The Montane Tigertooth Pro is quite some jacket. It’s a warm, winter softshell and loaded with top quality features. I’ve used it so much out on the hill in the few months I’ve had it that I can safely say it’s one of my products of 2013. High praise indeed, but why?
Firstly, as a softshell designed for winter, it is thick and warm. Polartec Power Shield, released way back in 1998, is an excellent material, but the Pro version, released in 2010, improves on it and is water-resistant enough to keep out showers (although the DWR treatment will eventually wear off and leave it more susceptible) and also blocks out the wind. In water pressure tests at home it took quite some effort to squeeze a small amount of liquid through the fabric. Its main advantage however, is its breathability – which I found superb. There’s also some stretch.
The Tigertooth Pro uses Power Shield Pro that has a deep pile fleece inside in a grid pattern that traps air and is very warm. The thinner regular Power Shield is used under the arms and on the inner arms down to the cuff. I’ve used this jacket in rain and in temperatures to about minus -3C, just over a long-sleeved baselayer. When the wind and rain really ratcheted up, I used a very light waterproof that eliminated any chance of ingress. This makes it a versatile piece for winter.
It is Montane’s design, however, that really makes the Tigertooth excel. It has four large outer pockets: two hand-warmer pockets that open above a hipbelt (but are slightly cut off at the bottom) with a mesh lining for ventilation; and a chest pocket on each side. The chest pockets are easily big enough to swallow a map. There’s a small sleeve pocket too.
The helmet-compatible hood is wired, as it should be; the volume adjuster drawcord can be pulled with one hand, as it should be; and so can the side drawcords. In fact, everything is as it should be. The hood can be rolled down too. The only criticism I have is that when the hood is pulled up, the zip pulls up to the mouth, however when the hood is down the zip feels a little tight and I found I had to keep it unzipped a little. However the microfleece lining is comfortable and this is only a minor niggle. Elsewhere there are Velcro cuffs, a hem drawcord and a good baffle behind the zip. The cut is large and the sleeves long to allow for more layering underneath.
Chris Townsend has awarded Montane’s Sabretooth (£160) softshell Best Buy on two occasions. It is a thinner jacket (and £90 cheaper) than the Montane Tigertooth Pro, using the regular Power Shield, and more suitable for year-round use. But both are exceptional garments. A lot of thought has gone into them and it shows.
If you’re looking for other waterproof jackets then check out our guide to the Best waterproof jackets | 10 of the best reviewed