Montane launched their first Polartec NeoShell waterproof jackets this year and they are excellent. The Further Faster is the lighter weight of the two models and the one best suited to hillwalking and backpacking. Neoshell is the most breathable of the waterproof membranes or coatings I’ve used and my current favourite. Montane has married this with a superb design, resulting in one of the best waterproof jackets I’ve tried in many years. The Further Faster jacket is lightweight but the fabric is sturdy enough for year-round mountain use. All the features are excellent. The hood has a wired peak and wraps round the side of the face for great protection. It’s roomy enough to wear a thick hat underneath in cold weather but it’s not one of those vast helmet-compatible hoods so when the volume adjuster is tightened it doesn’t result in folds of material at the back of the head. The hood moves with the head too, so it doesn’t impede visibility. The pockets are roomy enough for maps and lie above a pack hipbelt. Behind the substantially-toothed water-repellent front zip there’s a stiff flap with a rain gutter to take away any rain that gets through the zip. The Further Faster is quite short at the front, my only minor complaint, but does have an extended back. Overall this is as good as waterproof jackets get.

First published: June 2014