5 Of The Best... Waterproof Jackets Under £300 Reviewed (2019)

Whatever your budget there is a waterproof jacket that is right for you, so here’s our guide at the best jackets for hillwalkers with price tags up to £300.


Hoods

The hood should fit your head snugly so it does not blow off, but also it must move with your head so you can see where you are going. The hood peak may become bent when the jacket is stashed in a rucksack, so look for a wired peak that can be easily reshaped to allow good vision even in the wind. Lower priced jackets generally have hoods that don’t fit or move so well with the head and often lack wired or stiffened peaks.

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Fabrics

On the high priced jackets you can expect to find that the fabrics used are the most waterproof and breathable available. In contrast lower priced jackets generally have fabrics that are less breathable and may be less durably waterproof in the long term too. Materials described as 2 layer will more clammy than those described as 2.5 layer and these will in turn be more clammy than a 3 layer fabric or any jacket with a loose lining.

Zips

Normal zips used on jackets are not waterproof so they are normally covered by an external single or double storm flap. Water resistant zips are commonly used on high priced jackets but these are not waterproof either. As these zips may leak, they are often fitted with an internal flap that is designed to channel away any water than enters this area. 

Pockets

Big pockets are great for storing maps, guide books and gloves, but they can also be used to protect your hands from wind and rain. Rucksack belts obscure access to some pockets so make sure they are well positioned to avoid this problem. Lower priced jackets often have pockets that are not easily accessed while wearing rucksacks.

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it is important that you can increase ventilation of the jacket. A front zip can be used for venting, as can under arm zips, also called pit zips, while mesh linings in pockets can also increase airflow through the jacket. However, mesh pockets may also allow water to pass through the jacket. 


Salewa Puez 2 Powertex 3L £225

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  • Materials 3 layer Powertex Performance Ripstop Eco DWR

  • Sizes S-XXXL (men’s); n/a (women’s)

  • Weight 411g (size L)

It’s good

What sets this jacket apart from many others is the lower weight while still providing the core features a hillwalker needs. So you get a jacket made from a 3 layer laminate like others here but it has a thinner construction so it is more supple and lighter. You get two good chest pockets like other jackets too and these are easily accessed above a rucksack belt and they easily take an OS map. The hood has a wired peak and it fits nice and close and moves with the head better than most. The body is not the shortest either so you get a little more protection around the bottom and groin than some.

However

This jacket does lose some nice to have details. Firstly the sleeve movement is not quite the best, so you get so the cuffs tend to ride up a little more than the higher priced jackets here. Also there is no third external chest pocket. Then it is worth noting that this thinner material does feel a little colder as it tends to compress a little more than stiffer fabrics, so this is not the best for winter walks. The fabric is probably going to be slightly less durable than a heavier jacket but that should only concern the hardest of users, as for most walkers this is easily durable enough. Also there is no womens version.

Verdict

A superb hillwalking jacket if you want something slightly lighter and don’t need the best sleeve movement or a third external chest pocket.

  • Features 3/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Alpkit Definition £229

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  • Material 3 layer laminate with nylon face and PU/PTFE membrane 

  • Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-14 (women’s)

  • Weight 562g (size L)

It’s good

Like all Alpkit gear the Definition is extremely well priced for its features. It’s made from a layer laminate like other jackets here and the material is also nice and stiff to resist battering winds. The fit is quite close particularly on the sleeves, but you can still easily raise your arms without the cuff or hem riding up during scrambles. The hood fit and movement is also exceptionally good and it has a wired peak too making it ideal for hillwalking. There are two main pockets plus a third Napoleon chest pocket and all these are easy to access while wearing a pack. You even get pit zips for extra ventilation.

However

The third chest pocket is smaller than others and while its useful for a GPS receiver or phone it is not ideal for a map or even many guidebooks and this really lets this jacket down. The body is not the shortest but its not the longest either, so if you want a longer design others are better. Mountaineers may want an even more durable jacket with extra reinforcement but walkers will be fine with this as it is. If you did pay a lot more you can get jackets that have even better breathability and they may also be lighter but again only those in need of the absolute pinnacle jackets need bother.

