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First test: Sherpa Nangpala Down Jacket (2014)

£250.00

The traditional and well-proven choice for top-quality insulation has been down, gathered from geese. However, as down loses some of its insulating performance when wet, synthetic fibres are often used instead, which perform better than down when wet, but are heavier and less compact. This is not ideal, say when carrying an insulated jacket in your rucksack. So over recent ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Crater (2014)

£250.00

FeaturesThe Mammut Crater has those all-important two large chest pockets that can be used to warm hands or store maps with easy access while wearing a rucksack. In addition you get pit zips for improved condensation control. The hood is helmet-compatible and benefits from a stiffened (but not wired) peak, a rear volume adjuster and face drawcords. All that is ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody (2014)

£180.00

FeaturesThe Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody has seen a major improvement since Trail reviewed it in March 2013: the hood now has a rear volume adjuster. The two pockets on the body are still just too small to take an OS map, though, and access to these is also slightly obscured by rucksack hipbelts. Like most jackets in our test the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Rime Pro Jacket (2014)

£170.00

FeaturesBeing able to wear a warm jacket over a waterproof can be a real advantage in some situations, and the Mammut Rime Pro Jacket is designed to do just that. It has a hood with a wired peak, and drawcord adjustment at the face and back of head. But all three outside pockets are a bit small for OS maps. ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Berghaus Capucin (2014)

£160.00

FeaturesThere are a lot of nice touches here, but some annoying elements too. The hood has face drawcords, but no volume adjustment at the back. The three pockets on the outside are placed reasonably well for access with a rucksack on, but they aren’t quite big enough for an OS map. The cuffs get internal elastication, though, which is neatly ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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The North Face Thermoball Hoodie (2014)

£170.00

FeaturesWhat a difference a hood drawcord makes – and that’s what sets the The North Face Thermoball Hoodie apart from others. You also get elasticated cuffs where the elastication is tucked inside so the cuff is neater and potentially less draughty. The two main pockets are happily OS map-sized; but, like most, access is obscured when a hipbelt from a ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mountain Equipment Vulcan (2014)

£200.00

There’s something retro about this new jacket from Mountain Equipment. With its chunky zips and vintage colour, from a distance it’s easy to mistake the Vulcan for the old-style fleece jacket that in a way it spiritually replaces. Thick and soft, it has the feel of a drysuit and the Gore Windstopper’s impressive DWR (durable water repellent) continues this illusion. ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rab Vapour Rise Guide Jacket (2014)

£160.00

Exceptionally comfortable and billed as the ‘original’ soft shell, Rab’s insulated Vapour Rise garments aim to be very warm yet extremely breathable. As such they are well-suited – and well-proven as such – to excelling in the British hills in seasons when you really don’t know what’s likely to be thrown at you. The Vapour Rise Guide Jacket is very ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Ultimate Light Hoody (2014)

£170.00

Far and away the lightest soft shell we looked at in this test, the Mammut Ultimate Light Hoody, by its rather cocky name, has a lot to live up to. On paper it adds up: Gore Windstopper fabric provides premium protection from gales, while remaining relatively breathable. That said, you’ll still heat up if working hard, and for this there ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mountain Hardwear Hueco Hooded Jacket (2014)

£150.00

Brand new for this autumn/winter, the Hueco Hooded Jacket joins the future classic Super Chockstone Jacket among traditionally high-end Californian manufacturer Mountain Hardwear’s hillwalker-relevant products. It’s warm, featuring plush fleece lining and a full-weight, helmet-compatible hood beneath a proprietory face fabric called Airshield 3L, designed by Mountain Hardwear to be breathable before the clammy effects of exertion kick in. The ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Montane Sabretooth Jacket (2014)

£165.00

The Montane Sabretooth Jacket is in many respects the one to beat here, having previously won both ‘Best in Test’ and ‘Best Value’ awards in Trail tests. There’s no denying that the Sabretooth has been designed with the British hillwalker firmly in mind. Features-wise, you get four pockets – two big ’uns on the chest plus two others above the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Marmot ROM (2014)

£160.00

ROM stands for ‘Range Of Movement’, and this selling point is achieved by an all-over two-way stretch fabric with four-way stretch breathable panels under and along the arms. The Marmot ROM is also a generously long jacket that isn’t prone to riding up. Both of these assets notwithstanding, the freedom of movement isn’t massively more striking than other jackets in ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Arc’Teryx Epsilon LT Hoody (2014)

