The Montane Extreme smock is a high specification, single layer, soft-shell, mountain top that is a base layer, mid and shell combined into a single garment. It is designed to be used for high activity outdoor sports (climbing and hiking) in extreme cold conditions and for comfort and performance it should be worn against the skin or over a wicking base layer. This minimises the stop start routine associated with the removal and replacement of layers in a traditional shell, fleece and base layer clothing system.
The smock comprises a furry pile inner lining and a windproof and shower proof Pertex outer referred to as pile and Pertex (or P&P). The theory with P&P is that if it rains, the wearer is warm when wet, this may seem counter intuitive but any serious walker knows Goretex is only really waterproof in a lab. Put a Goretex shell on a human being in a high activity situation when it's raining and that person will get wet, not from the rain but from sweat, because Goretex is not breathable enough to vent a lot of the sweat. The shell of a P&P garment is much more breathable than a traditional waterproof therefore sweat is allowed to escape when not raining, if it is raining then the pile holds moisture away from the skin, when it stops raining the smock will dry out quickly.
Despite being heavy compared to a normal shell, remember you don't need to take it off as there are lots of venting options. However it is s advisable to wear a base layer as the pile can be a bit itchy, and also depending on what vents are open it can be a bit draughty when it is really cold.
The major drawback of the Extreme is that it's too good at keeping you warm as a result it's too hot for anything other than winter and cold autumn spring days. This is when it comes into its own, it is truly excellent for winter I used it in Skye in December and was able to moderate my temperature as I got hot from movement and cooled from stopping. Another drawback is saturation, if it is raining particularly heavily the pile can saturate, water will then stream out the bottom of the smock. This hasn't happened to me despite having been out in some very heavy rain.
The drawbacks pale into consideration for a top that can be picked up for around £70, including a detachable hood.
The Montane Extreme smock is a jacket that combines the base, mid, and outer layers into one piece, combined with an excellent ventilation system to make sure you stay comfortable and warm. Features a removable fully adjustable hood that can also be folded down when not in use. This is a clothing system for the really active user who wants to minimise the stop-start routine associated with adjusting a traditional layered clothing system. Through sophisticated venting and construction details, the Extreme Smock offers comfortable use across a much wider range of temperatures than competitive products of this type. It is ideally suited to all high activity outdoor sports in sustained and extreme cold conditions.