Verdict

The Ladakh GV offers a solid reliable performance that for many hillwalkers will mean they need look no further but some others have small worthwhile benefits. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

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Rab Ladakh DV £275

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  • Material 3 layer Event

  • Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-16 (women’s)

  • Weight 561g (size L)

It’s good

 It is built with 3 layer Event so you get top quality condensation control and durable waterproofness. But importantly this is quite a robust fabric, so it blocks the wind without buckling an important benefit for colder and winder mountain days, and also it’s more durable than lighter jackets. The fit is slightly shorter than some options but fairly typical of modern jackets and the sleeves and hood fit particularly well. Waist and hem drawcords lock out draughts and you get good cuff and hood adjustment. The hood has a wired peak and turns effortlessly with the head. There are also pit zips for venting and a pair of huge chest pockets.

However

You do only get two external chest pockets as there is no third Napoleon style pocket for a guidebook, map or GPS receiver, although there is an internal Napoleon chest pocket inside the main front zip. It’s also quite a heavy jacket compared to what is available so if weight is your priority there are others to consider. It does have pit zips which you may not want and finding a jacket without them would lower weight and price, the two main factors that are drawbacks with this jacket. Some jackets are slightly longer and if you don’t need a helmet compatible hood then others would suffice. So for some users it may be worth looking elsewhere for design details that better suit your personal preferences.

Verdict

The Ladakh GV offers a solid reliable performance that for many hillwalkers will mean they need look no further but some others have small worthwhile benefits. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%


Berghaus Extrem 500 Vented £280

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  • Material 3 layer Gore-Tex

  • Sizes XS-XXL (mens); 8-18 (womens)

  • Weight 584g (size L)

It’s good

This was new for 2018 and is an updated version of the Extrem 5000 that sees the addition of pit zips for improved ventilation when working hard and not wanting to remove the jacket due to wind or rain. It is made from 3 layer Gore-Tex so it is top of the breathability and waterproofness rating. Importantly it is also a little longer than some other jackets around the price point and that meant for me it protected my groin and bottom far better than some other jackets. Also you get a huge third external Napoleon chest pocket in addition to the two main chest pockets. The hood is stunning with a wired peak and excellent fit and movement while also being helmet compatible. 

However

Adding the extra length and chest pocket has added a few grams so this is a little heavy compared to some. Also there are of course lower priced jackets if you don’t need all those features and the more heavy and robust 3 layer Gore-tex that is used here. If you were to spend more money then you would get even better condensation control and perhaps a lighter fabric but apart from that it is really hard to see why you would pay more to be honest. For me this is pretty much an ideal jacket for harsh mountain walking trips if you can accept the weight and price tag.

Verdict

For this price band it is hard to find a fault with this jacket making it ideal for those who don’t want to break the £300 price barrier for even better performance. 

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Paramo Alta III £295

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Sizes S-XXL (mens); XS-XL (womens)

  • Weight 832g (size M)

It’s good

A well proven fabric that provides superb levels of breathability and weather protection and in winter its extra warmth is a real bonus when heading into colder mountain weather as there is less need to carry additional insulating layers. The design is longer than most too so you get far far better bottom and groin protection than other jackets. The sleeves are well designed and so is the hood so both move really well with the body when scrambling. The hood also gets a wired peak for clearer vision and you get four external pockets, which are all easily accessed while wearing a rucksack. 

However

This jacket is warm which is a benefit on cold days but even on a warm winter day it can become quite hot to wear without venting extensively. Also it is quite heavy compared to others so if you stow it in your rucksack it is more of a load. The price is higher than others too, although for long term use it does work out at a good value as this jackets weather resistance is far easier to maintain than others due to its unique properties and construction. So overall there nothing wrong with the design but you do need to decide if the slight drawbacks mean other jackets are better options for your own walking needs. 

Verdict

Excellent design in many ways, with the fabric offering valuable benefits in cold weather in particular, but drawbacks are weight and warmth when the temperature rises but rain and wind persist.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%


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Berghaus Extrem 5000 Vented waterproof jacket review

It’s good

This was new for 2018 and is an updated version of the Extrem 5000 that sees the addition of pit zips for improved ventilation when working hard and not wanting to remove the jacket due to wind or rain. It is made from 3 layer Gore-Tex so it is top of the breathability and waterproofness rating. Importantly it is also a little longer than some other jackets around the price point and that meant for me it protected my groin and bottom far better than some other jackets. Also you get a huge third external Napoleon chest pocket in addition to the two main chest pockets. The hood is stunning with a wired peak and excellent fit and movement while also being helmet compatible. 

