UKH

Montane Prism Ultra Pull-On Review

The Prism Ultra Pull-On is a minimalist lightweight insulated smock, ideal for activities that require you to quickly alter your layering system depending on changing conditions or level of exertion. Whether at a shady belay, a breezy summit stop, a chilly exposed lead, or moving fast in cold and windier conditions, the Prism Ultra Pull-On is light, packable, and able to be quickly flung on when needed.

The Prism Ultra Jacket is a lighter version of the standard Prism, which our Gear Ed. Dan got on really well with last year:

With its half zip, and having no hood, the Prism Ultra Pull-On takes the lightweight simplicity a step further still, making it somewhere between a jacket and a mid-layer depending on the weather and what you're using it for. This versatility is great.

Fill

The internal insulation is comprised of 25 g/m2 PrimaLoft Silver Insulation (70% of which is recycled). This means the Prism is kept very lightweight, with a medium size weighing just 205g on my home scales. Since the insulation is fully synthetic, it should also maintain the majority of its warmth, even when wet. I have really welcomed the level of warmth this has given me during climbing at the tail end of summer and into autumn. The PrimaLoft has performed well for me when hanging at a belay to maintain heat and when in the mountains climbing late in the day, keeping me comfortable whilst not wanting to rip the jacket off as I get moving again.

It's tough for its weight, and cut to move in  © UKC Gear
It's tough for its weight, and cut to move in

Fabric

The exterior fabric enclosing the insulation is Barrier Lite RS nylon rip-stop offering tough and windproof protection for its weight. Most notably on a recent trip to Fair Head, the fabric demonstrated its toughness time again after occasionally snagging in thorns whilst navigating some vegetated approaches and whilst seconding some burly pitches with no significant damage to the outer.

A DWR coating on this nylon has also been appreciated when walking out in light rain and needing things to be dry for a subsequent day of climbing, particularly when not having the luxury of drying clothing at home.

Fit

Unfortunately there's no women's version of the Prism Ultra or the Prism Ultra Pull-On; the Prismatic is the female equivalent of the full weight Prism Jacket.

The Prism Ultra Pull-On is cut to Montane's Active Mountain fit (Montane provide a useful sizing guide if purchasing online). This fit is cut close to reduce bulk and save weight, which has felt like I am wearing a thin layer when moving, and is easily slipped under my harness. Due to this fit, I try to avoid wearing anything of high profile underneath when layering up.

The articulated design in the arms and shoulders allows for freedom of movement. This has functioned well for me climbing when more athletic mobility is needed. High reaches provide no tightness in the shoulders and only a small lifting of the hem, not significant enough to expose any area at the waist.

The collar hugs my neck well, has felt clean and easy to move in, and the close fit has helped to reduce heat loss through this area. If climbing in winter conditions I would probably want a hood, but without this the Prism Ultra Pull-On has increased packability, which is great in spring/summer/autumn, when a lightweight and low bulk feel is often desired.

The cuffs are also trimmed down, elasticated for low volume and the insulation is provided right to the end of the wrist, wrapping around the elasticated cuffs. This feels great for making sure your hands don't cool down rapidly whilst not using them.

The Prism Ultra Pull-On quarter length zip and storm flap  © UKC Gear
The Prism Ultra Pull-On quarter length zip and storm flap
© UKC Gear

Features

As this is towards the more minimalist end of the spectrum, The Prism Ultra Pull-On is relatively light on features. However, there are some welcome additions to help keep you comfortable.

The quarter length zip can zip two ways for added ventilation. Zipping this upwards for ventilation isn't something which I have felt the need to use, but others may find this useful to maintain the upper sitting correctly on the shoulders whilst climbing. Underneath the zip is a good width storm flap to provide an added barrier to wind and further reduce heat loss.

Low profile and elasticated cuffs with insulation to the wrist  © UKC Gear
Low profile and elasticated cuffs with insulation to the wrist
© UKC Gear

The Prism Ultra Pull-On simple pull tie waist  © UKC Gear
The Prism Ultra Pull-On simple pull tie waist
© UKC Gear

A pull tie in the waist brings this area in to reduce wind from penetrating or heat from escaping. I always like pull ties for climbing garments being kept simple (which Montane have achieved here), as I can tuck this up inside to reduce the chance of clipping or snagging any carabiners when taking gear on or off my harness.

With only one pocket on the chest, don't expect to chuck this on in cooler conditions and keep your hands toasty in pockets. Without hand pockets, however, the Prism is kept low bulk, which is what it targets, and feels nice sitting under a harness without a pocket zip tab being uncomfortably pressed into my waist.

The garment can pack away into this chest pocket - a big plus for me for an insulation layer that I climb with. Due to this, the chest pocket is quite large and I have tended not to store items of relative weight in this as they jiggle around whilst climbing. Granted this is not too much of an issue and I have kept my phone/snack bar in my trouser pocket instead.

Once packed into the chest pocket there is a tab that can be used to clip onto a harness. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a different design of this tab as sadly the stitching broke on me after only a few uses.

Unfortunately, this is the second time a Montane jacket pocket loop has broken on me (the other time at a winter hanging belay, where a belay jacket dropped to the bottom of a coire in stormy conditions). Whilst it may just be coincidence that both have been Montane (as pocket loops in some other brands have a similar fragile design), a weak loop to attach your jacket with is no use when failure could mean the loss of the entire garment. Perhaps this may not have occurred if the stitching around this area were slightly more robust or the material used for the loop itself was elasticated to reduce the pulling on the stitching.

Summary

The Prism Ultra Pull-On is a great lightweight and stripped down companion to have on hand when some moderate warmth is needed in cold or windy conditions in the hills. If hanging around at a belay, on a summit, or on a colder lead where you aren't overexerting yourself, it will keep you comfortable and won't weigh you down. I'm looking forward to using it as a mid-layer as the winter climbing season approaches: I just hope it is still attached to my harness when I need to muster it for protection.

Montane say:

Using lightweight and windproof Barrier Lite RS combined with 25g/m2 PrimaLoft® Silver insulation, the Prism Ultra Pull-on is designed as a quick warmth layer for fast and light activities.

  • Sizes: S-XXL (men)
  • Weight: 200g approx
  • Barrier Lite RS nylon rip-stop outer and lining with a DWR
  • 70% recycled 25g/m2 PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation
  • Close-fitting collar
  • Two-way front zip with internal storm flap
  • Zipped external chest pocket
  • Pre-elasticated cuffs
  • Adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord
  • Stuffs into chest pocket

For more info see montane.com



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23 Oct, 2020

This looks similar to my TNF Zephyrus pullover. Mine is a bit warmer and heavier (the TNF is 40g of Primaloft One and 280g) and I used to use it quite a bit but I now miss a hood and don't feel I can snuggle down in it enough on belays. Always in the bumbag for a fell run though.

26 Oct, 2020

OMM Rotor is 230g and 40g of insulation. It’s light, but it’s not extremely warm.

It’s not got the harness loop and packs into a pillow instead - I believe most races require it to be in a dry bag and that’s what it is designed for.


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