The Complete Guide to Mountain Equipment Outdoor Gear
As a leading British outdoor clothing and equipment brand, Mountain Equipment has been enabling adventures since 1967. Founded by legendary climber Joe Brown, the company has decades of experience creating technical apparel and gear for mountaineering expeditions around the world.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about Mountain Equipment, from their key technologies and fabrics to advice on choosing the right products for your outdoor pursuits.
An Introduction to Mountain Equipment
Based in Sheffield, England, Mountain Equipment were pioneers in using coated nylon fabrics and synthetic insulation for outdoor clothing. Their mountaineering gear accompanied the first British ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.
Today, Mountain Equipment specialise in highly technical clothing and equipment for climbing, hiking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities.
Key Features of Mountain Equipment Gear
Here are some of the stand-out qualities of Mountain Equipment products:
- Weatherproof and Breathable Fabrics - Many Mountain Equipment jackets feature GORE-TEX technology or own-brand waterproof/breathable membranes to keep the wet out while allowing internal moisture to escape. This combination of waterproofing and breathability is essential for energetic activities.
- Lightweight yet Durable - Mountain Equipment apparel and gear is designed to withstand rugged mountain environments whilst minimising weight. Features like reinforced shoulders on backpacks and robust face fabrics enhance durability.
- Responsible Down Insulation - Mountain Equipment were the first European brand to comply with the Responsible Down Standard. Their high quality down is ethically sourced and traceable from farm to finished product.
- Sustainability - As a Bluesign partner, Mountain Equipment minimise their environmental impact through their supply chain. They also use recycled and organically-grown materials where possible.
- Fit for Purpose - Every Mountain Equipment product is designed for a specific outdoor activity. Expect articulate patterning and technical details that enhance freedom of movement and functionality.
Mountain Equipment Ranges
Mountain Equipment has a diverse range of clothing and equipment divided into several product categories:
Insulated Jackets - These warm midlayers and outerwear pieces feature synthetic or responsibly-sourced down insulation. Options range from lightweight micro down gilets to rugged mountaineering parkas. Popular styles include the iconic Saltoro Jacket and the versatile Comic Ridge Hooded Jacket.
Waterproof Jackets - Mountain Equipment's waterproof shell jackets utilise either 3-layer GORE-TEX fabric or their own Alpine and Alpine Pro membranes. Expect articulated cuts, helmet-compatible hoods and storm-proof face fabrics. The lightweight Altitude Jacket and fully featured Lhotse Jacket are excellent choices.
Base Layers & Mid Layers - Moisture-wicking base layers and insulating mid layers are available in merino wool and synthetic fabrics. Options like the Energy Zip-Neck and Quantum Hooded zip make versatile standalone or layering pieces.
Trousers & Shorts - Durable softshell trousers with light insulation and water-resistant finishes are ideal for colder mountain activities. Stretchier designs like the Citadel Pant provide greater freedom of movement for climbing and scrambling.
Sleeping Bags - Premium down and synthetic fill sleeping bags with water-resistant shells, shaped hoods and differential cut designs. Temperature ratings range from summer season (+15°C) to extreme winter use (-40°C). The Red Series 800 and Blaze 1000 bags are exceptionally warm expedition-ready designs.
Footwear - Mountain Equipment's footwear range includes B3 mountaineering boots, trail shoes and waterproof approach shoes. The quality Fellmaster boot and agile Sundance approach shoe are standout models.
Packs & Bags - Rugged packs for mountaineering, trekking and alpine climbing. Stripped back designs maintain durability whilst minimising weight. Also daypacks, holdalls and thru-hiking rucksacks. The 50+15 Rucksack is a popular lightweight trekking and travel pack.
Tents - Technical single and double wall tents built to withstand extreme mountain conditions. Dome and tunnel designs for various group sizes and lightweight solo bivvy tents. The Meteor and Tacna Alpine tents offer robust 4 season protection.
Accessories - Mountain Equipment produce travel-friendly down and synthetic insulated jackets, waterproof packsacks, stuff sacks, gloves and warm headwear accessories.
