Editor Isaac Williams put the Montane Composite Hooded Down Jacket to the test over the long winter days of December 2023 and January 2024. Here’s his verdict…

On one damp, dark day in December, and one slightly better afternoon in early January, I pulled on my Composite Hooded Down Jacket and went walking.

Men’s Fitness verdict

Montane has worked wonders to deliver a genuinely performance-focused jacket that keeps you warm, without restricting movement or reducing you to a sweaty mess.
Pros
  • Warm, comfortable and breathable
  • Full-length front zip and sizeable pockets
  • Tight hood made to fit under climbing helmets
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Tight fit made for performance but not more casual wear

How we test coats and jackets

As with all our product reviews, we put spend at least four weeks with every coat and jacket we test. That involves testing the products in the environments they’re made for. In the case of Montane’s Composite Hooded Down Jacket, Isaac took it to the Surrey Hills for some wet and cold winter hikes.

Montane Composite Hooded Down Jacket

Fit and design of the Montane Composite Hooded Down Jacket

The outer shell is made up of a combination of a two-way stretch fabric (Pertex Quantum 3D weave, for anyone who has any idea what that means) and THERMO Stretch Fleece. It’s easy to get bogged down in brand jargon, so I’ll focus more on what that feels to wear, rather than diving too deep into the technology itself. 

Firstly, the stretchy fabric is comfortable but form-fitting. This is a performance jacket, so no surprises the focus is more locked-in than smart-casual, but that’s worth bearing in mind. If you need a coat that serves dual purposes – trips to the shops as well as winter hikes, for example – you may be better off going one size up from your usual. 

Practicality is aided by a full-length front zip and two zipped hand pockets – both of which are plenty big enough for a phone, keys or even small water bottle. There’s a hood, too, which sits tight against the head and – though I’m no climber myself – is designed to fit easily under a helmet. And that front zip extends all the way to the chin, so with the hood and zip up you’re guaranteed similar wind- and cold-blocking powers as Kenny from South Park.  

Cold-weather performance

As I quickly realised after a couple of unexpected showers, this is not a waterproof jacket. But nor does Montane claim it to be, so I can’t mark it down too harshly for that. It’s worth noting, though, that you’ll want to pair it with a thin, waterproof outer layer if you’re expecting rain. 

What it is, however, is supremely cold-defying and breathable. That’s a winning combination if, like me, you’re prone to overheating, even if it’s objectively chilly out. The 750+ fill insulation does an excellent job of keeping the cold out, but that insulating material is confined to the torso, while the arms are kept lighter – constructed from the same stretchy, lightweight fabric mentioned earlier. I found the effect to be that more wind chill on my arms kept me nicely cool, while the core insulation meant I was never in any danger of feeling the cold.

I should say that, while the weather was decidedly wintery, the temperatures hovered around the 5-6°C (41-42°F) mark for both of my outings in the jacket, so I can’t vouch for its capabilities in truly cold conditions. However, 750+ fill is firmly towards the premium end of down quality, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t keep you warm in much colder weather, especially if you were on the move.

What’s really impressive is how lightweight the Composite Hooded Down Jacket is. At 460g, it didn’t weight me down at all, and easily packed away into my bag at the end of the day.

Montane has designed this jacket with outdoor performance in mind. If you’re looking for a jacket you can wear to the shops, as well as the odd dog walk, you probably don’t need to part with the $325 RRP this will set you back. However, if you do a lot of cold-weather climbing or hiking, the Composite Hooded Down Jacket manages to achieve the holy trinity of comfort, warmth and breathability.

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MaterialsMain body outer: 85% Nylon, 15% Polyurethane; Sleeves & Hood: 51% Polyester, 39% Nylon, 10% Elastane; Insulation: contains non-textile parts of animal origin (90/10 duck down)
Insulation750+ fill power Hyperdry RDS certified 90/10 Duck Down with PFC-Free DWR 
Coating(82g size Medium)
Colours Black, Dark Ganet, Stone Blue
Weight460g