However

Adding the extra length and chest pocket has added a few grams so this is a little heavy compared to some. Also there are of course lower priced jackets if you don’t need all those features and the more heavy and robust 3 layer Gore-tex that is used here. If you were to spend more money then you would get even better condensation control and perhaps a lighter fabric but apart from that it is really hard to see why you would pay more to be honest. For me this is pretty much an ideal jacket for harsh mountain walking trips if you can accept the weight and price tag.

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  • Material 3 layer Gore-Tex

  • Sizes XS-XXL (mens); 8-18 (womens)

  • Weight 584g (size L)

Verdict

For this price band it is hard to find a fault with this jacket making it ideal for those who don’t want to break the £300 price barrier for even better performance. 

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%



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The Big Test: Waterproof Jackets reviewed (2018)

Staying dry during a hillwalk can be a challenge, but pack the right waterproof jacket and you’ll be warm, dry and comfortable no matter what the mountain throws at you. We put six jackets to the test on the Lakeland fells.

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The Runners Up


Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta £90

Tester: Jon Bennett

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  • Materials 2-layer hydrodry with loose mesh lining

  • Men’s XS-XXXL (Santiago)

  • Women’s 8-20 (Atlanta)

  • Weight 606g (M) 

This jacket is made with 2-layer Hydrodry fabric. Although on paper this is not the most breathable fabric, the mesh lining on the inside very effectively managed condensation and kept me drier from condensation than the other lower-priced jackets. There are two handwarmer pockets and a map-sized chest pocket. The foldaway hood has face drawcords and rear volume adjustment. Compared with the other lower-priced options there’s a good length to the jacket and it felt warmer owing to the air gap provided by the mesh lining. However, although the hood protected my face it did not turn well with my head. The handwarmer pockets were also not easy to access when wearing a rucksack and the chest pocket was closed by Velcro, rather than a more secure zip.

Pros

Price, condensation management, lots of features and good protection in general.

Cons

Heavy compared to others and hood does not move with the head.

Buy it if...

You want a good all-rounder at a superb price and don’t need either the lightest or absolute best performance on the hill.


Berghaus Stormcloud £100

Tester: Graham Thompson

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  • Material 2-layer Hydroshell

  • Men’s XS-XXL  

  • Women’s 8-18 

  • Weight 324g (L)

The big advantages here are the price and weight, as both are very appealing. The fabric is a 2-layer Hydroshell, which kept the water at bay while scrambling up the gill but soon became very sweaty inside as there is no inner layer to hide or soak up the condensation. But importantly the pockets are not mesh lined, unlike some higher-priced lightweight jackets, so even if water entered the pockets I didn’t get wet inside. The hood fits quite close and did move a little with my head, but higher-priced designs offer better adjustment. When scrambling the cuffs and hem tended to ride up far too easily, which left my body more exposed to the elements than all the other jackets here. The two main pockets are both annoyingly small and too low to allow the optimum access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. 

Pros

Price and weight are the main benefits here for hillwalkers.

Cons

Lots of condensation build-up, and not the best pockets nor the best hood design.

Buy it if...

You want a lightweight low-priced jacket for stowing in your rucksack and just wearing during short showers when any condensation will be tolerable.


Rab Ladakh DV £275

Tester: Tim Butcher

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  • Material 3-layer Event

  • Men’s S-XXL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 604g (XL)

The Ladakh DV is made using the durable 3-layer Event fabric, which is superb at controlling condensation and keeping the rain out. The size XL is roomy and nicely long, with adjustment in all the right places, including waist and hem drawcords, plus longer sleeves, all of which kept out draughts and stopped the jacket riding up. The large hood is helmet compatible and has sufficient volume adjustment to keep it in place in wind and rain, and it moves nicely as your head turns to look for holds or take in the view from under the stiffened peak. With pit zips open and just a long sleeve base layer beneath I was never damp from condensation on scrambles or walks. The only design drawback is the lack of a decent third chest pocket, whilst some may consider it heavy in terms of weight and price for hillwalking.

