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I recently bought a Montane Levity GTX jacket and I’ve been wearing the jacket in some pretty intense downpours to find out just how good it is…
I’ve always found that buying a good waterproof jacket is something of a strange experience. Ultimately, you’re handing over a big chunk of your hard-earned money in exchange for a jacket that you hope you never ever have to use. After all, no matter how much you like your new Gore-Tex jacket, you’re still not going to hope that it pours down on your next hike.
It’s this reluctance to spend money on a decent waterproof jacket that has left me in that awkward position of getting soaked to the skin in jackets that just weren’t up to the job. Ever the optimist, I’ve always bought fairly cheap and cheerful jackets and stuffed them in the bottom of my backpack in the hope of never needing them.
But this year, I’m either losing a bit of that optimism or I’m finally learning that I’m going to get rained on whether I like it or not, so I decided to invest in a better jacket. And with an early spring trip to Scotland planned, I knew that this time it needed to be up to the job.
I generally do quite a bit of research before I buy anything, but this time I decided to stay very open-minded and went for a wander around my local Go Outdoors to see what caught my eye. And my timing was pretty impeccable with that decision as my local store was temporarily closing down for a full refurb and they had some great offers on the stock that they had left.
The Montane Levity GTX jacket caught my eye, and although I bought it on a whim, I definitely don’t regret it.
Montane Levity GTX Jacket Features
- 75D GORE-TEX® PACKLITE® technology – waterproof, breathable, packable, windproof
- DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Fully seam taped construction – to keep the weather out
- Fully adjustable roll-away hood with stiffened peak
- Full-length YKK AQUAGUARD® front zip with internal storm flap
- 2 x mesh-lined hand pockets with YKK AQUAGUARD® zips
- Adjustable hook and loop cuff tabs
- Adjustable hem with drawcord
- Weight: 360g
Montane Levity GTX Jacket Review
Ultimately, there are only a couple of things that you need to know about a jacket like this one.
- Is it windproof?
- Is it waterproof?
And based on my experiences with the jacket, the answer to both of those is a resounding yes.
I first put the jacket through its paces when I went up to Wester Ross in Scotland for a weekend of hiking at the very beginning of spring. I had grand plans to bag a couple of Munros and enjoy the incredible landscapes of the Scottish wilderness. But, naturally, the weather had other plans for me and clouds rolled in and the skies burst before I’d reached my first summit.
It was the kind of storm that comes out of nowhere and leaves you with only seconds to grab your waterproofs and prepare for the incoming rain.
The Montane Levity GTX jacket instantly proved itself as a great jacket for these conditions. The hood is oversized and did a great job of protecting my face from the driving rain. It’s also big enough to wear a helmet under, making it a great option for climbers. Despite the torrential, prolonged downpour, I was perfectly dry underneath. The Gore-tex technology did exactly what you expect it to do, and the tape-sealed zips ensured that no water managed to seep through while I made a speedy retreat back down the mountain to the sanctuary of my car.
As is so often the case with the Scottish weather, the next day was completely different and the sun was beaming down as I walked the Beinn Eighe mountain trail. This time I had the opportunity to test the breathability of the jacket as I tackled the steep ascent under the morning sun.
No waterproof jacket does an amazing job of being breathable, and the lack of pit zips on the Montane Levity GTX jacket meant that I was soon stripping it off as I made my ascent. But that slight negative on a steep climb would be a positive in a downpour. The fewer zips a jacket has, the more chance it has of staying completely waterproof.
I’d intentionally bought the jacket in XL, a size bigger than my usual Large. I’d done this as I’d planned to wear this jacket mostly through the winter months and I wanted to leave plenty of room underneath for insulating layers. However, the jacket is quite generously sized as it is, so you probably don’t need to do this yourself if you are planning on buying one. Stick with your normal sizing, there’s enough room for layering.
One of the things I liked most about the jacket when it caught my eye in the shop, was the colours. However, my brother correctly pointed out that mountain rescue would have a hard time finding me if I slipped and fell down the side of a mountain. Mountain jackets are usually brightly coloured for a reason. He then added that he wouldn’t be waiting in the rain to point me out to them either – in true older sibling style.
Fortunately, the Montane Levity GTX jacket does come in other colours too.
- Waterproof and windproof
- Good sizing
- large hood to keep driving rain off your face
- Not quite as breathable as other jackets on the market
- Choose a different colour if hiking solo (or with siblings)
Other Jackets to Consider
The Bottom Line
A great jacket at a great price. I’ve tried and tested this in torrential rain and it’s kept me warm, dry and comfortable time and time again. Highly recommended for the British hills and mountains.
Our Top Pick
Montane Levity GTX Jacket
A great jacket at a great price. The Montane Levity GTX jacket will keep you dry on your wettest adventures.