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Montane Men's Hi-Q Luxe Jacket

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Montane Men's Hi-Q Luxe Jacket synthetic insulated jacket

Specs

Price MSRP: $239.00
Historic Range: $136.90-$238.95
Weight 575 g / 20 oz
Fill PrimaLoft Gold Luxe

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

This jacket screams PERFORMANCE!!! The Hi-Q Luxe Jacket is a highly water resistant/windproof mid-weight synthetic jacket that continues to perform when wet, yet still has the positive attributes of a goose down jacket.

PrimaLoft Gold Luxe synthetic fill is much lighter and more compressible than previously available synthetic fills. Along with a redesigned cuff/sleeve configuration, this jacket excels with temperature regulation, making it an ideal three-season piece of gear for hikers, backpackers, and anyone that loves to spend time out-of-doors in below freezing temperatures.

Pros

  • Excellent design and manufacturing quality
  • Very warm/retains warmth when wet
  • Excellent designed recessed sleeve cuff configuration
  • Windproof
  • High quality DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treatment

Cons

  • Not odor resistant
  • Some may view as heavy at 20 oz.
  • Zipper garages don’t easily accept zipper (on chest and hand warmer pockets)
  • Some may not like the reversed UK style zipper
  • No included stuff sack

The Montane Hi-Q Luxe is overall a streamlined jacket beyond its space-age micro-baffle design and Pertex/PrimaLoft Gold Luxe fabric. It has easy to use zippers, a simple hood, and has few "bells and whistles." The hem adjustment design is quite literally "a cinch."

Montane has thoughtfully considered all of the most important features needed for a top of the line insulated jacket. I found this jacket to excel beyond my expectations backpacking on the AT on several very cold nights. This product finds a way to keep things simple, easy to use, and be tailored for sporty people who spend lots of time outside when the temperature falls well below the freezing point.

This jacket may be especially suited to those who plan on being exposed to long periods of time in wet and very cold weather, or on long excursions.

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Specifications:

  • Shell: Pertex Quantum Rip-Stop
  • Fill: PrimaLoft Gold Luxe
  • Lining: PEAQ Down (synthetic material)
  • Weight: 20oz./575g
  • Fill Weight: 180g (Men’s Medium)

Jacket Fill: PrimaLoft Gold Luxe synthetic insulation is a new, innovative material that is becoming more present in the outdoor market. Although heavier than goose down, this fill has a similar loft to down which is noticeable with this jacket’s anatomical micro-baffle design.


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Outer Shell: The jacket is made of 100% windproof PERTEX Quantum Rip-stop that is treated with a superior DWR (Durable Water Repellent). Water beads on the shell fabric as expected, but eventually "wets out" like any other water resistant fabric. I have noticed that it takes a persistent driving rain for this to occur. Being a lightweight shell material, the fabric is vulnerable to thorns, barbs, etc.


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A close-up of the Pertex shell material shows its ripstop construction.

Inner Liner: Montane uses PEAQ Down lining that is designed to be "supremely" comfortable, as well as highly breathable, and fast drying. I have found that these are valid claims, however the name of this inner lining is a bit confusing. This jacket has no goose down, I can only presume that it is called PEAQ Down Lining because of its soft, silky feel.

Beyond semantics, this material is really (REALLY) comfortable! The only concern that I found with the pleasant green inner lining, is the retention of sweaty odor—the universal setback of all synthetic fiber. I found the odor to lessen a bit by airing out, but not substantially. Fortunately, this jacket is machine washable, so frequent visits to the dry cleaner aren’t necessary!

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PEAQ Down lining feels silky smooth.


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Montane has been making products based out of the UK since 1993.

Design/Fit/Comfort

The Hi-Q Luxe jacket has been specifically designed for an active lifestyle. One can have full freedom of movement when reaching, stretching, climbing, etc. without lower back or wrist exposure. The articulated arms allow true full range of motion, staying true to the manufacturer’s claims.

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The articulated arms don't expose wrists when making a long reach.


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No back draft during typical movement.

This is an extremely comfortable jacket! I found the medium size to fit perfectly, being 5'10" 160 lb. with a somewhat lean build. As typical with any cold weather jacket, comfort begins to become a concern once wearing the jacket at its upper temperature limit. I personally found the jacket to become uncomfortable above 50°F. When backpacking, I found myself taking the jacket off in the 40s due to high output. 

Warmth 

This jacket is very warm, and easily competes with an 800 fill power down jacket.  When the weather is too warm for the jacket, it compresses well into a pack or stuff sack. Although minor, a jacket that boasts compressibility should come with an appropriately sized stuff sack.


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Pretty good compressibility for a jacket that will keep you warm down to the teens wearing only a base layer (Note: Stuff sack is not included)

I found my personal lower temperature limit around 10°F wearing only a short-sleeved synthetic base layer, during low/no activity. I took the pup for a slow walk on a cold windy day at a temperature of around 14°F, wearing only a Patagonia Capilene 2 short-sleeve base layer, along with an Icebreaker neck gaiter.

This combination was close to its lower temperature limit, but I was impressed by the jacket’s capability! I tend to be warmer than the average person, and found the upper comfort limit at around the 50°F range. Within these parameters, this jacket meets Montane’s claim of "all day comfort and freedom."


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Layering

The Hi-Q Luxe jacket is roomy enough for layering both underneath, and on top. Although warm enough to wear with only a base layer, I have comfortably worn several layers underneath. One can wear a cotton thermal shirt with a flannel when in town with ease, or wear a 260 rated Icebreaker shirt with a Patagonia R1 Hoody during cold nights on the trail.

