Peaking on Adventure Gear

by The Editor

Mont-1-BWMont. ‘Mountain’ in French. Correct?

Not necessarily so.

In our darling capital it’s short for Andrew ‘Monty’ Montgomery, who started an adventure gear label 33 years ago that remains fiercely independent in a world where bigger operations gobble up smaller ones, and that’s just for entree.

Mont Adventure Equipment is homegrown. Yes homegrown. Today it runs a national operation and has international fans too.

This year, for the second time, Mont will be on the catwalk at Fashfest. You’ve got to be kidding? What does adventure gear have to do with fashion? And a red-carpet fashion event at that?

Keep reading.

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Mont began when Andrew hand-made his first down sleeping bag, down jacket and backpack out of his small Canberra flat in 1978 using his brother’s vintage sewing machine. Friends were impressed with his talent and began commissioning pieces.

Andrew’s reputation for top-shelf gear quickly spread and, in 1981, Andrew founded Mont Adventure Equipment. He moved operations out of his flat, much to the relief of family, friends and neighbours who no longer had to cope with trails of feathers about the place.

Mont-3-BWToday the company remains in Fyshwick, in a 3,000 square-metre space, with a state-of-the-art warehouse, design area, operations area and flagship retail store.

The first thing that hits you when you walk into the store—other than the massive range—is the burst of colour. Electric pink, royal purple, peacock blue, pumpkin orange and many shades of green. And that brings us to fashion.

 

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It used to be that Mont only produced adventure clothing in two basic colours—red and blue. Today Mont is really into fashion and its designers have shifted gear and now think ‘style’ as much as ‘performance’. So it’s no surprise that former Governor General Quentin Bryce wore a bright yellow Mont jacket to keep her toasty warm on a trip to the Antarctic. And it’s no surprise that Olympian Alicia Coutts is looking forward to wearing Mont for her debut catwalk appearance at Fashfest. It’s a perfect fit for an elite athlete.

All of Mont’s premium products are designed in-house by a small team passionate about the outdoors. The company only uses the best material and best components which is why it is dead serious when it says Mont can be trusted in the wild.Mont-4-BW

And it’s no small point. Who wants to get caught in the wild with cheaper, look-alike clothing that just doesn’t keep you warm, dry or comfortable? And this happens, since the average consumer can’t tell the difference between two fabrics visually, but they sure as hell can when expecting it to perform in extreme conditions. Hence the word ‘trust’.

Think Doug Chatten, whose alpine pursuits have taken him all over the world, including to Russia, Switzerland, Canada and France. Mont has come to his rescue on many occasions, including once when Doug was pinned down on the Murchison Head Wall at Mt Cook in 150 km per hour winds, once when he was entombed in a snow cave in Kosciuszko, and once when he was stuck on Mt Elbrus in Russia in minus 35 degrees Celcius.

It’s all about trust.

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So it’s no wonder Mont is chosen by serious adventurers—including climbers, cyclists, sailers, rowers, polar guides—as their gear of choice. Think Benji Rogers-Wilson, Chris Warner, Michael Milton, Allie Pepper and others. These are folks who make those of us who think walking around Lake Burley Griffin is an extreme sport look, well, a bit silly.

The great thing about Mont—if you’re not a mad-keen sports person or an adventure nut—is that you get to be warm in Canberra’s winter and look cool at the same time.

Mont is at Fashfest on Thursday 1 May. Fashfest is held at the award-winning Canberra Airport in a raw, industrial, impressive-looking space. 3 Molonglo Drive, Brindabella Park.

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All Mont images provided by Mont.

Alicia Coutts images:

Designer: Rockstars and Royalty
Photographer: Andrew Campbell
Hair: Form Hair
MUA: Kylie Kotzu

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