|Montane Fireball Verso - packed up|
This year saw the introduction of a number of new insulated tops, a lot of which are reversible, following the somewhat trend setting Inov8 Thermoshell. The idea of this is that on one side you have windproof material, on the other is a wind permeable material and sandwiched between them is a layer of thermal insulation. Most often this ends up being one of the permutations of Primaloft. Extras like pockets and wrist cuffs etc are put on and off each jacket to give options across the market, but ultimately they all seem to want to do the same thing.
My choice was ultimately swayed by price, and perhaps the only reason why I chose a Montane Fireball Verso over the Thermoshell, or the Berghaus Vapourlight Hypertherm reversible and the other options out
there was price. I was able to get the Montane for quite a bit less, so I jumped at it, knowing that at some point this year, there are going to be some grim nights in which I'm going to be running, and a layer like this is going to be quite a necessity.
|size small - 237g|
The question is, just how warm are these jackets - for running in, and as an emergency warm layer, does the whole reversible thing work, and is there any point in buying one?
First ImpressionWell, I got the "shadow grey" Verso- because the Black ones were out of stock. The first thing I thought was... how do I tell which side is windproof, and which is the breathable side? It certainly doesn't have a massive sign telling you that on the material.
|Baffles sewn in - the Hypervent side out - breathable fabric to the fore|
The windproof material is on the side without the baffles, so theoretically, with that side out, it should be a slightly warmer jacket - the heat building up on the inside will be insulated by the primaloft and the wind shouldn't be able to permeate the fabric to whisk all the heat away, making it a lovely warm micro-climate.
|Pertex Quantum side out - windproof.|
Although the 2 options here may seem a little odd if you just want a jacket that keeps you warm as you sit down to make a brew on the hill - you have to remember, this is not what this jacket is made for.
Think fast and light.
As far as I can make out, it is for cold days when you need a certain amount of insulation and element protection, but if using it one way out is too warm, or indeed too cold, you can turn it the otherway out and hey presto - a solution without having to carry another layer.
In this Jacket, the Primaloft used is the new Primaloft Silver - which some people believe is basically the new iteration of Primaloft Eco (Primaloft Gold being, apparently the new iteration of Primaloft One), having said that, Primaloft now have a dizzying array of types of insulation, and to muddle your way through them would probably take too much time, and by the time you've worked out which one is best for your use, it'll be summer again. There are indeed various Clo ratings, but to be honest, I'm just going to get out there and see how it feels.
|Mobility in the top|
FitI'm generally a small in most jackets, and the small in the Fireball Verso is a really good, snug fit. I can get it on over a running top, and it would go over a waterproof as well, but it might require a bit of coaxing. Most likely, if it was that cold on a run, I'd stop and put it on under a waterproof. The fit itself is a good reason not to put on too much weight over the winter - or there is no way I'd get the thing on come January.
|Long sleeves and thumb loops|
Even though I have the small version, the arms are a decent length, and come right down over my hands. The thumbloops are in the right place, both ways out, and do a good job of keeping my hands toasty.
|The only pocket|
Having said all this, I've really only used it a couple of times so far. It really hasn't been cold enough to try it in anger yet, but its getting colder, and I'll be out and about in it as soon as its got to a decent chill.