Pros

Durable waterproof and breathable fabric, great pockets, great hood, great sleeves.

Cons

No third chest pocket, and others are lighter and lower in price.

Buy it if…

You want a durable waterproof jacket with generally great features and don’t require a third chest pocket.



The Top three


Montane Atomic £125

Tester: Graham Thompson

The low price and light weight make the Atomic instantly appealing, but how does it compare to higher-priced and heavier alternatives?

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  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield

  • Men’s S-XL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 331g (L)

It’s good

This light jacket packs down small, so you’ll hardly notice it in your rucksack. The weight saving comes from the use of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield fabric, and there’s no inner layer, just a printed surface to manage condensation. The fabric is quite thin and supple too. This all adds up to this being very comfortable. 

The sleeves don’t ride up badly when scrambling and the hood has good face drawcords and rear volume drawcord adjustment, so it was easy to see even as I moved my head around to look for good holds during scrambles. 

The two main pockets are well placed to allow access while wearing a rucksack, and both are large enough for a map too. These pockets are lined with mesh, which improves condensation control by allowing a means of adding airflow, while a pair of pit zips add further venting. So in many ways there is lots to like here and for general walking in warmer wet weather this is a superb choice.

However

Problems start to show themselves when you really challenge the material. Firstly this jacket is not as stiff as others and the fit is slightly closer than some, so in the wind it feels a bit chilly. Also as it is only a 2.5-layer fabric condensation develops easier than the 3-layer fabrics, so did get pretty clammy once I overheated. 

Those mesh pockets also allow water to pass right through the jacket, meaning I had to keep them closed properly during the gill scramble – not a problem you’d get with sealed pockets. 

Other jackets also have a useful third pocket for a guidebook or phone, but here you have just two. Of course all these small drawbacks could be reduced by adding features that would increase both the weight and the cost, so you need to decide if weight or comfort is your priority before parting with your money.

Verdict

The weight and price are great, and the design is ideal for milder conditions, but in really wet and windy mountain conditions you may prefer different features.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 3/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Paramo Alta III £295

Tester: Jon Bennett

Does Paramo’s unique fabric combination improve comfort to a level that overcomes any drawbacks of the design?

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s XS-XL

  • Weight 832g (M)

It’s good

The unique Paramo fabric delivers far greater breathability and better condensation management than the other fabrics on test, and this is why I love wearing the Alta in cold, wet conditions.  

The incredible six pockets – two inside, two chest (one map-sized), and two handwarmer – are all useable when wearing a rucksack. The jacket is a good length and zipped upper-arm vents offer top ventilation. The wired hood also moved really well with my head, with excellent hood adjustment. The Alta is the warmest jacket on test, so when the others were reaching for extra layers at the summit I just zipped up. 

And good to know is that Paramo has strong ethical manufacturing standards, and doesn’t use environmentally hazardous polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).

However

While I love wearing the Alta in cold conditions, it can be overly warm in summer (although Paramo does now make a lighter version of its fabric for summer use). Consequently, the Alta is the warmest and heaviest jacket here, and would bulk up a ’sack if solely being carried waiting for a shower. 

Some care is also needed when leaning on wet rock during a gill scramble, as water can pass through the jacket under high pressure. The fabric dries exceptionally fast though, so I was totally dry during our waterfall adventures. 

There are cheaper jackets than the Alta, but if you sweat a lot then it will at least quickly pass through this jacket to the air so you’ll be dryer than in a cheaper one!

Verdict

Unique fabric ensures that condensation is managed far better than other jackets but the extra warmth, extra weight and extra cash are the main drawbacks to consider.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Mountain Equipment Lhotse / Manaslu £350 

Tester: Tim Butcher

This is a well established 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket but is it really worth paying all that extra cash? And could this classic be even better?

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  • Material 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro

  • Men’s S-XXL (Lhotse)

  • Women’s 8-16 (Manaslu)

  • Weight 531g (XL)

It’s good

The Lhotse continues to be the benchmark against which other jackets are measured. Built of tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro it’s incredibly durable, giving armour-like protection in storms and high levels of waterproofness and breathability, so I was never damp on our final test day in Langdale, even with changing conditions. 

