Montane Hydrogen Extreme smock VS Extreme Smock

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.

Trig

Nomad
Jun 1, 2013
274
54
Scotland
Was going to buy a Montane extreme smock to replace my buffalo special 6, but i noticed the Hydrogen extreme smock. https://www.montane.co.uk/mens-c1/montane-hydrogen-extreme-smock-p711
I cant find any reviews for the Hydrogen version, not sure if its a recently new product.

"Inspired by the tried and tested Pile / PERTEX® system technology of the renowned Extreme Smock, the new Hydrogen Extreme utilises the same 2-layer softshell concept in a modernised, lighter and even more breathable package."

The extreme is 1050g, hydrogen is 496g.

If the Extreme is anything like the buffalo, i imagine its quite bulky for in a rucksack? So hopefully the hydrogen is a bit smaller packsize being half the weight.

Wondering if anyone has any experience of it and how it compares for warmth and pack size compared to the normal extreme version?
 
Last edited:

Limaed

Full Member
Apr 11, 2006
1,209
32
44
Perth & Anglesey
Not used the above but have the Alpha Direct by Rab which looks like it has the same fleece inner / pertex outer. The Alpha Direct is very good working as a mid layer and outer shell. I used it all last winter for climbing, it worked well under Goretex hard shell (when not moving that fast) then as an outer layer walking out. I think this is Montane’s version so should be good. A lot of manufacturers are pushing out gear that is virtually identical so I guess it comes down to fit / price and brand loyalty. I’ve always like the Extreme and Buffalo but I still think traditional layering beats a single layer for our variable climate.
 

Trig

Nomad
Jun 1, 2013
274
54
Scotland
Thanks, looks like they do both use the exact same materials going by the labels. How well does the Alpha pack down compared to the likes of the extreme or buffalos?

I use the buffalo for pretty much everything this time of year. From walking the dog to hillwalking, or as a warm layer at night for camping, or as a dry warm layer in a bag while out kayaking. I could get a down jacket that would be warm enough and pack down smaller, but i like the buffalo being able to do everything, and if it starts to rain, i dont need to bother with a waterproof unless it gets really heavy.

Only reason im looking at something else is because i wear the buffalo to work also, and it gets a bit dirty sometimes to then use it out and about. The only negatives about it for me is the pack size and the fact that it gets a bit too warm sometimes,both of which look less of an issue with the hydrogen.
 

Tonyuk

Settler
Nov 30, 2011
882
50
Scotland
The hydrogen is similar to the rab guide jacket, which is like a light pile/pertex system.

I prefer the montane extreme, and the rab for the warmer weather. Both are too warm to walk in most times of the year imo. If your wanting a layer for warmth then they can be good but even a cheap-ish synthetic fill jacket will be warmer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trig and Erbswurst
Sep 16, 2013
444
131
Rochester, Kent
I have the Extreme Smock, I've really enjoyed wearing it in the depths of winter and indeed when out on exposed camps. It can indeed be bulky but worth it's weight in gold when the temps drop and I've never regretted carrying it on my wildcamps. As we progress deeper into the cold season, I expect I'll be wearing it rather than storing it in my rucksack during the walks into camp. The good thing about the smock is that it does air well with all the venting options.

Having looked at the hydrogen extreme smock, it certainly does look like the part. However I think I'd still go with the original. Given that the pile lining has been replaced with fleece, I'd assume that it wouldn't be as warm. This would mean that you'd cancel out some of the weight saving by carrying an extra layer. The original smock is generally the only warm layer you'd need to wear/carry on cold camps. I also notice that the Hydrogen extreme smock seems to be lacking the more durable fabric around the hard wearing areas (e.g; lower arms and elbows).

As for fitting, these garments are designed to be quite a close fit so you'll need to think about going up a size, especially if you want to wear a layer or two underneath.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trig

Limaed

Full Member
Apr 11, 2006
1,209
32
44
Perth & Anglesey
Thanks, looks like they do both use the exact same materials going by the labels. How well does the Alpha pack down compared to the likes of the extreme or buffalos?

I use the buffalo for pretty much everything this time of year. From walking the dog to hillwalking, or as a warm layer at night for camping, or as a dry warm layer in a bag while out kayaking. I could get a down jacket that would be warm enough and pack down smaller, but i like the buffalo being able to do everything, and if it starts to rain, i dont need to bother with a waterproof unless it gets really heavy.

