I’ve been wearing the Mountain Warehouse Extreme Brisk Mountain Jacket for a few months now in a range of conditions and it high time I offer some thoughts.
In common with the Adrenaline cycle jacket, which I posted about a while back, this jacket is manufactured from IsoDry, although a better performing version of the fabric according to the swing ticket.
The Brisk uses 10,000mm IsoDry, which has a claimed moisture vapour transfer (MVT) rate of 5,000g/24hrs/m2. Stats aside, the fabric of this jacket is considerable softer than that used for the Adrenaline and the jacket feels more comfortable as a result on the hill.
The Brisk Extreme features a contrast, full-length water resistant zip, 2 zip fastening zide pockets, a chest pocket and an internal map pocket, which just about takes an OS map – just. It has a comfortable micro-fleece lined collar, Velcro cuffs, a draw cord hem and a draw cord hood, though no wired peak. Ventilation zips are located at the armpits.
In common with the Adrenaline, the jacket features a mesh liner to help manage moisture with full lining below the waist and on the arms.
The Brisk in a size large fitted me pretty well. The arms were plenty long enough and the jacket not too baggy so a fleece sits nicely underneath. I didn’t miss the lack of a waist draw cord as I find the pack waist belt does this job well enough in use. It may be a little short for some users, but I prefer a jacket of this length.
The Brisk has been used in a variety of conditions from wet summer tramps across Peak bog to a (very) wet three-day backpack from Glenfinnan to Inverie. It performed pretty well. However, while it keeps water out, breathability is poor compared to other (more expensive) fabrics.
This shortcoming was brought into sharp focus on my Scotland walk. In typical fashion, conditions ranged from sublime to pretty rank. Being summer, though, the ambient temperature was generally high and I sweated heavily at times. These very damp conditions, both inside and out, would have tested any mountain jacket, but the Brisk really struggled.
Even with pit zips open, I was constantly damp, particularly on the descent into Inverie when this dampness degenerated into a chill, which saw me shivering by the time I reached the Old Forge. The chest pocket leaked too, sadly, although the full-length zip seemed up to the job as far as I could tell. The hood was of a decent size and comfortable but would have benefited considerably from a wire peak.
Another unpleasant characteristic of the jacket in these conditions is that it smells. At first, I thought this was me. However, my merino base layer and fleece were reassuringly ‘fresh’ after three days backpacking while the shoulders and waist areas of the jacket where it contacted my pack hummed.
I’ve washed it since according to the manufacturer’s instructions and the nasty niff remains when used in tough conditions.
The Extreme Brisk Jacket is well designed and well made, but sadly let down by the IsoDry fabric. As a general waterproof for ambles and country walks it does a fine job but I don’t feel confident using it in the mountains. I note this jacket is currently unavailable in the MW range, although I think the quoted ‘discounted’ retail price was £69.99. This represents fairly good value if you bear in mind its limitations.