The design also delivers when it comes to practical features, providing both good body coverage and unrestricted movement, with sleeves and hems staying put when reaching for holds on the steep rock. The three external pockets are in just the right places, clear of rucksack straps, allowing ‘hands in pockets’ walking and a chest pocket large enough for a map or guidebook. 

Pit zips, which aren’t stiff under the arm, open easily to improve ventilation, and the hood with a well-stiffened peak and rear volume adjuster kept the wind and rain out without restricting vision whilst walking and scrambling.

However

With top-spec gear, the cons are often weight and price, and it’s not the lightest jacket available. It could be argued that it’s over-specced for most Lakeland days out, and a lighter jacket would suffice, but if you walk year-round in the UK as we do, and you’re looking for one jacket that’ll tackle everything, then the extra weight is worth it. 

Moisture management relies on having the right combination of base layers underneath, so in changing conditions it was fleece on/off a number of times to maintain ideal temperature and prevent overheating. 

However, I can’t fault the fabric or the design, and coming onto the summit of Harrison Stickle into a cold, rain-laden wind, with both test jackets in my pack, it was the Lhotse I instinctively reached for.

Verdict

A seasoned performer, with high-end fabric and brilliant design, I’d wear it with confidence in any conditions in the British mountains.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Five of the best lightweight waterproof jackets reviewed (2018)

There’s no need to be weighed down by a heavy waterproof jacket in summer, so here’s the best waterproof jackets that weigh less than 350g.

Weights

Manufacturers often give average weights or the weight of the medium jacket. All the jackets here were weighed when tested, so our stated weights may vary from manufacturers’.

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it’s important that you can increase ventilation. A front zip can be used for venting, as can pit zips, while mesh linings in pockets also increase airflow. Lightweight jackets are often fitted with mesh pockets but this may not be ideal for really wet weather as they may also allow water to pass through.

Hoods

The hood should fit snugly so it doesn’t blow off, but it must also move so you can see where you are going. The peak may become bent, so look for a wired peak that can be reshaped.

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Zips

Normal jacket zips aren’t waterproof, so are usually covered by a single or double stormflap, but these are often removed on lightweight jackets. Water-resistant zips are commonly used on high-priced jackets, and some of these are fitted with an internal flap to channel away any water that gets thorough.

Pockets

Big pockets are great for storing maps, guidebooks and GPS receivers, but they can also be used to protect your hands from wind and rain. Rucksack belts may obscure access to some pockets, so make sure they are well positioned to avoid this problem.

Fabrics

Higher-priced jackets will generally use the most waterproof and breathable materials available, so while there may be small differences between them this will be difficult to notice on the hill. Your comfort levels therefore will often be dictated by features such as hood, pocket and sleeve design. In contrast, lower-priced jackets generally have fabrics that are less breathable and may be less waterproof. Fabrics described as 2-layer or 2.5-layer tend to gather more condensation than fabrics described as 3-layer. Thin fabrics also tend to buckle in the wind, so they feel colder than stiffer fabrics that can trap warm air inside.


Rab Downpour Plus £130

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 329g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield Plus

It's good

This offers exceptional lightweight performance for the price. So you get excellent chest pockets that easily take an OS map while wearing a rucksack. They are also sealed rather than mesh-lined, so they won’t allow water to easily pass through the jacket. The 2.5-layer fabric has a Dry Touch treatment on the inside to help manage condensation, but you also get pit zips to allow extra ventilation. The hood is great too, thanks to a wired peak and great drawcords at the face and rear, all of which combine to allow great vision as you move your head.

However

This is not the lightest jacket you can get, and it also feels slightly cold and clammy compared to a 3-layer fabric that controls condensation even better. A third chest pocket would be useful, like many lightweight jackets, but at least the two main pockets you get are great. There is very little wrong here if you want a practical lightweight jacket for hillwalking, but some details are better on higher-priced jackets.

