Chris Townsend likes this breathable and environmentally-friendly two-layer mid-layer from Klättermusen.
The Klättermusen Vale is a two-layer mid-layer designed to be very breathable and “to function perfectly with a technical shell jacket”. What this means is a jacket with a wind-resistant but not 100% windproof outer and a fluffy inner. It’s far more wind-resistant than a standard fleece and fine as an outer garment in moderate breezes but once the wind picks up a windproof shell is needed.
The outer has a PFC-free DWR treatment and resists light rain and snow. The breathability is excellent, and the Vale is very comfortable.
The design is functional. It has Klättermusen’s signature front zip that curves to the side at the top and so doesn’t rub on the chin (or in my case get tangled with my beard).
The pockets are quite roomy, though not map-sized, and they sit above a hipbelt. The front and pocket zips have long pullers that make them easy to operate with mitts on.
The hood is close-fitting as it’s designed to go under a helmet. It’s not adjustable but only blows back a little in strong winds. Cold air does enter at the sides though as it can’t be tightened around the face and I found it worked best worn over a hat. The hood has a layer of the shell fabric inside so the fleece doesn’t catch on your hair.
The cuffs are non-adjustable and quite narrow. Despite the breathability of the fabric, I’d rather have some adjustment here. There are thumb loops to stop the sleeves from riding up.
The cut is close-fitting. This is a garment to be worn under other layers, not over them. I found the large size just right worn over a base layer.
The Vale has good environmental credentials. The outer is 100% recycled. The inner is a 64% recycled fluffy fleece-like version of Primaloft Bio which breaks down in landfill, oceans and wastewater unlike most synthetic fabrics which produce non-biodegradable microfibres.
Klättermusen says the Vale is for ski-mountaineering. I have worn it for ski touring but also for winter walking and it performs well for both. Warmth is about the same as a midweight fleece, but the Vale’s wind resistance means a shell jacket is needed less often. The weight is reasonable for the warmth provided. The cost is high though.
RECOMMENDED: This product has been awarded our ‘Recommended’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it is a strong product that works well for its intended purpose.