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Active Traveller reviews the versatile slice of toasty Primaloft comfort that is the Montane Fireball insulated smock

montane fireball smock
Overall Score
Just the right weight, thickness and packability for ultimate versatility
The super-picky might hanker for more than two colourways

Bin nights spent scrunching up empty plastic water bottles to squeeze into an unfit-for-purpose recycling bin will never be the same again. Who'd have thought empty water bottles – about six apparently – could be turned turn into such a comfortable, versatile and portable insulating layer?

The beauty of the Fireball is that it actually isn't too warm. Montane has put just the right amount of Primaloft – 40g of the fully synthetic Silver Eco fill to be exact – so that it is warm enough without being stifling, as well as being compact and light enough to stuff in the top of a rucksack or its own stuff sack. The resulting package is about the size of three large peppers side-by-side in a pack.

This carefully judged weight makes it the perfect go-to insulation layer for camping on summer nights, windy days or cool evenings at the beach, or pretty much any day in the British hills.

Designed to be worn on the move, breathability is good – again thanks to its light weight, no doubt – and although the cut is quite fitted, with articulated arms and narrow sleeves, this is a supremely comfortable smock that you won't want to take off.

A Pertex Rip-stop outer fabric copes well with the rough and tumble of active outdoor wear, and light summer rain beads up and runs off nicely. The advantage of Primaloft over down insulation is that if you do get a drenching, it will still keep you warm when wet, and will dry quicker.

Detailing is plentiful on such a deceptively simple top, with  elasticated cuffs, reflective logos on each sleeve, a soft fleece 'beard guard' at the front of the collar, which doubles as a zip baffle to avoid snagging that inevitable adventure beard, and a zipped outer chest pocket.

The long, colour-matched YKK main zip leaves an opening big enough to get the smock on and off over even a helmeted head, and a lower zip lets you create a vent without fully opening the collar.

All this in an insulated top that weighs in at just over 275g.

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