When at camp wearing these additional layers, I found myself very comfortable in the mid-teens! I have not worn a waterproof shell over the jacket extensively for testing purposes, but this is an excellent method for layering with this jacket; especially when on multi-day backpacking trips in extreme weather.

Down vs. PrimaLoft Gold

Conditions vary so greatly outdoors, therefore a quality piece of gear needs to adequately perform in them. A jacket that has such versatility will ultimately have weaknesses in lieu of its strengths. This jacket is very quick drying and breathable, but does not have a waterproof outer shell to accomplish this.

One of this jacket’s biggest benefits is the unsung hero: full-time thermal insulation. PrimaLoft Gold Luxe continues to provide insulation when wet. The primary reason goose down loses its thermal efficiency when wet is its loss of loft. PrimaLoft is a microfiber that was initially developed for the United States Army in the 1980’s to provide a synthetic fiber that wouldn’t lose its insulative properties once wet.

I found this jacket to keep my warm, even after extended time in the rain and snow. After being wet inside and out, the jacket fully dried in a few hours inside at a temperature of about 55°F.

Features/Function

The Montane Hi-Q Luxe jacket is a fully functional, yet simple design when it comes to features. Two hand warmer pockets, an exterior chest pocket, a two-way zipper, and an elasticized hem. That’s it. For an insulated cold weather jacket, that’s all I want. The reversed coil zippered hand warmer pockets could be considered a little bit low for use when wearing a pack with a hip belt, but I personally don’t prefer higher pockets, or use them when backpacking.


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Handwarmer pocket


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Handwarmer pockets are still accessible when wearing a hip belt.


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The chest pocket is large enough to hold a compact camera, wallet, or energy bar.

Other than the construction materials, my favorite feature hands-down, is the cuff and sleeve configuration. The elasticized cuff is recessed by about an inch, which I was not immediately struck by. Shortly after use, I changed my mind, noticing that the sleeves were very easy to slide up near-to the elbow.

This feature makes temperature regulation quick and easy when one is walking on the trail with a pack. The recessed cuff also works extremely well with wearing gloves, rather than having to pull the cuff of the jacket over the glove for an air seal.


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The elasticized inner cuff is recessed by approximately 1 inch.


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I cannot stress how much I have grown to love this cuff design.


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The cuffs allow one to pull the sleeves to the elbow with ease.


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The cuffs easily create a nice seal with a glove without a gauntlet.


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The main zipper is a YKK reversed coil, two-way design of excellent quality. This jacket has the nicest anti-snag zipper baffle of any jacket I’ve seen. Like many jackets on today’s market, the top of the zipper has a chin guard to prevent catching skin, or a beard…

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The anti-snag baffle does a prefect job.


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The anti-snag material and chin guard meet the elastic hood, and do not impede zipper function.

There is an easy to use plastic snap at the bottom of the main zipper to prevent the lower zipper from raising. Having never had a concern with this, I did not commonly secure the snap.

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Montane uses excellent craftsmanship, from top to bottom.

The tail of the jacket has an adjustable elastic hem that is well thought out, and does its job as designed. This prevents unwanted heat loss, an essential feature of a quality winter jacket. With the designed drop hem, there are no improvements to be made in design.


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The drop hem eliminates any chance of backdraft.


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The hem toggle adjustment works well, as designed.

The hood of the jacket is designed well, and is very comfortable. It has a simple elastic cuff around the perimeter, which is neither too tight or too loose.


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The hood does its job sealing wind from getting to the ears and neck.

The hood is designed to be worn both on top, and underneath a helmet for climbers. Being only a beginner indoor climber, I did not test this feature. The hood can also be rolled to stow, if desired. The jacket has an elastic loop with a clip for this purpose.


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A simple design with a bungee and hook to stow the hood.


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Closeup of the hood retainer clip.

 

Construction & Durability

After reviewing this Montane jacket, I am confident the top-notch quality of construction will last for years. there has been no evidence of wear after solely wearing this as my primary jacket for the last three months. I would personally wear an abrasion resistant jacket as an outer shell in the case of bushwhacking; the Pertex Quantum Ripstop material would certainly not take a liking to burrs, brambles, and thorn bushes.

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Another closeup of the Pertex Quantum Ripstop.

Although not problematic, my only construction-related gripe are the zipper "garages" for the chest pocket, and hand warmer pockets. Being that they are only made of shell material, they flatten, and the zipper does not easily slide into the top of the zipper for maximum water resistance.


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The zipper garages easily flatten, making it less intuitive for a good seal.


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Zipper properly stowed in its garage.

 

Conditions

This jacket has been tested from late autumn to mid-winter in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA. It's been worn during two cold weather backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail, taken on many day hikes, and worn around town casually. Temperatures have ranged from ~10°F to 60°F. The jacket was also extensively worn during the recent blizzard.

Conclusion

After running through the ringer day after day, I have found that this is one of, if not the highest quality insulated jacket I have ever worn and tested. Whether it is walking the dog on a cold January day, or trekking across the land, the Montane Hi-Q Luxe jacket will continue to perform, regardless of the weather, temperature, or length of the journey!


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Stylish and functional, the Hi-Q Luxe is a great addition to the Montane line.

Many thanks to the people out at Montane for the opportunity to test the Hi-Q Luxe Jacket for the Trailspace Gear Review Corps.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Montane for testing and review)

pillowthread

The new standard for reviews, this one. Almost can't see the bar anymore...


5 years ago
Daniel Oates

Great review, Sean. Looks like a winner!


5 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for the test and review, Sean. It sounds like you had a real winner of a jacket!


5 years ago

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