The Montane Anti-Freeze Jacket is a lightweight, full-featured, very weather-resistant three-season down jacket weighing just 14.5 ounces (manufacturer specification) for size Medium. It’s available in men’s and women’s versions.
This separate review provides additional descriptive and performance information on the Montane Anti-Freeze Jacket. Read our article Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 for a state of the market analysis and comparative specifications and performance for a range of ultralight down jackets.
Although the Montane Anti-Freeze Jacket’s weight is slightly over our 14-ounce (397-g) weight limit for our state-of-the-market article, we decided to include it because we know garments from Montane are designed to be as lightweight and functional as possible. The Anti-Freeze falls into our Multi-Purpose Three-Season Down Jacket category, covered in Part 3 of the article cited above, because of its many features. How does it compare with other lightweight three-season jackets in our roundup, and how useful is it for backpacking?
As we would expect from Montane, the Anti-Freeze is designed to be both lightweight and functional. The shell is 0.9 oz/yd2 (31 g/m2) Freeflow Ultra Lite ripstop nylon with a DWR finish, and the lining is 0.88 oz/yd2 (30 g/m²) PEAQ Down ultra soft nylon plain weave. The shell fabric has a waterproof rating of 800 millimeters and MVTR breathability of 4000 g/m²/24 hours.
Insulation is 5.1 ounces (145 g) of 800 fill power goose down, yielding a measured single-layer loft of 1.3 inches (3.2 cm). It has the highest loft in the group of multi-purpose down jackets we evaluated in Part 3 of the cited state-of-the-market article, but it’s not as lofty as several jackets in the group of seriously lightweight three-season down jackets we evaluated in Part 2 of the same article.
Front and rear views of the Montane Anti-Freeze Jacket, outside of my igloo at 9,500 feet elevation.
The jacket has a total of three pockets: two zippered hand pockets (left), containing the waist drawcord adjustors, and a zippered chest pocket (right) that’s large enough to hold a folded map. The adjustable cuffs have Velcro tabs. There are no pockets on the inside of the jacket.
The Montane Anti-Freeze jacket has drawcords on the waist and hem (left) and on the back of the collar (right), so it really seals up tightly in cold/windy conditions.
The jacket’s dropped tail and vertical tail quilting is designed to draw up and completely cover the butt.
I wore the Anti-Freeze Jacket on breaks while backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, on one igloo camping trip (left), while hiking in Southeastern Alaska in late spring (right, Mendenhall Glacier in background), and on high altitude spring backpacking trips where I camped between snow drifts and wore it in some spring snow showers.
The jacket’s fit in size large is spot on for me (6 ft/1.83 m tall, 167 lb/76 kg, 39 in/99 cm chest, 34 in/86 cm sleeves). The sleeves are adequately long and the body has extra room to layer over an insulated vest or lightly insulated jacket. It’s roomy but not too roomy. As shown in the photos above, the jacket covers the butt very well.
With all its features, the Montane Anti-Freeze Jacket is definitely multi-purpose, and its warmth/protection is on the upper end of the group of jackets we classify as three-season – it has more down insulation than the other jackets in this category (multi-purpose three-season down jackets), plus it’s more sealable and weather-resistant – so we might call it a three-season+ down jacket. It does not have enough insulation to be considered a true four-season jacket, and it does not have any inside pockets (like drop pockets) for keeping items warm, as many four-season jackets do.
The Freeflow shell on the Anti-Freeze Jacket is exceptionally water-repellent (left). In my one-hour indoor “puddle test,” no water penetrated the jacket’s shell or seams.
Several readers have expressed the opinion that an insulated jacket must be capable of sealing all of its openings to hold heat inside, which is especially needed for really cold conditions and for windy conditions. With three drawcords (neck, waist, and hem), the Montane Anti-Freeze jacket seals exceptionally well. Three drawcords in combination with its Freeflow Ultra Lite shell make this jacket exceptionally weather resistant.
I found the Anti-Freeze Jacket to be most appropriate and useful for more blustery weather and shoulder season conditions where the weather can be any combination of cold, wet, and windy. It’s excellent for igloo camping, where temperatures can drop down to about 20 F (-7 C) with high humidity. For active backcountry skiing and snowshoeing I found it to be too warm to wear on the go, but it was welcome on breaks and when it became windy. It was perfect on the Alaska Ferry where the temperature was 40 F with a 20 mph (32 kph) wind, and light drizzle, and it provided the extra insulation and weather resistance I needed when spring camping at 12,000 feet (3,658 m) among snowdrifts in the southern Rockies.
Our article Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 provides complete specifications and ratings for the Montane Anti-Freeze Jacket in comparison to a range of other lightweight down jackets. The multi-purpose jackets most similar are the EMS Ascent Sector Down Sweater, The North Face Thunder Jacket, MontBell Permafrost Light Down Jacket, and Western Mountaineering Flash XR Jacket. It is also similar (but more featured) compared to the MontBell Alpine Light Down Jacket, Feathered Friends Hyperion Jacket, and Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket in our seriously lightweight group of down jackets.
With 1.6 inches/4.1 cm of measured single-layer loft, the Anti Freeze is lofty, but not as lofty as the Brooks Range Alpini Mountain Anorak (1.6 inches/4.1 cm), Feathered Friends Hyperion Jacket (1.5 inches/3.8 cm), Nunatak Skaha Anorak (2.1 inches/5.3 cm), and Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket (1.6 inches/4.1 cm). The Anti-Freeze Jacket is unique among the group of jackets we tested in that it combines a lightweight full feature set, good insulation, and high weather-resistance. That combination adds a few ounces, but the result is pure performance.
In my opinion, the Montane Anti-Freeze is a jacket not for bitter cold, but for merely "adverse" conditions. It performs very well in those conditions, and there are many places throughout the world where this jacket is a good match. It is indeed multi-purpose, but for harsher conditions. For lightweight backpacking, the Anti-Freeze is appropriate for the shoulder seasons in the mountains where the nighttime temperature can drop well below freezing and the weather can turn blustery anytime. However, it’s overkill for summer mountain backpacking where the extra features and protection are not really needed and a minimally featured jacket with a high warmth to weight ratio is a better choice.
Specifications and Features
|Year/Model||2010 Anti-Freeze Jacket|
|Style||Hoodless insulated jacket with full front zipper|
|Fabrics||Shell is 0.9 oz/yd2 (31 g/m2) Freeflow Ultra Lite ripstop nylon with DWR finish, lining is 0.88 oz/yd2 (30 g/m²) PEAQ Down ultra soft nylon plain weave|
|Insulation||800 fill power down, 5.1 oz (145 g)|
|Construction||Sewn-through with 3.6-in (9-cm) horizontal quilting, set-in sleeves, and vertical tail quilting|
|Loft||Measured two-layer loft is 2.5 in (6.4 cm), 1.3-in (3.3-cm) single-layer loft|
|Features||Down-filled stand up collar; full height reversed #5CN YKK zipper with two sliders and storm flap under zipper; fleece chin guard and backing on inside of storm flap; two zippered hand pockets (not fleece lined); one zippered chest pocket; adjustable cuffs with Velcro tabs; drawcord waist, hem, and neck; dry bag stuff sack included|
|Weight||Size Large tested|
Measured Weight: 16.3 oz (434 g)
Manufacturer Specified Average Weight: 14.5 oz (411 g)
|MSRP||£160 (Approx. US$240)|
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement.