There was a time when walkers just bought a ‘coat’. In due course you could purchase a ‘waterproof’. And then these became known as ‘hard shells’, while their non-waterproof counterparts were called ‘soft shells’. But if you have not quite got the hang of all the latest outdoor jargon, don’t worry, as now ‘soft shells’ are also called ‘waterproof jackets’ – and the Mammut Gipfelgrat is the latest example of the genre!
The confusion does not end there, as the Mammut Gipfelgrat is made from Polartec Neoshell, a waterproof fabric featured in the Rab Stretch Neo jacket back in the December issue of Trail. However the Polartec Neoshell fabric featured in the Mammut Gipfelgrat is a completely different beast to that used in the Rab jacket. The material on the Mammut Gipfelgrat is still waterproof but it’s a heavier and more robust version of Neoshell, with far more stretch and a completely different lining.
Inside all versions of Polartec Neoshell is a membrane that allows a tiny amount of air to permeate the fabric; and while this is not perceptible from a wind chill standpoint, Polartec believes this accelerates breathability – and it certainly does well in this department. The lining inside the Mammut Gipfelgrat is also ideal for soaking up whatever condensation does develop, making it feel very dry even when worn by a hot, sweaty user.
Apart from the fabric and confusing terminology, what also sets the Mammut Gipfelgrat apart is that it’s part of Mammut’s 50th anniversary Eiger Extreme range – so the design is extremely functional to match the needs of the mountaineering and alpine environment. The fit is quite close, but the sleeves are perfectly cut to allow great movement when climbing. The two chest pockets are pitched high so they can be accessed while wearing a harness or rucksack belt, and the hood fits and moves perfectly while benefiting from a superb wired peak to really protect the face while enabling great vision. If you overheat there are long pit zips too.
This jacket is designed for mountaineers, and sadly all that performance comes at a hefty price tag. So this is not a jacket for the casual hillwalker, who will no doubt prefer something that is longer in the body, lighter in weight and lower in price.
But in plain English, the tough and stretchy fabric, coupled with a short, close style and technical features, make the Mammut Gipfelgrat ideal for those mountaineers, alpinists and winter climbers who want the best kit money can buy.
Material 3-layer Polartec Neoshell
Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL
Weight 788g (size L)
Made in China
Stockist details www.mammut.ch
The Mammut Gipfelgrat may be hard to pronounce and the jargon confusing, but use it for mountaineering and you’ll love it.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2012