around the face. Combined with the Velcro closures on the wrist and also the hem adjusters, the jacket gives excellent protection in the worst wind and rain.
In terms of storage the jacket has two side pockets which are meshed lined. These have enough space to store gloves and a map whilst being accessible while wearing a backpack hip belt. If not full, the pockets can be opened for further ventilation although this wouldn’t be advisable in the rain. The YKK Zips on the pockets and full jacket front zip with internal storm flap, all with toggles, never leaked and functioned smoothly at all times without jamming. Ideally, an internal map pocket would be a useful addition to the jacket but not a necessity.
The Montane Atomic is a lightweight jacket at 334g for a medium size making it suitable for wearing and carrying. It has a good level of waterproofness and breathability and, with careful venting and layering, any minor problems with condensation when moving at speed can be avoided, for the most part. For us, the Atomic has been a great work horse throughout a long and wet season and is still going strong, with its seams as good as new despite hard daily use and numerous wash and reproofing cycles.
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...