First test: Lowe Alpine Teton (2013)

It’s been a topsy-turvy few years for Lowe Alpine, with changes of ownership resulting in the brand ditching its clothing while maintaining its well-established range of rucksacks. The Teton marks the brand’s return to the waterproof clothing market; but with so many manufacturers’ products in outdoor shops across the country, does this jacket have the staying power?

The Teton is made from Triplepoint Eco, Lowe Alpine’s own brand of waterproof and breathable fabric with a 3-layer laminate that incorporates a recyclable Sympatex membrane. The design is a fairly classic style with three pockets, a hood with a wired peak, a front zip and a longer back length for protection. On first appearances this is not the most inspirational jacket I have reviewed; and I was certainly expecting a few more fireworks to mark Lowe Alpine’s return to waterproof clothing. But perhaps there is more to this jacket than appearances suggest...

I recently took the Lowe Alpine Teton to Scotland for a trip up the Lochnagar Munros. It weighs in at 571g (size men’s L), which is similar to many modern waterproof jackets; but what I noticed is that the fabric feels a little stiffer and a bit more robust. This is important as that extra stiffness prevents the jacket from hugging your body too closely in the wind, and this in turn allows it to trap small pockets of air inside, improving insulation and managing condensation.

Get the jacket on and it is noticeable that the Teton is slightly longer than the current trend of shortening the hem of jackets to make them good for climbing and moving fast. Those extra centimetres meant that I didn’t need to put on overtrousers quite so readily to protect my nether regions during showers, while the jacket was not too long to restrict movement when scrambling.

The cuffs are nice and wide so you can fit them over gloves when it’s cold or just allow some airflow in warmer weather. In inclement conditions the cuffs are easily battened down with Velcro tabs. The sleeves allow excellent freedom of movement, again ideal for scrambling or just climbing over a stile without the cuffs or the jacket hem riding up.

The front zip gets an external stormflap – something of a rarity these days, but so important for keeping water out when battling through driving rain. The pockets are conventional with two at the hip and one on the chest. The hip pocket access is not ideal, as a wide rucksack hipbelt will partially block access; although as the Teton is longer than many jackets, I was just about able to get my hands into the pockets below some rucksack belts; I’d prefer easier access, though. The chest pocket is too small for a standard OS or Harvey map, which is a real let-down for a jacket designed in the UK. The hood is well-designed however, with a wired peak and excellent fit and movement, which allowed me to see easily when moving my head.

All that for £200 is good value, but I hope Lowe Alpine can build on this ‘safe’ return to the waterproof market with something a little more inspiring in the future.

Verdict
Lowe Alpine’s return to waterproof clothing is not as stimulating as I would have liked; but the Teton is a reasonably good waterproof jacket for general hill and mountain walking, just not the best option out there.

Price £200
Material Triplepoint Eco
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-16 (women’s)
Weight 571g (size L)
Website
www.lowealpine.com

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2013