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