How to Choose the Right Mountain Equipment Gear
With such a vast range, it can be tricky deciding what Mountain Equipment gear is right for your needs. Here are some tips on choosing the most suitable products:
Consider Your Planned Activity
Mountain Equipment categorise their products by activity - alpine climbing, mountaineering, trekking etc. Consider which activities you'll use the gear for and choose products designed specifically for those pursuits.
For example, the Tacna Alpine tent provides robust shelter for winter expeditions, while the Sundance Shoe offers agile performance for summer hiking and bouldering.
Think About Environmental Conditions
The climate and conditions you'll encounter are key factors. If you'll be in changeable mountain weather, focus on waterproof and breathable outer layers made using GORE-TEX or own-brand membranes.
For cold environments, choose insulated jackets with ample warmth like the Cosmic Down Jacket. In warmer conditions, opt for lightweight designs like the Energy Vest to retain breathability.
Lightweight or Protective?
There's always a trade-off between minimising weight and enhancing protection. If you'll be moving fast and covering distance, lightweight and packable products make sense. But for steep terrain and rough conditions, slightly heavier jackets and packs with reinforced face fabrics add valuable resilience.
Get the Right Fit
Mountain Equipment products are designed for excellent articulation and freedom of movement. However, getting the right size is still important.
Browse the detailed size charts on the product pages. If between sizes, consider sizing up to allow layering space for changeable mountain conditions.
Product reviews from fellow customers provide valuable insight. Look for feedback on warmth, weather protection, comfort and how well the product performed for the intended activity. This helps refine your choices.
Use the Layering System
Clothing that works together as a versatile layering system is key for adventures. Mountain Equipment products are designed to integrate - combine thermal base layers with insulating mid layers and weatherproof shells to stay warm and dry.
Having different weight base layers and jackets also helps adapt to changing mountain weather and activity levels.
Reviews of Top Mountain Equipment Gear
To give a better sense of Mountain Equipment's quality and technical performance, below are reviews of some of their most popular products:
Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket
- Weight: 310g (Men's Medium)
- Waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX shell
- Athletic slim fit
- Ideal for: Alpine climbing, mountaineering, trekking
This streamlined GORE-TEX jacket provides impressive weather protection and breathability. The 3-layer fabric and advanced membrane technology make it fully water and windproof without feeling clammy.
Despite the slim athletic fit, there's still room for layering a warm midlayer underneath. The helmet compatible hood works well with or without a helmet, and can be rolled down into the stiffened collar when not needed.
The Lightline jacket is a robust yet packable waterproof shell that's ideal as an outer layer for alpine pursuits. It provides reliable protection against the elements while remaining breathable during active wear.
Mountain Equipment Approach Pant
- Weight: 590g (Men's Medium)
- Durable nylon canvas fabric
- Articulated knees and gusseted crotch
- Ideal for: Rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking
These burly canvas pants are built to handle rugged use in the mountains. The durable woven fabric stands up to abrasion yet allows good stretch and mobility.
Triple stitching provides reinforcement, and the gusseted crotch prevents binding when high stepping. There's also articulated knee darts for better freedom of movement when climbing.
With a slim enough profile to avoid flapping, plus tough and comfortable fabric, the Approach Pants are ideal for technical ascents. They provide the right balance of resilience and dexterity.
Mountain Equipment Citadel Pant
- Weight: 530g (Men's Medium)
- Softshell fabric (88% nylon, 12% elastane)
- Articulated knees and anklet zips
- Ideal for: Rock climbing, scrambling, winter hiking
Stretchy and supportive, the Citadel Pant excels at rugged mountain activities like climbing, hiking and mountaineering. The softshell fabric blend is wind and water resistant yet breathable, helped by mesh lining in key areas.
There's ample articulation through the knees and clever shaping through the seat and thighs for unimpeded movement. Small features like the retro-reflective trim and ankle zips add practicality.
For anything from winter hillwalking to rocky scrambles and multi pitch climbs, the Citadel Pants deliver reassurance and agility. The softshell fabric and ergonomic patterning make them a comfort to wear on long mountain days.
