The original apple brand
No, Montane have never produced aesthetically pleasing electronic devices the have the ability consume your attention in away few things can come close to. What I mean is physical apples, pink ladies, braburns, galas…. the brand from the North of England have long been using apples to compare sizes of products in stuff sacs. Much like the Rab Phantom Pull-On I reviewed last week, I have misplaced the stuff sac for Montane’s Podium Pull-On.
I doubt I’ll be winning any awards from their marketing department.
See what I did there? Podium. Award.
I’ll get my coat.
Those will an eye for detail will have observed the odd, borderline strange colouring of the Podium Pull-On. Do not run to Vision Express or your chosen optician, your eyes aren’t failing you. That’s because the Podium is a see through, with a tinge of grey to prevent it being a white sheet. If anyone remembers the white Salomon S/LAB jacket that Kilian Jornet wore 5-8 years ago….. I bought one and boy did the underarms go yellow with pit stains quickly!
But why have a jacket that you can see through?
Yes, for the majority of us the notion of pinning a race number on is a prospect we can only dream of at present, but this is what the Podium has been designed in mind with. No clue in the name of the product what so ever. Rather than having to pull up your jacket every time you reach a Marshall or check point, the Podium allows those who need to take your number an easier way of collecting your credentials, when the last thing you want to do is fight your jacket to reveal those digits. But don’t think you can only wear this in a race or when testing your lactate threshold, the Podium is also billed as an emergency jacket, the one you stick in your pack on days you least expect to use it. The weather may be perfect, the trail in all time condition, but it only takes a one bad footplacment to turn the day on its head.
Im not saying you must buy this jacket for emergencies, what I’m saying is we should all be mindful when heading out on runs of back ups and a plan for if the day goes south dramatically.
Being a race shell, it needs to be light, as lugging round a jacket thats on the mandatory kit list on a blistering hot day can be a chore. At 108 grams for a size small, its a light jacket, not quite at the 84 grams of the Rab Phantom, but lets be honest, if we are getting out scales like I have and making judgements on 20 or so grams, we should refocus on getting a better training plan together and larger lifestyle choices.
The Aqua Pro Lite material Montane have used feels more robust than the Pertex on the Phantom and though I haven’t the balls to start destructive wear testing either – also a waist of perfectly good jackets, I’d expect Podium to fair better against a few ultras wearing a vest pack that has a habit of causing abrasions on apparel. The jacket is 15K waterproof and breathable, ample for those days your determined to drop the person behind you and when the wind picks up and forces you to slip a shell jacket on, either as the temperatures cutting through you or for sanity! Micro taped seams on all panels prevents any water ingress between panels.
If youre looking for a jacket to only use as a windproof and aren’t looking to venture out in rain, the Lite-Speed would be a potential alternative. Also the first Montane product I used back in 2008.
Right, lets talk about the features. The thing you came here for.
The hood is fixed in size, there is no adjustability, in order to keep weight down. The sides have micro elastic, pulling it around your face. The peak is stiffened via a think wire (YES!) and the rear has further elastication to draw it onto your noggin.
The above image shows the rear elastic pulling the hood in and there isn’t a great deal of excess material to flap around. The peak provides some protection from the rain, however, I’d probably enhance this with a cap or visor, to aid keeping my eyes open as long as I can during a storm.
Around the neck , there is plenty of coverage, up to the base of my lips, leaving you feeling cocooned when venturing into the elements and reducing drafts.
There is no retention system for the hood.
The front of the jacket has a half YKK zipper with a very generous storm flap behind it, paired with a guard/garage the top to save your chin from irritation.
Half way down said zipper is the some additional material with popper (see above image). This allows you to undo the zip fully for ventilation, while preventing the jacket from flapping around like a kite caught in a tornado. Its a feature you need to remind yourself exists, as its not at the forefront of your mind when pulling the zip down on the fly.
I’ve used this several times during windy weather on runs near Milton Keynes, we make up for our lack of elevation with endless fields that propel wind along, leaving you felling exposed and beaten up by the end of a run. You need to work out when to wear the jacket, as I found its at its best when its raining and not trying to repurpose as a windproof.
On the chest, right arm and back of the jacket, VIA Trail Series branding is reflective and provides some additional visibility, for when you’re in the high country and your buddy seems oblivious to the fact you have a beaming head torch on, uttering “I can’t find you.”
The bottom hem is completed elasticated, removing the need for drawcords etc. On the cuffs preshaped material provides additional protection and elastic is used once more to secure the cuff around your wrist.
So who is the podium for?
Well, all genders for starters. I can’t remember the last time I reviewed a unisex product and therefore its worth checking Montane’s size guide for the podium jacket. The fit is what Montane call their “Mountain Run – Close-fitting and designed for mountain trail running.” It’s not as close fitting as some products I’ve tested of late, but this will also be down the unisex sizing, given it needs to cover a broader range of body types then a specific product. I would say it isn’t excessive by any means, it allows for an extra layer underneath and doesn’t require you to be a beanpole to slide into it. If you have a similarly side partner or friend, you can pass this over without the worry of the arms being 10 inches too long and the jacket falling so far down their body, it appears they are wearing nothing else.
For reference the jacket is a size small and I’m 5ft 6″ and 75kg
The closest product I have for comparison is the Rab Phantom and the two are different products at similar weights. Whereas the Rab is about the details and a wider audience, the Podium is about just that, the podium. It has fewer features, for a zero fuss approach to running and suits those who want to focus solely on the run and will store this in a pack on summer adventures or crack it out on only those days that require its use. If you’ve read both reviews, you’ll note the Podium has less obvious features, but is no less for it.
The Podium is also £40 less than the Phantom
For me the Podium displays what the racer is worrying about. Protection, functionality and nothing more. It may have less bells and whistles, but it begs the question, what do you really need. When your hearts at 168bpm, a North Westerly is blowing in with chilling wet misery and youre following a bearing to the next CP, if youre thinking about your jacket, its not for the right reasons.
For more information on Montane’s Unisex Podium Pull-On – Click HERE
This is not a sponsored post or paid advertisement, jacket supplied for free for review by Montane