Montane Fireball Lite is recommended by David Lintern as a snug-fitting hybrid jacket which is capable of keeping some wind and rain at bay.
The Montane Fireball Lite sits in the middle of the range in the men’s test, in terms of weight, warmth and performance. It’s a hybrid jacket, with insulation provided by 40gsm of synthetics in the main body and hood, and grid fleece under the arms and on the sides of the torso. Because of the fleece, it’s both warmer and slightly snugger fitting than some others here.
- Stars: 4/5
- Price: £190
- Weight: 338g
- Pros: fit, especially drop tail and long sleeves
- Cons: zippers prone to catch, no chest pocket
Fill: Recycled 40g/m2 Dynamic Eco Insulation in body and hood (100% recycled), Thermo Grid stretch fleece side panels and underarms | Shell: Featherlite™ Air nylon stretch outer and lining | Hood: elasticated | Cuffs: elasticated | Hem: elasticated, adjustable drawcord | Pockets: 2 handwarmer, zipped, slightly bellowed | Sizes: S-XXL | Women’s version: yes
The fit is dialled for colder weather use and trim, but not tight – it works best with only a baselayer underneath. The sleeves are a decent length and tail is dropped, so there’s no rise when the arms are in use. The shell does a good job of keeping the wind, and some of the rain at bay and giving the jacket some structure, and it’s not the most breathable on test. A decent proportion of the materials used are recycled.
Sleeves and hood are simple and elasticated and work well. The hood sits under a helmet if needed and the sleeves can be pulled up past the elbow, courtesy of the stretch in the grid fleece panels. The hem is two way adjustable to lock out the cold.
Pockets are a bit more of an issue. The two handwarmers are well sized and sited above a hipbelt or harness, but are slightly bellowed – a good thing, until the fabric catches on the zippers – which is does often. There’s also no chest pocket, a grievous omission on a jacket of this weight and build, in my view.
I really like the Montane Fireball Lite – it’s a smart looking, cheaper alternative to the Patagonia Nano Air Light Hybrid (see Kirsty’s review in this issue), another hybrid offering, and a comfortable (and comforting) thing to keep the chill at bay, from hill to high street. I do find it too warm for mountain walking in warmer weather and it badly needs a chest pocket. I’ve yet to test in full winter conditions but I’d have no qualms about using it in foul weather – in fact, I think it will come into its own when the mercury drops.
Compare the Montane Fireball Lite with more of the best insulated jackets as reviewed by our expert gear testers.