Dave looks at new kids on the block True Mountain, a British brand.
Full stretch, high wicking Long Sleeve baselayer T Shirt. For high energy activities in spring, autumn and winter.
True Mountain are based in Preston a Lancashire city in the north of the UK. The North West is fast becoming the base of choice for many companies as there are great transport links and of course the beautiful Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales within easy reach.
Their philosophy is quite simple: world class performance, UK made. A tall order you might say give that climbing and outdoor equipment from the big company so hopefully they will be a brand to watch and I look forward to seeing them grow. I like to think that there is a factory mill with lot’s of Lancashire lasses cutting, sewing and chatting away – but the reality is a much more modern factory with modern manufacturing equipment.
Being UK based ourselves we were very keen to get on board and get some the kit tested to see if the products were indeed world class. We tested a nice combination of the Stretch Sportwool Long Sleeve and an Ultralite Jacket to see how the stood up to some demanding conditions.
I’ve used Sportwool blends before in both long and short sleeve base layers. I like this mixture as it feels lighter and more crucially it dries quicker (both in use and when washed). This meant I got on really well the the Sportwool Long Sleeved based layer. I orders a size Large as this is what I usually test and the fit was great. I’m a size Medium in Jackets and other wear but I prefer a large as it doesn’t feel as tight. I really liked the fit, it was snug enough to have good skin contact and wick away the moisture but not too tight to feel restricted when climbing and moving.
The main body was made from Danish made 61/36/3 Sportwool and the side panels from UK made stretchy technical synthetic material. The Sportwool was great next to the skin and felt very soft and natural and the stretchy side panels gave good flexibility. I’ve used the top for running, climbing and hiking and found it excellent for everything. The quality was excellent, as you would expect from a UK made garment with a good stitch count and great. The flat seams were totally solid in construction and the whole garment really has stood some punishing testing and is showing no signs of wear. It also never smelt at all even when I had been wearing constantly for four days( as in I never took it off) and it dried quite quickly when laundered.
The sleeve thumb loops are well placed and do not interfere with the sleeves at all or make the sleeves too long so I didn’t have to roll the sleeves up to my wrists like I have to on some baselayers. The sleeves were a little too tight to rise above the elbows comfortably in warmer conditions but I could do it if I needed to – as in “your pitch Dave”.
I would say this top has been good for climbing on cooler days (it’s too thick for warm summer conditions), high altitude hiking in warm conditions and as a great under layer on cooler autumn or early spring days. Everything about the True Mountain Long Sleeve has been great. One of the few issues I’ve had with it is the position of the rubber True Mountain label (which proudly displays the UK flag) which is placed just where the waistband of my pants are and the small rear having loop, which although made from cord (a good point) is too small for hanging out to dry on expedition.
The True Mountain Stretch Sportwool Long Sleeve comes in three colour options and sizes s through to XXL
Nice against the skin
Good thumb loops
Hanging cord too small
True Mountain Ultralite Jacket
Windproof, water resistant and highly breathable jacket for fast moving mountain sports.
The other True Mountain item we tested was the Ultralite Jacket and it was indeed ultra-light! Weighing in a 100 grams and super compressible it really did what it said it would do – provide lightweight windproofing.
The main body was made from Airbloc material which is a tightly woven nylon/polyester made in Lancashire which provides the main windproofing. This has a DWR applied to it to provide a little protection from light showers. Don’t expect it to keep you dry in a downpour though there are other True Mountain products that will do that. The Ultralite Jacket is designed for fast moving activities like running and approaches which is what I used it mostly for.
The side panels were made from the lighter Airflow rip stop material which offered a more breathable material. This is also given a DWR coating and is made in Lancashire, so the True Mountain Ultralite Jacket is a true, made in Britain garment and proudly displays this with great True Mountain branding.
For running and crag approaches the jacket was great, it was light and easy to wear the full length YKK zip was easy to use and had a nice, big rubberized (made from silicon) zip puller. The elasticated cuffs worked well and I was able to pull the cuffs over my forearms when I started to overheat. So the jacket worked great-I could hike into the crag with just a baselayer and the Ultralite jacket and then just stash it away in the pack lid and put a dry warmer jacket on for climbing.
For climbing the True Mountain Ultralite Jacket wasn’t so good. The actual fit was fine for climbing in and so light I hardly noticed I had it on but on a recent trip multi pitch climbing in Riglos the side panel material began to wear out with the repeated wear – the material just wasn’t robust enough to cope with where the jacket met my harness. Also the lack of a pocket to stow the jacket inside meant I had to wear it climbing as I couldn’t hang the jacket off my harness to be deployed on belays.
To be honest though the jacket is designed specifically for climbers, it’s an all-round mountain sport jacket and better used for running, approaches and hiking. For these activities it’s great. The Ultralite Stretch Hoodie looks better for climbing.
The True Mountain Ultralite Jacket comes in 4 colour options and sizes S through to XL
Side panels too thin against harness
No stow pocket.