ProView – Cotopaxi Monte Hybrid Jacket
The Monte Hybrid jacket is cool weather activity layer for use both under heavier insulation and shells or as a stand-alone exterior layer in moderate, changing conditions. Striking a nice balance of fit and flexibility with synthetic insulation and a recycled, moisture-resistant polyester shell and recycled stretch fleece, the Monte is as smart as it looks. With two hand-warmer pockets and an interior breast stash pocket, snacks and devices are always at the ready.
Cotopaxi Monte Hybrid Jacket
Product Description: Designed to ditch excess heat when you’re moving fast and keep you warm and comfortable when you’re at a standstill, our all-new Men’s Monte Hybrid Jacket stylishly solves the hot-cold-hot-cold dilemma of stop-and-go winter days outside. The Monte’s modern hybrid construction is built around its lightweight Polartec® Alpha active insulation, which provides ample core warmth while remaining highly breathable for cold, high-output pursuits like snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and winter trail running. We used 100% recycled polyester for the shell, and soft, breathable, recycled polyester stretch fleece in the sleeves and side panels for improved moisture management and full freedom of movement. And with versatile colors and a stylish design, the Monte Hybrid knows how to keep it casual for cold-weather commutes, winter travels, and downtown dinners.
Offer price: MSRP: $180.00
The Monte isn’t as snug as it looks and for once, a company made a versatile mid-layer for people other than bean-pole body types who ultrarun to get coffee (with a mask on, of course). It’s all about the multitude of uses for this new Cotopaxi product. It’s an ideal all-year outdoor partner, good for foggy morning mountain bikes and campfire kick-backs. Breathability is good, not great, but comfort and fit make up for it. The coat isn’t quite that packable or wind beating and the zipper worries me a bit, but overall, the recycled men’s Monte Hybrid is likely a sure hit.
- Minimalist features
- Balance of warmth/breathability
- Accommodation of base layer
- Wind resistance
The Monte isn’t as snug as it looks and for once, a company made a versatile mid-layer for people other than bean-pole body types who ultrarun to get coffee (with a mask on, of course). It’s all about the multitude of uses for this new Cotopaxi product. It’s an ideal all-year outdoor partner, good for foggy morning mountain bikes and campfire kick-backs. Breathability is good, not great, but comfort and fit make up for it. The coat isn’t quite that packable or wind beating, and the zipper worries me a bit, but overall, the recycled men’s Monte Hybrid is likely a sure hit.
An ideal winter mid-layer or cool summer morning go-to, Cotopaxi has a winner in the Monte Hybrid jacket. Its shell and liner are 100% recycled and the light layer of Polartec Alpha is just enough to insulate, not overheat.
This is a versatile, year-round piece targeted squarely at mountain town inhabitants who thrive on 40-degree temperature swings and the annoyances of unpredictable shoulder season crud. Yet, at risk of sounding cliché, it has an urban appeal, thanks to what has become Cotopaxi’s bread-and-butter: its uncanny ability to nail unique, stylish color combinations. Ski town locals be warned: you’ll see this jacket getting out of a Tesla the next time that Airbnb next to you gets booked.
But don’t let that get you down, because this jacket isn’t about making statements about the wearer’s degree of outdoor authenticity, it’s about deftly balancing warmth, fit, and comfort.
The supple stretch of the sleeve is the epitome of fabric that moves with you. From reaching to tie your snowboard boots for that steep pitch or throw socially distant high-fives, the recycled stretch fleece gives where it should and in many weeks of consistent wear, never ripped or over-extended.
I wore this coat under a moderately heavy backpack on several occasions and found it to be comfortable in all places it should be: under the shoulder straps, under the waistbelt, and at the lower back. It helped me back up a too-light sleeping bag when a cold spring windstorm wouldn’t let up until morning, camped outside of Truckee, CA in the north-central Sierra.
You don’t have to overthink a jacket in this category, and Cotopaxi did well in this regard. I also like that they didn’t put a hood on it, because that’s what your more burly hard-shell is supposed to do.
For some reason, almost no brand has been able to nail the balance between comfort and usability when it comes to thumb-hole loops on sleeve cuffs. Over time, the stitching becomes irritating when notched into the thumb-pit (thenar webspace), especially as the stretch fleece applies pressure to return to its normal “at-rest” state. Granted, I found this to be the case on only a prolonged cold morning trail run, so the Monte Hybrid is better at it than other similar mid-layer jackets I’ve tested over the years, but you’ll notice it. Can we get an extra patch of fleece? Or a broader stitch of some kind?
What’s not lacking is the overall fit of this jacket. I was surprised at the lack of a stretchy, or adjustable hem—in a good way. The jacket front, side panels, and back aren’t met by an elastic band or even internal drawcords. For a mid-layer designed to reach and stay intact below a shell or heavier insulator, the Monte Hybrid’s hem-line stayed in place. I think this won’t be a guarantee for every wearer because we’re all different shapes and sizes, but it helps this coat stand out in a space crowded with overly smaller puffies and technical fleeces.
There are three pockets, two on each side, one inside the left breast. Simple. At no point did I have to frisk myself to discover where I put the lip balm, and each is as plainly practical as a pocket should be.
Room for Improvement
A couple of other faults include its general lack of packability and the quality of the main zipper. The former can be an issue when traveling or backpacking, as I experienced on a four-day trip to Yosemite’s Lake Vernon. However, it’s to be expected with synthetic down apparel and a piece that’s designed to be worn as your recreate, not as an emergency layer you yank out when conditions change dramatically, although it served me well while snatching swigs of bourbon and watching the sun slide behind distant granite.
Relative to the zipper, I didn’t have any specific trouble, but over time that could change.
The Final Word
If I was to carry a single jacket on an extended trip for mild conditions outside of winter, this would be it. It hits the right balance of warmth and comfort in dry, fluctuating climates. It’s not a rain shell or wind layer for peak baggers, but it’s definitely for those who hit the trails before the sun softens the snowpack or dries out the single-track.
About the Gear Tester
Craig is a full-time writer and backpacking/hiking guide living in Truckee, CA. He guides for Wildland Trekking in the Sierra and desert southwest and co-owns Pika Odysseys, a fledging wilderness wellness and experiences company. He's a fan of craft beer, good and bad coffee, and a not-so-mini Australian Shepherd named Ranger.