Mountain Equipment Saltoro Jacket
- Weight: 790g (Men's Medium)
- Down fill power 700
- Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified insulation
- Ideal for: Mountaineering, trekking, cold weather hiking
This rugged mountaineering jacket provides serious warmth, even in bitterly cold conditions. The premium 700 fill goose down offers an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio whilst the Pertex outer fabric has a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment.
The baffled construction prevents down migration and cold spots. Meanwhile, the 4-way articulated hood, two-way front zip and underarm vents allow temperature regulation on the move. The neat interior pocket keeps vital items safe and the grown-on peaked hood fits neatly over helmets.
As a do-it-all belay jacket that can be layered under a shell in severe weather, the Saltoro Parka is hard to beat. The ethically sourced down and resilient outer fabric make it a trusted companion on winter expeditions.
Mountain Equipment Glove
- Weight: 84g (Medium)
- GORE-TEX insert and warm tricot lining
- Reinforced nose wipe and grab patch
- Ideal for: Winter climbing, mountaineering, ski touring
When the temperature plummets on alpine climbs and winter treks, these protective GORE-TEX gloves deliver reliably. The triple layer construction sandwiches an advanced GORE-TEX membrane between an abrasion-resistant overlay and soft tricot liner.
This combination makes them totally windproof and waterproof whilst retaining breathability and comfort. The synthetic insulation and fuzzy fleece lining also provide ample warmth for operating gear in freezing conditions.
Subtle design tweaks like the reinforced nose wipe, grab patch and streamlined fit enhance usability. For all but the most extreme temperatures, these touching gloves provide versatile protection.
Key Benefits of Mountain Equipment Gear
To summarise, here are some of the major benefits of choosing Mountain Equipment for your outdoor clothing and equipment:
Technical Performance - With decades of experience creating gear for Himalayan expeditions, Mountain Equipment's products are engineered for demanding mountain activities. Expect clothing with exceptional breathability and weather protection, and equipment with rugged durability.
Responsible Materials - Mountain Equipment make sustainability a priority, from traceable down insulation to using recycled and Bluesign-approved fabrics. This gives you peace of mind that your gear has limited environmental impact.
Optimised Fit - Clever patterning and cut combined with articulated designs gives Mountain Equipment gear excellent freedom of movement and comfort.
Lightweight - Keeping weight down through research and material selection maximises efficiency on the mountain and minimises pack burden.
Versatile Layering Ability - Clothing ranges work together as integrated layering systems that adapt to changing mountain conditions.
British Heritage - As a pioneering Sheffield-based brand, Mountain Equipment represent the finest traditions of British mountaineering and craftsmanship.
Buying Mountain Equipment
Mountain Equipment provides premium quality and technical performance, which is reflected in the pricing. However, many designs represent excellent value given their impressive durability and weather protection abilities.
Mountain Equipment also have an excellent repairs and spare parts service for extending the life of your gear. And many products come with a lifetime guarantee as a sign of confidence in their impressive durability.
Getting the Most from Your Mountain Equipment Gear
Here are some tips for getting the maximum performance and longevity from your Mountain Equipment clothing and equipment purchases:
- Carefully follow the washing and aftercare instructions. Some Mountain Equipment garments require specialist cleaning treatments to maintain water repellency.
- Use dedicated technical detergents like Nikwax Tech Wash when cleaning to revitalise water-resistant coatings and prolong the lifespan of insulation.
- Store down gear loosely to prevent compaction and allow insulation loft recovery. Never store damp.
- Weatherproof layers benefit from occasional reproofing using a technical wash-in treatment like Nikwax TX.Direct. This restores water beading and breathability.
- Avoid overstuffing pack compartments to reduce wear-and-tear on fabrics.
- Make use of Mountain Equipment's spare parts service. This allows you to replace high-wear items like broken zips to extend the useful life of a product.
- The lifetime guarantee provides peace of mind. But look after your gear carefully to get the most from quality Mountain Equipment purchases.
Why Choose Mountain Equipment?
With over 50 years of experience creating pioneering designs for the world's toughest environments, Mountain Equipment represent exceptional quality, durability, and technical performance.
Their clothing and equipment empowers adventures in the mountains and wilderness through vital protection, warmth and comfort. By choosing Mountain Equipment, you equip yourself with gear created by experts and tested by mountaineers.