Montane Alpine Raid Hoodie
The Montane Alpine Raid Hoodie is a fleece mid-layer designed to be tough, stretchy, and unrestrictive. Its best uses are as part of layering system where its high breathability can be maximized during exertion, such as climbing, and the slim fit and smooth face can slide under a shell layer to block wind/water.
Thumb loops, a large chest pocket, and smooth, quality zipper show attention to the details of an alpine-targeted hoodie. I find the citrus green colour too bright for my personal preference (it also comes in black and firefly orange), and I miss hand pockets, especially as they come with minimal weight gain, but those critiques are very small compared to the overall success of Alpine Raid Hoodie.
- Scuba hood
- Thumb loops
- Smooth zipper
- Chest pocket
- Drop hem
- Absence of hand pockets
- Wrists lack much stretch
To start, a little about me, for reference. I am 6 foot and around 175 pounds, medium (to athletic) shoulders, and a 33-inch waist. I am admittedly a huge fan of the way Montane clothing fits as it feels tailored to me, so I knew what to expect (or at least what I was hoping for) in this piece. I tested two Montane shirts during the summer of 2018 for the Review Corps (the Dart Zip-Neck and the Dart T-Shirt) and my opinions of those still stand today.
On to this hoodie...It's slim, without being restrictive, and with a little extra length in the hem. The Alpine Raid is designed to hug close to the body, but the large amount of stretch in the fabric keeps it from feeling confining. The sleeves are long and allow you to pull the hoodie over your hands and utilize the thumb loops for a little extra hand warmth.
The hem comes down below the hips, which allows it to stay put under a harness, a backpack waist belt, or when tucked into pants. The form fit doesn’t leave any excess fabric to billow out.
I find the wrist area a little tight. It's not an issue once on, however, getting it on and off is a bit of an issue. That said, I wear large watches (Garmin Fenix 3, Filson Chronograph) every day, and have for the past four years—that certainly doesn’t help.
The hood is a scuba style (snug) fit designed to go under a helmet. I love this style of hood as it can accommodate almost any combination of toque and helmet. For example, it can work with a thin toque underneath the hood, a thicker one overtop the hood, and it can fit under a helmet with an exterior shell hood covering the whole thing.
Interior of the hood has an elastic to keep it snug
It's personal preference, obviously, but the tested colour is incredibly bright for me and the hoodie only comes in three colours—this "citrus" green, a bright "firefly" orange, and black...with orange accents. I'd love to see a black, blue, dark green, or grey option.
All the seams are flat-locked and moved off the top of the shoulders to minimize rub points.
One of my favourite parts of the Alpine Raid Hoodie is its high level of moisture transfer. I feel like I’m literally repeating myself from my previous Montane review, but the Alpine Raid does a great job of dispersing moisture to the outer layer of fabric, leaving the user feeling relatively dry.
Pair this with a baselayer that works equally well and you'll minimize the cold shivers at rest stops and belays. I have worn this hoodie to the “almost soaked” point and had it dry out—through body heat and sitting beside a fire—and it was comfortable enough to wear to bed.
Resistance (against exterior moisture) is futile. This thing is like a sponge. Be prepared for rain and snow with an outer layer.
So far my uses of the Alpine Raid Hoodie have been during cold weather, and as such this has been utilized primarily as a mid-layer. I would put the Alpine Raid at mid-level compared to other fleeces I've worn. It is not exceptionally thick, however the quality, high level fit, and gridded interior leaves little dead air space to warm, and when paired with a windbreak traps a good amount of heat. That said, this is definitely an active layer and is at its best when your body is generating a lot of heat.
A fleece hoodie will never pack the same warmth-to-weight ratio of a synthetically insulated jacket. However it does pack down smaller, handles moisture much better, and weighs only 332 grams.
I feel like the Alpine Raid Hoodie has a significant usable range of around -10°C to +10°C (14-50°F). I also have worn it around the house and yard and find it comfortable and able to vent heat well in rising temps. As the temps warm up I see a lot of promise in this piece as an active outer layer for cool mornings and late belays.
As a temperature range reference I feel it works well as a mid-layer (paired with an outer shell) from 0°C down to -10°C (32°F down to 14°F), and as an outer layer for high exertion activities (e.g. ice climbing, hiking uphill, backpacking) from 0°C up to +10°C (32°F up to 50°F).
As opposed to the above gridded interior, the outer face of the fabric is smooth, which allows it to slide easily under an outer or waterproof-breathable layer. The perfect fit doesn’t bunch or cause any hot spots and the long hem length allows it to stay tucked in nicely. The scuba style hoodie fits a small beanie underneath (although it acts similar to one on its own), or a thicker one over top, and it fits under a helmet leaving zero space for wet snow entry, which is always a positive.
So far the Alpine Raid Hoodie has been utilized primarily as a mid-layer, but I see a lot of promise in this piece as an active outer layer for cool mornings and late belays. That is purely speculation as the most demanding thing from an abrasion standpoint that I’ve put it through are rather mundane—as a pillow inside my sleeping bag, worn under a shell, and wrapping around the handle of a hot pot. Such is the life of a mid-layer in the winter, I guess.
Montane advertises this as a highly durable fleece as it uses a PONTETORTO Tecnostretch fabric with a Cordura face for abrasion resistance, along with high elasticity and high thermal insulation. I planned on getting out to use this in warmer spring temps for a couple pitches of climbing. However this quarantine has had different plans.
Montane is a top notch brand with amazing product control and this hoodie is nothing short of superior quality. All stitching is straight, flat locked, and moved off of areas of high abrasion or hot spot potential. The chest pocket is a nylon stretch pocket panel with enough room for easy access to a GPS, energy bar, or cell phone for pics. Clearly a lot of thought has been put into the small details of the piece's end use—alpine climbing and active mountain use.
The Montane Alpine Raid Hoodie is a highly breathable, well fitted technical fleece designed for active use in the mountains. The hood, thumb loops, and drop hem all ensure that there are no gaps for cold air to seep in, and the slim fit maximizes retaining warmth. My gripes are few, and small, in that I find the test colour incredibly bright (and I’m a subdued kinda guy) and I think the minimal weight gain of hand pockets would be far outweighed by the functionality.
I received the Alpine Raid Hoodie on November 16, 2019, so I have more than five months of testing at the time of review. It was a predominantly wet winter, and I used it as a mid-layer throughout the climbing season with a shell. It has been used (conservatively) 40 times and washed another 10 (cold wash, medium heat dry, as well as beside a fire).
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample for testing and review provided by Montane)
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