The Montane Quick-Fire eVENT jacket is a just-right rain jacket. It offers full coverage with a wire brim hood, drop tail and effective seam taping. The use of very breathable eVENT fabric with dual venting chest pockets and open positions on the cuffs keep you dry during serious exertion. The 11.9 ounce weight (size large) is excellent, given the list of features.
- eVENT fabric is the most breathable waterproof/breathable fabric around
- Drop tail keeps you drier than short-cropped jackets
- Venting chest pockets and open cuff positions for extra ventilation
- Very effective hood
- Lightweight at 11.9 ounces
- Excellent fit and articulation
What’s Not So Good
- Hood securing system gets in the way
- Front storm flap with Velcro tabs aren’t as convenient as a waterproof zipper
|2006 Montane eVENT Quick-Fire Jacket|
|Full-zip hooded rain shell|
|measured weight 11.9 oz (337 g) size L, manufacturer’s specification 11.3 oz (320 g) size M|
|eVENT “Super Lightweight” 3 Layer – 2.51 oz/yd2 (85 g/m2 laminated to oleophobic, air permeable, hydrophobic ePTFE and Nylon Tricot, 20 denier Nylon 66 mini rip-stop, waterproof to a minimum of 30,000mm hydrostatic head with a minimum MVTR of 17,000 g/m2/24hrs|
|Rollaway hood with wire brim, drop tail, reflective stripes, two vent chest pockets, front zip with double storm flap and Velcro closures|
|£ 170 (~$330)|
Rain jackets made from eVENT are the most breathable around. The fabric is so effective that pit zips or other forms of ventilation are rarely needed to keep you drier than with any other fabrics. Sure, there are lighter fabrics, but if you’re hiking in the all-day rain or wet snow that I regularly experience in the Washington Cascades, nothing beats an eVENT jacket. The Montane Quick-Fire is a fantastic example of a lightweight eVENT jacket that blends light weight with a feature set that doesn’t compromise usability.
The Quick-Fire jacket kept me dry from the outside and the inside during various activities, from snowshoeing in wet snow to long winter mountain bike rides.
The coverage and breathability of the Quick Fire is so good that I stayed dry in the wettest of conditions. When snowshoeing in very wet conditions, I was thoroughly impressed by how dry I remained. When mountain biking I usually either wear a water repellent windshirt and come home a bit wet or wear a jacket made of polyurethane-coated fabric and put up with sweatiness. With the Quick-Fire, though, I could wear the jacket continuously for long rides including highly aerobic uphills and descents through downpours and deep water crossings. This jacket kept me drier than any garment I’ve ever used. The Quick-Fire also excelled in normal hiking conditions.
One downside of eVENT is that it’s almost too breathable at times. When conditions are very cold, a Gore Tex jacket acts as a partial vapor barrier and keeps warm moist air closer to your skin. In these same conditions, eVENT’s extreme breathability can leave you feeling just a bit colder.
The lightest eVENT jacket in the Montane line (and one of the lightest hooded eVENT jackets on the market), the Quick-Fire is constructed of a 3-layer “Super Lightweight” version of the fabric. It has a roomy athletic cut – I could comfortably layer a puffy belay jacket underneath or wear the jacket over a thin base layer. It is cut short in the front and has a drop tail that is about 5.5 inches longer. A one-handed adjuster on either side seals the jacket at the hips. I found the jacket’s cut to be comfortable when belaying with a harness, leaning over when mountain biking, or wearing a pack when hiking.
The Montane Quick-Fire hood offers excellent coverage and adjustability.
I love the hood of the Quick-Fire. It has a broad wire brim that I found easy to adjust on the go and a Velcro tab in the back to raise or lower the brim. It even kept my big nose dry – rare in a hood! One-handed drawcord adjustments sealed the jacket against my face while a DWR “Beardguard” lining was comfortable against my chin without freezing up. The hood is large enough to wear over a climbing helmet but I found it to be a better fit when worn under the helmet.
The hood rolls up with a fabric strip and Velcro but the long strip sometimes gets in the way when not in use.
One thing I didn’t like about the hood was the roll-up system. A long strip of fabric hangs inside the collar of the jacket, loops through a tab on the outside of the collar and secures with Velcro. While it keeps the hood nicely stashed, it doesn’t roll up the hood as tightly as some other systems I’ve seen and the long fabric strip often got in my way or flipped out of the jacket.
The Montane Quick Fire eVENT jacket has an athletic cut and a front zipper with a double storm flap.
The front of the jacket closes with a 2-way zipper that can be opened at the top or bottom. A 1.5 inch storm flap protects the zipper and seals with Velcro tabs. I would have preferred a waterproof zipper to simplify the front closure but the system works just fine and provides an effective seal against the elements.
The cuffs can be cinched up with Velcro and also have a Velcro-secured full-open position for increased ventilation.
When extra ventilation is needed, but the front zipper can’t be opened, you have two options. One is to open the two vented chest pockets. These pockets are placed well above a waist belt, are large enough for a Nalgene water bottle and have waterproof zippers- they are the only pockets on the jacket. The other option is to open the cuffs and secure them at full open for extra ventilation in the arms. This solution is very effective as long as your hands aren’t elevated, as when using trekking poles or an ice axe.
In our 2005 Rainwear Review Summary the Integral Designs eVENT Rain Jacket earned the best score of all the rain jackets reviewed. I used this jacket for 2 years prior to getting the Montane Quick-Fire. While the Quick-Fire weighs about 2.5 ounces more than my Integral Designs jacket, I found the benefits of a full-coverage hood, longer cut, adjustable waist with drop tail, and extra storage and ventilation options more than outweighed the increase in weight. This is my new favorite rain jacket.
At around $330, the Montane Quick-Fire is $50 more than the full-length Integral Designs eVENT Thru Hiker. In addition, it is difficult to procure outside of the U.K. and Europe. However, if you can track one down, the attention to detail, overall quality, and features for the weight make the Quick-Fire a good value, even at that price.
The Montane Quick-Fire eVENT jacket offers a great feature set and weighs less than 12 ounces. There are lighter rain jackets out there, but none that will keep you as dry in truly wet conditions. This jacket has an excellent performance-to-weight ratio.
Recommendations for Improvement
While the Quick-Fire is a great jacket, I would like to see the following improvements:
- Redesign the hood stow system to eliminate the long piece of fabric that gets in the way.
- Add a waterproof zipper to simplify the front closure and to reduce weight.
- Make the jacket available in the U.S for less than $300.