First test: Mountain Equipment Lhotse (2013)

Gore-Tex Pro is the latest waterproof, breathable fabric from WL Gore. It promises increased breathability and is intended for the hill and mountain walker in need of durable performance. One of the first jackets to feature this fabric is Mountain Equipment’s Lhotse.

I first used the new Gore-Tex Pro fabric on a press trip in November 2012 during a wet weekend in Snowdonia. Gore claims it is 28 per cent more breathable than Gore-Tex Pro Shell, with improved durability. However, I did get some condensation inside and the design of the jacket I wore wasn’t ideal. So I was particularly excited to try the new fabric in the Mountain Equipment Lhotse, a jacket that has previously been awarded ‘Best in Test’ in Trail reviews.

The latest version of the Mountain Equipment Lhotse has a trim and tailored ‘Alpine fit’; but it’s also shorter than in the past, and I would like it to be about 3 to 5cm longer (this is a common problem with modern jackets). It features an exposed front zip without an external flap, the zip being a new chunky affair that is likely to be better at keeping the weather out as well as running smoothly when coated in mud or snow. On the chest there are three huge pockets that also get these chunky zips, and they’re all superb for warming hands or stashing hats, gloves or maps on the move.

There are also pit zips, which are useful for mountaineers, but their existence hints that although the new Pro fabric is more breathable than Pro Shell, you still need to manage airflow to prevent condensation building up inside the jacket.

As with many Mountain Equipment jackets the hood is helmet-compatible, and it’s very good thanks to a wired peak and a very close fit that allows it to move effortlessly with your head when looking up, down and around. There’s good movement in the sleeves, too, to prevent that short hem from riding up when scrambling.

Material 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro
Sizes S-XL (men’s) Cloud Peak is nearest equivalent for women
Weight 537g (size L)
Website www.mountain-equipment.co.uk

 

Verdict

Gore-Tex Pro fabric and the Mountain Equipment Lhotse jacket have both received superb upgrades, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect for everyone in every situation.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2013