During my adventure to Northumberland I was able to try out one of the latest additions to Montane’s Via trail series – the Dragon Pull-on. It’s a mid-layer top made of lightweight fleece (Thermo Lite). Unlike its namesake, there is nothing scary here…
Looking at it, it’s a simple long sleeved top design with a zip on the chest and a high collar to protect the neck. I’m liking these Montane zipped tops more and more – great for breathability and adjusting on the go. It comes in two colour options – black with green trim (like most of my Montane kit!) or the ‘flag red’ and with a grey trim. Each comes with the familiar reflective ‘Via Trail Series’ brand details.
Now here’s the twist. The Dragon features a nice little, unassuming design treat. Hidden in the sleeves are emergency windproof mitts. Woooah. Hold on there. Hidden in the sleeves? Mitts? Yep!
You don’t notice them so easily when looking, but the cuffs have a double layer on the ‘outside’ of the arm. You can fold this layer back over your hand and bam! Mitts! Best thing is these can work with your thumb in the thumb loop (on the cuff) or not. Minimal fuss.
So, you’re out running, your fingers get cold. No problem. No more folding your hands up inside your sleeves, let your sleeves fold up over your hands instead! Too warm? Fold them back. Simple. Such a great idea to protect from the elements and save messing about looking for your gloves in your pack/pockets. Obviously though these are no substitute for proper gloves when the weather requires something more robust!
Another nice little touch with the mitts is that the inside (becomes he outside of the hand when in use, follow me?) is fleece. So you’ve a nice soft touch for all your needs.
As I mentioned, I was briefly able to try this top out on a recent trip to the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland. It was the beginning of October and the weather was starting to get colder. The range of hills reach up to 815m (The Cheviot) and there is little protection from the elements. An ideal place to see what the top is all about!
I found that, out on The Cheviot Hills I was constantly folding, and subsequently unfolding, the cuffs as the wind picked up and the temperature changed. My body was kept warm by the fleece construction of the top and I only changed it when we reached the summits (and where it was really windy!) or when we were caught in the sun later in the day (and when a long-sleeved mid-layer was not appropriate!).
Something else I like about the Dragon is, like the majority of the Via Trail Series products, that it is treated in the usual POLYGIENE® permanent odour control treatment. After working up a sweat running around the Northumberland National Park for 20 miles or so, it didn’t smell too badly at the end!
So what do I like?
- The cuffs. Yeah. If the above description doesn’t explain how much of a fan I am then I don’t know what will.
- The zip on the chest. Great for a bit of extra breathability when needed.
- The feel. This is super soft on the skin. It feels pretty tough and durable too (and is made from a stretch fabric for a great fit!).
And the not-so-likes?
- I didn’t really get long enough (covered about 20 miles over 5 hours or so) in it to identify anything I didn’t like. I’d struggle to see what the problems could be though. It’s lightweight, durable, stretch fit mid-layer. It’s basically built to last on the trails.
The top kept me warm when needed but I didn’t overheat when the temperature increased. My fingers loved the emergency mitts and these were so easy to use. I think its a great top with a wicked design to incorporate some emergency mitts. This makes the product quite unique and very functional!