Chris Townsend likes this fast-wicking, warm, lightweight fleece

The Montane Protium Fleece has a basic design and looks quite plain. The fabric is not so simple, however. It’s smooth on the outside, but the brushed inner has a raised grid of tiny squares of fluffy fleece. This makes the jacket very breathable and warm for the thickness and the weight. As usual with fleece the fabric isn’t windproof, and a shell is needed in all but the lightest breeze. Worn under a waterproof jacket it wicks moisture fast. This really tests the breathability of the shell! When damp it dries fast too. Most fleece does all this, but I think the Protium is a little faster wicking and drying than fleece without a grid inner and also a little warmer than ones of equivalent weight.

The fabric is very stretchy and moves easily with you. There are no adjustments at cuffs or hem, but this doesn’t matter as the stretch and the close-fit means these stay in place anyway. Montane describes the fit as ‘Active Mountain – close-fitting for fast-paced activities’ and it is a little smaller than other fleeces with the same size label I’ve tried recently. The Large size just fits me worn over a base layer.

The jacket has a neat snug fitting collar. There is a version with a hood that costs £5 more. There are zipped handwarmer pockets, but these are covered by a pack hipbelt and would be more useful if a little higher up. The Hoodie has a chest pocket.

As a basic fleece jacket for year-round use the Protium is excellent. I’ve worn it on several cold days, both as an outer layer when it wasn’t windy and under both windproof and waterproof shells in more stormy weather and it’s performed well every time. The cost is low for a technical fleece.

RECOMMENDED: This product has been awarded our ‘Recommended’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it is a strong product which works well for its intended purpose.