Verdict

 For £130 this is a superb lightweight jacket, but a bit more budget may bring a few benefits.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra £165

  • Men’s XS-XL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 202g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer 20-denier Pertex Shield with stretch

It's good

The 2.5-layer fabric is stretchy and very thin, which shaves off some weight. I found this jacket fitted closely while still providing very good freedom of movement without the hem or cuffs riding up. There are two main pockets with mesh linings, which are easily accessed while wearing a rucksack belt and just about take an OS map. The hood is elasticated at the back and has face drawcords as well as a wired peak. A nice touch is a section of soft brushed fabric at the chin behind the zip. The weight is very impressive for what you get too.

However

Those two pockets are mesh-lined, so water can potentially creep through this jacket, but also it is a tight squeeze to get an OS map into them. Also the cuffs are elasticated rather than having Velcro adjustment, so you cannot control their fit as well as others. The hood fit and movement is acceptable, but it does not move as well with the head as others. Finally, the fabric feels more cold and clammy than stiffer 3-layer fabrics.

Verdict

A lighter jacket with stretchy material – but the cuffs, pockets and hood are not perfect.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 3/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Alpkit Balance £175

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 338g (size L)
  • Material 3-layer laminate with nylon face and PU/PTFE membrane

It's good

The 3-layer fabric feels a little tougher than lighter jackets, and also it benefits from a thin bi-component knit backer to manage condensation better than some lighter jackets. You get two good-sized pockets that take an OS map easily while wearing a rucksack. The pockets are mesh lined which reduces cost, weight and increases airflow for condensation control. The hood is very good thanks to a wired peak and excellent fit and movement. There is reasonable movement in the sleeves too. All that for this price and weight is hard to beat for hillwalking and backpacking.

However

It would be great if the pockets were sealed rather than mesh to help keep water out. Also a third pocket on the chest would be really useful. While the fabric is thicker than other lightweights, it still buckles easily in the wind more than heavier jackets. A slight niggle is that you do get a little movement in the cuffs when raising your arms such as during a scramble. There are lighter and lower priced jackets.

Verdict

The hood and 3-layer fabric set this jacket apart from others, but the mesh-lined pockets may let water in.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow £190

  • Men’s XS-XL
  • Women’s XS-XL
  • Weight 309g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer H2No 30d stretch nylon

It's good

Having a third chest pocket sets this jacket apart, and can be used for a GPS receiver while the two, larger main pockets can store OS maps or used as handwarmers. All these pockets are sealed rather than mesh, so water can’t creep through them easily. There are also pit zips for added ventilation. The main fabric has stretch, the body is slightly longer than others and there is good freedom of movement. The hood gets rear volume adjustment, fits very closely and moves well with the head.

However

That third pocket is a little small, so won’t take chunky guidebooks or maps, and access to the lower pockets is easily obscured by rucksack belts. While the hood does fit and move with the head well, it leaves the head more exposed than others as the peak is very small, and the sides of the hood don’t come very far forward. Finally, the material is a little colder and more clammy than stiffer 3-layer fabrics.

Verdict

Well-featured jacket with Patagonia’s eco-credentials, but some minor details could be better.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 3/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Rohan Elite £249

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s XS-L
  • Weight 303g (size L)
  • Material 3-layer Barricade

It's good

This is a 3-layer nylon fabric with high levels of waterproofness and breathability, but equally important is that this jacket has sealed rather than mesh pockets as well as a stormflap behind the front zip, which all adds up to more water resistance than many other lightweight jackets. Importantly it still has a good weight and the two pockets easily take an OS map, and you can access those pockets reasonably well while wearing a rucksack. The hood has a wired peak and also a great fit and movement with the head. So for general walking this is pretty good.

However

The fit is quite baggy compared to others, and also we noticed the hem and cuffs tended to ride up more easily than others. So this is fine for walking but less ideal for scrambling. The main two pockets are nice and large, but items tend to sink to their bottom, which places them below a rucksack hipbelt, so retrieval is not ideal. There are lighter and lower priced options.