£150.00

There’s a lot to be said for simplicity. It’s something Arc’Teryx is very good at: making products that seem minimalist but sport features that feel very considered. The Epsilon LT Hoody is fairly light, highly functional and understated-looking, with performance that is pitched just right for most regular conditions. So this is for those who prefer to have a basic, ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Outdoor Research Alibi (2014)

£190.00

Here’s an impressive jacket from Seattle-based Outdoor Research, a brand that – despite being massive Stateside – is still a relatively rare sight in the UK hills. The Alibi has a hybrid construction, utilising waterproof panels in the hood and shoulders to give protection where the ‘weather hits hardest’. This does work for short showers or snow, but it’s no ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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La Sportiva Trango Cube (2014)

£275.00

Reducing weight in many products is relatively easy, but when it comes to stiff mountaineering boots there are limits to what can be achieved. Or at least that used to be the case, before La Sportiva turned to modern technology for an answer. Mountaineering boots have to be stiff to allow them to take crampons, hold an edge when climbing ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Haglöfs Rugged II Mountain Pant (2014)

£150.00

Made from a relatively heavy nylon canvas called Climatic, with triple stitching in many areas, Haglöfs Rugged II Mountain Pants are well-established, hardwearing trousers. There’s no stretch in the main fabric but there are waterproof stretch panels in the knees and seat. The waist has elastication and belt loops, and there is zipped ventilation behind the thighs, while the two ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Base Jump Advanced II Pant (2014)

£150.00

Base Jump Advanced II Pants – the latest version of Mammut’s very popular trousers – uses stretchy and durable Schoeller fabric with a 3XDry treatment for fast drying. The fabric is an excellent weight for general hill use, making them a good option throughout the year until shorts are needed. The seat and ankle cuff are reinforced for extra durability, ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mountain Equipment Aeon (2014)

£160.00

The Mountain Equipment Aeon boasts a wealth of hill-orientated features. Firstly the Drilite fabric features top-end waterproofness and breathability, while the ‘dry-touch’ inner treatment helps to manage condensation – although higher-priced fabrics may be even better. The fabric also feels a little softer than some options, which gives the impression of being less durable, but I think it will be ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Outdoor Research Helium HD (2014)

£165.00

The Outdoor Research Helium HD is a very lightweight jacket, weighing in at 270g (size L) and made from 2.5-layer Pertex Shield+, a fabric that boasts top-end performance for breathability and waterproofness. The zip up the front of the jacket is a more water-resistant design than many around this price, but you don’t get an internal flap to impede progress ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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OMM Aether (2014)

£260.00

The OMM Aether is made from 3-layer eVent fabric so you get the benefits of a 3-layer fabric – maximum condensation management – along with the top-end breathability and water resistance that this fabric is well known for. The Aether is available as a smock or the jacket design featured here. The style is slightly looser around the body than ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Vaude Crestone (2014)

£170.00

The 2.5-layer Ceplex Advanced fabric used in the Vaude Crestone meets the environmentally friendly Bluesign standards, while the pit zips and three pockets on the body will suit a wide range of user needs. The two main pockets are large enough for maps and they’re well-placed to maintain access while wearing a rucksack. These pockets don’t use mesh linings, but ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Marmot Artemis/Adroit (2014)

£200.00

This jacket is made from Marmot’s latest fabric, NanoPro Membrain, which boasts excellent breathability in the lab and in my experience is one of the best 2.5-layer fabrics available for controlling condensation on the hill. It comes in men’s and women’s version called the Artemis and Adroit respectively. The jacket has a good water-resistant zip up the front with an internal ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Arc’teryx Beta SL (2014)

£230.00

The Arc’teryx Beta SL weighs in at 349g (men’s size large) and is made from Gore-Tex Paclite, which is designed to be the lightweight and durable option from the house of Gore. The jacket, which was a comfortable fit on me, has a short body with a water-resistant zip up the front. There is a small baffle on the inside ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rohan Elite (2014)

£225.00

A frequent favourite in Trail tests, the Elite uses Rohan’s own fabric, Barricade Elite, which offers performance that is equal to the best in the industry. I’ve been using the jacket for several years and find that on the hill it is just as impressive. At only 334g the Elite packs in a host of useful features for heading onto ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Salomon Minim (2014)

£180.00

The Salomon Minim lives up to its name by tipping the scales at just 292g (size men’s large). It is made from a very thin Climapro fabric that is waterproof and breathable but does not boast the performance of higher-priced jackets, and that is why it has a lower price tag than some options. The main front zip is exposed ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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