Only reason im looking at something else is because i wear the buffalo to work also, and it gets a bit dirty sometimes to then use it out and about. The only negatives about it for me is the pack size and the fact that it gets a bit too warm sometimes,both of which look less of an issue with the hydrogen.
The Rab Alpha packs smaller than the Buffalo / Montane but is more bulky than a Polartec 200 pullover (this is what I used to wear under a hard shell). I’m happy with that though as the difference isn’t massive compared to a pile smock. You still might find the Hydrogen a bit warm if you are working quite hard (like walking out from a climb), I was last year even though it was probably -5•C or below. The Alpha was actually really good for cold spring days teaching rock climbing also so I think the design is more versatile than a Pile smock.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trig

MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,484
74
Northumberland
The above new models from Rab Alpha and Direct and the Montane Hydrogen are nice but unless you are a serious climber wouldn’t a simple fleese 100g or 200g be enough for hillworks but with the added extra of carrying the buffalo or extreme smock as a stopping warm top or winter top.

Expensive alternatives
 

Trig

Nomad
Jun 1, 2013
274
54
Scotland
Alright, thanks for the info. A cheaper fleece etc would do for most things yeah, but i like the smocks. Expensive, but my buffalo is still going strong after several years of various levels of abuse.

As for fitting, these garments are designed to be quite a close fit so you'll need to think about going up a size, especially if you want to wear a layer or two underneath.
I always wear a baselayer below mine now. When i first got my buffalo top, it was turning to colder weather, but it was a nice sunny weekend so i took the dog a walk and wore my new smock to try it out. Decided to wear it next to the skin with nothing else as recommended.
That was a mistake.Was roasting hot even with all the vents open, but i had nothing else with me to wear so i couldnt remove it, and i would have looked a bit mad anyway going topless in November! I did test out its sweat wicking potential though :)
 

Limaed

Full Member
Apr 11, 2006
1,209
32
44
Perth & Anglesey
Alright, thanks for the info. A cheaper fleece etc would do for most things yeah, but i like the smocks. Expensive, but my buffalo is still going strong after several years of various levels of abuse.



I always wear a baselayer below mine now. When i first got my buffalo top, it was turning to colder weather, but it was a nice sunny weekend so i took the dog a walk and wore my new smock to try it out. Decided to wear it next to the skin with nothing else as recommended.
That was a mistake.Was roasting hot even with all the vents open, but i had nothing else with me to wear so i couldnt remove it, and i would have looked a bit mad anyway going topless in November! I did test out its sweat wicking potential though :)
One of the guys I work with on my MRT told me a story about getting reprimanded for wearing a baselayer under his Buffalo when they first came out in the 80s. The chap turned out to be Hamish Hamillton who started Buffalo. I’ve had mixed success with the concept and never quite took to it for the reason you stated.
 

Tonyuk

Settler
Nov 30, 2011
882
50
Scotland
I wouldn't bother about wearing layers underneath these smocks, a baselayer only for me.

Due to the pile lining they grip almost like velcro to anything under them unless it has a smooth surface, a microfleece etc.. would be a complete pain.

What i recommend;

- Baselayer, synthetic or merino if you want, reasonably close fitting and either long or short sleeve depending on the weather.

- Mid layer, cheap fleece zip pullover, decathalon do good ones for about £6, thin enough to be very flexible and breathe well.

- Windproof top, one of those running windproofs with the mesh on the back if possible, very thin and weight nothing but keep the heat in.

- Insulation layer, a parramo synthetic for me, one size larger so i can throw it on over everything at a stop.


I only wear my warm kit when i'm not walking or working etc.. I run hot, so usually just the baselayer is fine, or the baselayer and fleece. If its windy but not that cold then a long sleeve base layer and the windproof is cooler and stops the windproof feeling sticky against the skin if it gets a bit wet. I only walk in waterproofs if necessary.

Pile smocks are great in the biting cold, something like -5 or below, anything warmer than that and you'll sweat badly when walking, and then chill very quickly once you stop.

Quick note about the buffalo/montane/snugpak;

The buffalo has a lighter and softer pile than the other two and is really better for wear next to the skin as a shirt, however the cut isnt exactly 'technical' and as such if you have long arms & broad shoulders and are climbing etc.. you'll find the cuff rides up. The montane is better cut in that regard, however its warmer overall and isn't as comfortable next to the skin.

The snugpak is just a big fleece really, cut like a box and isnt suitable for use against the skin like the above are, its the thickest pile and the most bulky by far.
 
Last edited:

MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,484
74
Northumberland
I always wear a baselayer below mine now. When i first got my buffalo top, it was turning to colder weather, but it was a nice sunny weekend so i took the dog a walk and wore my new smock to try it out. Decided to wear it next to the skin with nothing else as recommended.
That was a mistake.Was roasting hot even with all the vents open, but i had nothing else with me to wear so i couldnt remove it, and i would have looked a bit mad anyway going topless in November! I did test out its sweat wicking potential though :)[/QUOTE]

I always stick a nylon (light and small) t shirt in the chest pocket of my buffalo just in case I want to not wear the Smock and walk in t shirt only. A baselayer would just be as easy to carry in the pocket.