Low Alpine Flash 2010

Lowe Alpine has used more waterproof and breathable fabrics than most other brands put together. My first Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap back in the early Nineties was made of Gore-Tex. Next Lowe made everything from Triplepoint, before switching to eVent for a couple of seasons. Then they swapped back to Gore-Tex again while retaining some Triplepoint waterproofs within their range. Now the company has added another new waterproof fabric to its range, this time Triplepoint Dynamic. The question is, how does it compare to Gore-Tex and  eVent?
I’ve been trying out the new Lowe Alpine Triplepoint Dynamic throughout the autumn of 2009 in the form of a Flash jacket. The Flash has been a Lowe Alpine classic for many years: it was once made from Lowe’s Triplepoint Ceramic coated fabric with a mesh lining, then the mesh lining was removed. This new version has no lining and the new Triplepoint Dynamic fabric is a laminated construction, rather than a coating. A laminate is when a waterproof and breathable layer of material is sandwiched between an outer that has a durable water repellency and an inner layer that transports condensation.
During the wet Lakeland autumn the Flash performed well. As there is no mesh lining I can throw it on without fear of the lining getting snagged. But more importantly the inner scrim of the laminated fabric can soak up any sweat that develops, so it controls condensation as well as other popular materials like 3-layer eVent and Gore-Tex Pro Shell.
But there are other benefits to the new Triplepoint Dynamic fabric. The laminate includes silver powder, which claims to increase thermal retention while offering the antimicrobial benefits that silver has already brought to many garments. So the Flash jacket should smell less after sitting wet in your rucksack and it should keep you warmer.
I cannot tell if bacteria-killing benefits have proved themselves, other than to say that the jacket does not smell mouldy yet. The thermal benefits are harder to notice as we lose heat from clothing by conduction, radiation, convection and evaporation. I tend to get too warm in waterproofs anyway, so I am not sure I want a waterproof that will keep me even warmer and therefore sweatier. I have not noticed this jacket to be any warmer than its counterparts.
Whatever the material is, to my mind it is a garment’s design that is more often than not the deal-breaker. Fortunately the Flash is well-designed for mountain travel. I loved the two large chest pockets, the helmet-compatible hood with its wired peak and the general functionality of this jacket. It is perhaps a little shorter in the body than I would like. Also, the cut is quite close as there is stretch in the fabric, but I would prefer a slightly looser fit as it is not quite stretchy enough to overcome the restriction in movement of the closer fit.
Then there is the price – which, when compared to other jackets, is outstanding value for what you are getting.
The Lowe Alpine Flash in Triplepoint Dynamic is certainly a jacket that is going to rewrite the league tables and head straight into the top ten. Now that is dynamic!

Price £200
Outer 3-layer Triplepoint Dynamic
Inner none
Waterproofness extremely waterproof
Breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 610g (men’s size L)
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. (01539) 740840; www.lowealpine.com

Verdict
The Lowe Alpine Flash is an outstanding price for what you get; top-quality fabric performance; great design for hill and mountain trips. But it has a closer, shorter fit than some similar designs. Overall, it’s a superb jacket for hill and mountain activity at an incredibly competitive price for the performance

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2010