The Salomon Mountain Crossing jacket is advertised as a “very lightweight and packable ClimaPRO waterproof jacket with stretch panels in key areas for a motion fit”, and aimed at walkers and climbers. It looks great, it sounds great and at 290grams it’s definitely lightweight, but how did it fair when I took it to the summit of an Alpine peak?!
Most of this jacket is made from Salomon’s “ClimaPRO” fabric, which is what they call a ‘2.5 layer’ fabric. This combines a tough outer shell with a waterproof and breathable barrier inside. This fabric is not only clever but very lightweight. There is also a couple of panels around the neck and upper back made from Salomon’s “ClimaPRO 2.5L Stretch” fabric, which does what it says…it’s really stretchy and allows you to turn your head and body without resistance. I really noticed this whilst climbing as we were getting in a few tight positions, and it worked brilliantly.
At first sight and touch this jacket doesn’t look or feel that durable, being lightweight also thin, but when you actually give it a tug or stretch you will find the material is very forgiving and strong. You can actually see it stretching inside as the material has tiny squares which distort as you do so. The stitching looks sturdy and the seams are taped well. I wore this jacket as well as ropes, harness, rucksack and all manner of alpine gear, which at times was rubbing against the jacket as we scrambled up rocky peaks and ridges. I noticed myself dragging the jacket across rocks and ice, and thinking it probably wouldn’t be doing the jacket any good, but was in no position to worry about it too much at the time! When I returned to the valley that day I was amazed to find nothing on any part of the jacket to show the abuse I had given it. Further more after packing it away into the tiniest pocket in my rucksack, it still went back to shape without looking creased pretty quickly.
I have been caught out in two storms so far in this jacket and have also rested in deep snow. The jacket kept me dry with the water beading off nicely and no problems as of yet with water coming in through the zipped areas. Of course waterproofness will be tested properly over time, but so far so good for Salomon’s ClimaPRO fabric.
To ventilate this jacket you do a few things. Firstly the obvious one is to pull the front zip down, which I did in the Alps as I had so much gear on I couldn’t reach the pockets. The pockets are linked to a mesh lining which whilst open, allows air to circulate between you and the jacket. I did exactly this as we moved in to the warmer valley and felt and instant difference in temperature and also carried on cooling over the next few hours of decent. It also allowed the sweat to escape quicker as we put the extra effort in. The cuffs also have velcro tabs which you can loosen up to cool off or tighten if it gets colder.
When I put this jacket on I felt the fit was very good and again I could move about without much restriction. The cuffs felt comfortable, even when fully tightened and the hood felt very comfortable even when tighten with the drawcords. The cut of this jacket is not to tight or fitted and slightly hangs over the bum area which I found really helped to stop it riding up even at full stretch. This jacket was a medium which is my normal size, and although fitted me well with just a base layer on, there was also room for a fleece layer when I needed it.
Hood and drawcords
As with most lightweight jackets, the hood is fairly basic in shape, but it does have a peak with a drawcord underneath it to draw closer to the face and another one around the back of the head to bring the hood closer. Both drawcords feel tough are secured by a small tab to stop them disappearing in to the holes. They are also short and even when you pull them tight, the cords don’t wave around and are fairly neat. Due to the stretchable back panels already mentioned the hood moves with your head rather than rubs against it which is noticeable. The final drawcord is around the bottom of the jacket so you can tighten in around the bum as neatly done like the others.
The zip down the front of the jacket has a slightly curved tab attached which makes it easy to use, especially when you have gloves on, although still saving on weight and size. I really like this little design! A storm flap also covers this zip to stop rain and wind coming in as much as possible. This arrangement feels easy to use and keeps you protected from the elements. The same can be said for the two pocket zips which also have the curved tab. Both are slanted with a storm flaps.
This jacket has two pockets on the front which are angled and positioned low enough down the jacket that even with a rucksack on you can access them. This was really handy on the ascent as we were soon adding gloves and hats as we gained height, and are also big enough to fit an OS map in. The pockets are also mesh, allowing ventilation as already mentioned. Inside on the left side is a small mesh pocket, big enough for money, keys or in my case the chairlift pass.
The Salomon Mountain Crossing jacket has a retail price of around £130.
You normally associate lightweight waterproof jackets as one you just chuck in to your rucksack and use in a shower or in the summer months and although this jacket is perfect for that, it has some many other uses. With warmer conditions in the Alps than predicted, and still with cooler spells, this jacket performed really well. I have been very impressed with this jacket overall and would use it right up until the weather just got too cold, as it allows you freedom of movement, protection from the elements and the ability to breathe, what else do you need?! It’s not cheap at £130, but such a great designed, nice looking and versatile jacket I reckon it’s worth every penny!
For more information on this jacket click on the following link:
Salomon Mountain Crossing Jacket
More pictures of this jacket in use:
Aiguille Du Tor climb