Last week I was invited to Montane’s Kendal HQ, along with a group of others, to get an in depth look at their new Via Trail Series for 2018. We received a presentation from Montanes Head of Marketing, Terry Stephenson, on the new elements of the range. Stephen Hobday, Sales & Marketing for Polygiene and Debbie Martin-Consani, a Montane Ambassador & Ultra Runner.
Terry explained that Montane have developed range to fit for all runners from the every-person to the elite. They cover from head to ankle, they can’t say to toe apparently as they don’t do footwear. There is some specialist lightweight tops and shorts for the elite runners like Debbie and Marcus Scotney, another Montane Ambassador. The feedback they get from their ambassadors has allowed them to develop the range in to the, what they believe, to be the well rounded offering as it stands now.
Terry talked about the growth of the trail running scene and how event participation allows for Montane to tap-in to the growing market. One of the goals for Montane is to have an even split of kit for male and female. He explained the market isn’t quite there in terms of demand, however, the current range is around 60/40 in favour of men.
The amount of international ultras was quoted to be 1350 from Run Ultra I had a look on the site and there may even be more than that. Montane sponsor ultra runs internationally, the Yukon Arctic Ultra where temperatures get down to -45 deg C and only 1 finisher this year! Two years ago they took over sponsorship of the Tor De Geants which is a 330km event with 24,000 metres of ascent which takes place in Italy.
The photo above is of Debbie completing the epic Tour of the Giants.
The big “reveal” from Montane was their packs, they have designed them with a full fabric chassis that move and stretch with the users movements. With the various different types of running poles on the market Montane have developed 3 different ways they can be carried / stowed.
The big collaboration is with Polygiene. It has been impregnated into the fabric of the chassis of all Montane’s packs. This is a worlds first for packs and was the brainchild of Montane’s pack designer and was supported by Stephen.
Stephen took us through the technology of Polygiene, it’s origins in the pharmaceutical industry and why they choose the outdoor industry. Essentially because we tend to sweat in whatever our chosen outdoor activity is, leading to us becoming a bit smelly! The science bit is they impregnate they fabric with silver salts, this is done as part of the production cycle meaning there is no extra energy used to carry out the process.
As it’s not the sweat that smells, it’s the resulting bacteria growth on the fabric. What I didn’t know was that bacteria is positively charged and silver is negatively charged. So the shiny stuff cancels out the smelly stuff.
Stephen produced a Polygiene top that had been used for training for a month. We were challenged to give it the sniff test. In true My Outdoors testing style I put myself forward and stuck my nostrils against the armpit. There definitely wasn’t an offensive smell, it was more neutral. Our Cycling Editor, Stu, has reviewed the same top a while back and found similar results.
I really liked the info graphic above, which says that it’s when I the garment gets to us as the end user is where the biggest environmental impact begins, this isn’t something I had considered before.
Next Montane Ambassador, Debbie, talked us through her achievements. In addition to her recent Montane Tor De Geants, pictured above, she has conquered Spartan races in the heat of Greece, has been part of the GB 24hr running team. This is something I wasn’t aware of, participants run a 1 mile route for 24 hours! The mental strength alone to do this discipline is unfathomable to me.
Debbie talked about the mental challenges of ultra running, she described how when the going gets tough mentally the best place to get back to a ‘neutral’ state. She described it a lot more eloquently but I understand the premise, don’t look for the positive feeling as it’s a rough road on the trail sometimes and getting to a positive state is a bonus, staying out of the negative is the goal.
After we had some tasty and spicy snacks for lunch the plan was to take out newly acquired pack and gear for a test run. I was given the Razor T-shirt and the Fang 5 pack. There was also a set of long running leggings but it was a bit warm for me, I will try to get them out in the future.
We had a bimble in the local fells and then went for a run along the river. I could tell the true runners of the group weren’t really fazed by the pace. I tried to put on a good show and I think I got away with it! The Razor and Fang were comfortable, I have been already and will do put some more miles on them then come back to you with a final verdict. I can see already that there has been a lot of thought put in to how this kit is put together.
Off the back of this I have been entered into the Lakeland 50, of my own free will but I anticipate it’s going to be a hard one. Training has already begun but it’s not going to be easy. Some of the folk talked about it being a race, for me it’ll be a challenge. In a weird way I’m looking forward to it.
The day with Montane and Polygiene has taught me a lot about the brands and how they work. I have always liked Montane’s gear and everywhere I look I now consider how Polygiene would improve the fabrics we use on a daily basis. It’s just makes environmental sense.
Have a look at Montane’s Via Trail Series here.
I’d like to thank Montane, Polygiene, Debbie and Spring PR for the use of their images for the above article.