MOUN­TAIN EQUIP­MENT LHOTSE / MANASLU £350

This is a well es­tab­lished 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket but is it re­ally worth pay­ing all that ex­tra cash? And could this classic be even bet­ter?

Trail (UK) - - GEAR -

■ Ma­te­ria● 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro ■ Me■’s S-XXL (Lhotse)

■ Wome■’s 8-16 (Manaslu)

■ Weight 531g (XL) IT'S GOOD

The Lhotse con­tin­ues to be the bench­mark against which other jack­ets are mea­sured. Built of tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro it’s in­cred­i­bly durable, giv­ing ar­mour-like pro­tec­tion in storms and high lev­els of wa­ter­proof­ness and breatha­bil­ity, so I was never damp on our fi­nal test day in Lang­dale, even with chang­ing con­di­tions.

The de­sign also de­liv­ers when it comes to prac­ti­cal fea­tures, pro­vid­ing both good body cov­er­age and un­re­stricted move­ment, with sleeves and hems stay­ing put when reach­ing for holds on the steep rock. The three ex­ter­nal pock­ets are in just the right places, clear of ruck­sack straps, al­low­ing ‘hands in pock­ets’ walk­ing and a chest pocket large enough for a map or guide­book.

Pit zips, which aren’t stiff un­der the arm, open eas­ily to im­prove ven­ti­la­tion, and the hood with a well-stiff­ened peak and rear vol­ume ad­juster kept the wind and rain out with­out re­strict­ing vi­sion whilst walk­ing and scram­bling.

HOW­EVER

With top-spec gear, the cons are of­ten weight and price, and it’s not the light­est jacket avail­able. It could be ar­gued that it’s over-specced for most Lake­land days out, and a lighter jacket would suf­fice, but if you walk year-round in the UK as we do, and you’re look­ing for one jacket that’ll tackle ev­ery­thing, then the ex­tra weight is worth it.

Mois­ture man­age­ment re­lies on hav­ing the right com­bi­na­tion of base lay­ers un­der­neath, so in chang­ing con­di­tions it was fleece on/off a num­ber of times to main­tain ideal tem­per­a­ture and pre­vent over­heat­ing.

How­ever, I can’t fault the fab­ric or the de­sign, and coming onto the sum­mit of Harrison Stickle into a cold, rain-laden wind, with both test jack­ets in my pack, it was the Lhotse I in­stinc­tively reached for.

VER­DICT

A sea­soned per­former, with high-end fab­ric and bril­liant de­sign, I’d wear it with con­fi­dence in any con­di­tions in the Bri­tish moun­tains.

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