REVIEW: Mountain Equipment Women's Squall Jacket & Comici Pants

£70 & £100, added Aug/2017, see all Mountain Equipment news & reviews
Reviewed by Victoria de Ga
This review has been read 2,661 times

For the last few months I've been using the Comici Pants and Squall Hooded Jacket almost every time I've been out. From sport climbing in Italy, to hillwalking in the Lakes and trad climbing in the Highlands and Islands, these trousers and jacket have delivered for use in spring and summer. With autumn now nearly upon us, I can't see myself hanging them up til winter.

I've weighed the Squall jacket at around 270g, while the Comici pants come in at 135g (both size 8). This is actually a touch lighter than Mountain Equipment say, putting both in the lightweight 2-3 season bracket and making them spot on for fair weather mountain days, fast moving hill walks, travel and general outdoor use.

Victoria with Scafell, 164 kb
Trousers and jacket on Pikes Crag

Fit

Jacket

I had this in a size 8 which I've found to be appropriate for me. Depending on the weather and conditions, I have typically worn the Squall with a t-shirt and mid-layer underneath, but with its trim athletic cut I could equally have worn it with only a base layer. In terms of layering, then, it's a good three-season choice. It is comfortable with my harness on, and the hem stays put beneath a harness when you raise your arms; but if you are wearing the jacket over the top - belaying for instance - you can also unzip the bottom part to expose the harness if need be.

Grooved Arete, 184 kb
Grooved Arete
© Martin McKenna

Trousers

In a size 8, I've found the Comici Pants to be a good fit; and the fact that Mountain Equipment offer these trousers in three leg lengths would be really helpful if you were taller or shorter than average. The trousers sit around mid waist with an adjustable belt which allows for a snug fit. I have found the narrow leg and tapered ankle very comfortable while walking and climbing. I usually look for a tapered ankle in a climbing trouser, since it cuts down on excess fabric around your climbing shoe or hiking boot. Despite the close fit the quality of the cut allows for free movement, and this combined with a stretch fabric (used on both the trousers and jacket) makes the Comici Pants ideal for scrambling and climbing.

Features

Jacket

The Squall is definitely a jacket built with climbing in mind, and as such Mountain Equipment have decided not to add any hand pockets around the waist as these would be obstructed when wearing a harness anyway. Instead there is a convenient breast pocket that is an ample size for a phone or some small food to nibble on. Probably the most important aspect of a jacket for climbing is the hood, and the Squall's is spacious and helmet-compatible, offering a nice bit of weather protection if you're hanging around on a breezy belay. There is an off-centred zip with a face guard for comfort, too.

The cuffs are elasticated and fit snugly around the wrists, so there's no excess flapping here. All the drawcords are of the non-catch type, single strands rather than loops, so there's no chance of accidentally clipping snap gates to your jacket while trying to rack gear on your harness. Overall, it's a sensible minimalist set of features for a climbing-oriented softshell. Though some walkers might prefer more pockets, the stripped-back feature set on offer here does help save weight, which is an advantage whether you're trad climbing on a mountain crag or just out bagging Munros.

Squall Jacket Non Snag Draw Cords, 151 kb
Squall Jacket Non Snag Draw Cords
© Martin McKenna

Squall Jacket Breast Pocket, 167 kb
Squall Jacket Breast Pocket
© Martin McKenna

Trousers

No such lack of pockets on the Comici Pants, which feature two zipping hand pockets, one zipped thigh pocket, which is useful when wearing a harness, and a zipped rear pocket. There are no ventilation zips; however the fabric seems breathable enough to justify not including them, and as a result the trousers are marginally lighter and less cluttered than they might have been. There are drawcords around the ankles to ensure a snug fit and stop them slipping over climbing shoes.

Mountain Equipment Comici Pants, 188 kb
Mountain Equipment Comici Pants
© Martin McKenna

photo
Comici Thigh Pocket
© Martin McKenna

Fabric

Both the Squall and the Comici are made with Mountain Equipment's Exolite softshell fabric. This has a good degree of stretchiness, allowing for great mobility during high steps or, in the case of the jacket, wide arm movements. Inside it feels soft against the skin, while the outer layer of the fabric is abrasion resistant and so far has stood up well to scrambling and climbing on Cairngorm granite, a rock type that is less than forgiving on outdoor clothing. I have found the wind resistance of the fabric good in light to medium wind, although in strong winds there is noticeable penetration and on occasion I have felt a chill. For spring, summer and autumn use the level of wind resistance is about spot on, since the fabric feels nice and breathable in warmer weather as a result; however for winter mountain use both jacket and trousers are arguably too light and thin. The fabric can take a small shower before getting wet through; when wet it does however dry particularly quickly.

photo
Scrambling on Stag Rocks in Loch Avon Basin
© Martin McKenna

photo
Gorge walking
© Haley Jasper

Summary

I've found the Comici trousers to be durable, functional, and well suited to climbing, hillwalking and indeed pretty much any outdoor activity. While the Squall jacket feels quite a technical garment that is built primarily for climbing, and therefore not something I would wear day-to-day, its lightweight design may also appeal to weight conscious hillwalkers. At £100 for the jacket and £70 for the trousers these are arguably not budget items, but for the quality of their construction, excellent cut and robust-yet stretchy fabric I think both pieces are appropriately priced. They'd be a bit light for winter, but overall they make a great pair for all-round spring, summer, and autumn use on the hills and crags.

Women's Squall Hooded Jacket

Mountain Equipment say:

The ultimate rock climbing Soft Shell; light, tough and protective, it's a definitive choice for everything from big walls to sea cliffs. Lightweight stretch double weave EXOLITE 125 fabric gives unhindered mobility for exposed Dolomite arêtes allied to the toughness required for open book corners in Yosemite. A helmet compatible hood and offset front zip with shaped and pleated face panel seals out icy gusts.

  • Price: £100
  • Weight: 270g (size 8, our measure)
  • Sizes: 8 - 16
  • Fabric: Exolite 125 - Durable, double-weave stretch Soft Shell fabrics with smooth outer faces to improve abrasion resistance and soft inners to provide all-day next-to-skin comfort.
  • Mountain HC Hood
  • Active fit with articulated and pre-shaped sleeves
  • Over-locked and topstitched construction throughout
  • YKK® offset moulded centre front zip
  • Napoleon chest pocket
  • Elasticated cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords

For more info see mountain-equipment.co.uk

Squall jacket prod shot, 65 kb

Women's Comici Pant

Mountain Equipment say:

Light, stretchy Soft Shell pants that repel wind and moisture, the ideal choice for multipitch rock routes and summer scrambles. Lightweight EXOLITE 125 fabric is stretchy, wind resistant and fast drying to make it perfect for long approaches and mountain crags. Our Women's Active fit with slim ankle excels when moving rapidly on technical terrain and ensures unhindered movement when climbing hard pitches.

  • Price: £70
  • Weight: 135g (size 8, our measure)
  • Sizes: 8 - 16 (long, regular and short leg lengths)
  • Fabric: Exolite 125 - Durable, double-weave stretch Soft Shell fabrics with smooth outer faces to improve abrasion resistance and soft inners to provide all-day next-to-skin comfort.
  • Women's Active fit with slim fit ankle
  • 2 zipped hand pockets
  • Zipped thigh and rear pocket
  • Integrated belt with double press-stud waist closure
  • Low volume lower leg

For more info see mountain-equipment.co.uk

Comici pant prod shot, 81 kb

Gear Forum ( Read more )
This review has been read 2,661 times

Related posts