Montane Primino 140 Zip Neck

Montane Primino 140 Zip Neck

140g Zip Neck long sleeve top
Price: £60
Weight: 170g
Colour: green, grey, blue (men’s) dahlia (women’s)
140g Crew Neck short sleeve
Price: £42
Weight: 124g
Colour: green, grey, blue (men’s) dahlia (women’s)
140g Long Johns
Price: £50
Weight: 148g
Colour: grey
Material: 50 per cent merino wool; 25 per cent Primaloft; 25 per cent polyester
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 40C in mild detergent
Sizes XS to XL, 8 to 16 (tops); S to XXL regular leg (long johns)

This trio of baselayer garments represent Montane’s take on the problem of keeping warm on the hill while shifting sweat when the going gets tougher.

Merino wool has traditionally been used to provide warmth but is not great at wicking the moisture away and tends to be heavy. Synthetic materials such as polyester shift the moisture but are not as warm. They can also suffer from odour.

These clever Primino baselayers combine merino and polyester with the addition of 25 per cent synthetic Primaloft insulation.

The result is a set of very lightweight base garments that insulate more than their weight would suggest.

We subjected them to a prolonged testing regime encompassing a good range of temperatures from sub-zero to cool and windy. All were tested on the hill, which is where these Montane baselayers belong. They are designed to cope with the amount of perspiration produced when moving uphill or at speed, either walking, mountaineering, biking or skiing.

The material is stretchy and clings nicely to the body. Warmth is good. The Primino tops and long johns worked well as the first layer when winter conditions prevail. For the slender construction, which keeps weight down, the Primaloft provided a surprising amount of insulation. Not quite up to some of the thickest wool bases, but the advantage of lack of bulk and weight was welcome.

In cold conditions, we tended towards the zip-neck top. This has a reverse-coil zip that keeps out the breeze and is backed by a nice soft material baffle which also helps block the wind and also increases comfort. The zipped-up collar is snug around the neck. When things heat up when working hard, the ability to open the zip for ventilation is welcome.

The stretchy sleeves can also be pulled up comfortably to provide more cooling if required.

The women's crew neck Primino

The women's crew neck Primino

The crew neck is a simpler version of the zip neck, with short sleeves replacing the full-length ones and no zip at the neck.

Like its more expensive cousin, it has seams that are forward of the shoulder to enhance comfort when wearing a pack.

In all other respects, the crew neck top works as well as the zip neck and has the advantage of being lighter; at 124g it’s very light, and cheaper. You just don’t have the luxury of a nice higher collar, the increased warmth of long sleeves and the adaptability of having a zip neck to provide ventilation.

As with all three garments, the fabric is soft against the body and there is no itch from the merino wool.

Both tops come in women’s and men’s versions, but the Long Johns are unisex, so no flies for the gents.

The Montane Primino Long Johns have a fairly broad elasticated waist band and a double thickness panel at the front in, ahem, the business area.

Fit against the legs is nice and snug and in cold, windy conditions on the hill the Montane Long Johns did the trick and insulated well under our trousers.

Odour resistance in all three Primino garments was good, meaning they will work well on multi-day expeditions where it’s not possible to wash them after each wear.

Montane Primino Long Johns

Montane Primino Long Johns

There was some pilling evident after prolonged use in high-wear areas, but other than that there were no problems and quality was good.

The Montane Primino baselayers offer very good insulation, comparable to some much thicker garments. Combining merino with Primaloft does seem to have married the best aspects of both and the light weight and lack of bulk are a boon.

The price is a bit higher than most synthetic-only baselayers, but below many pure merino versions. The Montane Primino baselayers show an innovative use of Primaloft with other materials, which works well. Wicking was good, warmth was impressive for such thin layers, and odour resistance was very good.

Warmth 25/30
Comfort 25/30
Odour resistance 8/10
Wicking 8/10
Quality 7/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 80/100

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