Verdict

Good 3-layer fabric with sealed rather than mesh pockets but the fit is not ideal.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Mountain Equipment Pumori (2015)

Features

This is made with Mountain Equipment’s Drilite 3-layer laminate, which boasts extremely high waterproofness and breathability figures, plus a softer feel than some heavier jackets. There are also pit zips for extra ventilation, three external chest pockets that are all large enough for maps, plus a hood with a wired peak. So you are getting more features than some here. 5/5

Fit

Available for men in sizes S-XXL and for women in 8-16, the Mountain Equipment Pumori has what Mountain Equipment describes as an ‘Alpine’ fit, which for me translated as a slightly closer fit than some in the body. The body is a little longer than some too, so it covered my bum reasonably well. The hood fits very closely and moves easily with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Drilite material is slightly softer than others and this is a slightly lighter jacket too, which makes it a little more comfortable. However in really heavy wind and rain that closer fit and softer material mean it feels a little less warm as there is less air trapped inside. But overall the Pumori’s comfort is great throughout. 5/5

In use

The three huge chest pockets are ideal for maps or to warm the hands and this is easily achieved even with a big rucksack hipbelt. The cuffs and hem don’t budge when scrambling and the fit of the hood is superb and allows great vision thanks to its wired peak. If you are rough on your gear ME’s Lhotse is a more durable option, but that is really the only caveat here. 5/5

Value

The Mountain Equipment Pumori is hard to beat at this price, with costlier jackets just adding a more durable fabric. 4/5

Verdict

For hillwalkers the Mountain Equipment Pumori may be everything you need, but harder users may benefit from a higher-priced jacket that uses more durable materials. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Rab Bergans / Vidda (2015)

Features

The Rab Bergans / Vidda uses a tough 3-layer eVent fabric with a nylon outer for extra durability, which is well-proven as providing extremely high levels of breathability and waterproofness. There are then two huge chest pockets and a hood that boasts a wired peak. Some other jackets have extra pockets or pit zips, but the above is enough for most hillwalkers. 4/5

Fit

The Bergans is available in men’s sizes S-XXL while the Vidda is available in women’s sizes 8-16. On me the men’s L was slightly longer than most, allowing it to cover my bum comfortably. The fit is slightly more relaxed than some on the body while the sleeves fit closer. The hood can be cinched in to provide a good close fit with great movement. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Bergans / Vidda is slightly heavier and stiffer than some jackets but in a howling gale and driving rain that stiffness is a benefit as it prevents the jacket buckling and warm air being squeezed out. The protection given to the backside makes this more comfortable when out in foul weather, while the general performanceof the fabric is ideal for hillwalking. 5/5

In use

The two main pockets are large enough for maps and easily accessed above a rucksack hipbelt. I’d prefer a third pocket, but this is not essential. The hood peak is wired so it is easily reshaped if needed and this ensures vision is great when wearing the hood. Movement in the sleeves is good too, with very little sign of hem or cuff creep when raising my arms. 5/5

Value

The Rab Bergans / Vidda offers far better performance than most lower-priced jackets and makes it hard to justify paying more, so the price is good. 4/5

Verdict

To get anything better you’ll have to pay a lot more, and for most hillwalkers the Bergans ticks the most important boxes. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Marmot Precip (2015)

Features

Marmot’s Precip is a modern classic and is now using its new NanoPro 2.5-layer nylon fabric for durability and a little more condensation control. This material isn’t the best for breathability but it’s better than most at this price. You also get pit zips and two main pockets, which are mesh-lined rather than sealed, plus a hood with a large peak that isn’t as stiff as others. 3/5

Fit

The men’s Precip is available in sizes S-XXXL and the women’s in XS-XXL, with the fit being quite relaxed compared to some lightweight jackets. The hem tended to rise when raising my arms, despite the looser body fit here. The hood fit isn’t as close as higher-priced jackets and doesn’t easily move with the head either. 3/5

Comfort

At 327g (men’s L) this is light and the NanoPro material controls condensation better than other lower-priced fabrics, but a 3-layer jacket or a mesh-lined jacket is more comfortable, but of course heavier. The hood movement and fit are not great though and this affects comfort. Overall if you pay more you get a comfier jacket, but the Marmot Precip is good for the weight and price. 3/5

In use

The NanoPro material is a nylon ripstop so it’s very durable and also very lightweight. The pockets do take OS maps but access is easily obscured by a rucksack with a hipbelt. The hood lets this jacket down quite a lot though, as it doesn’t move well and the peak is not as good as a wired or more stiffened design. It is useable but not ideal. 3/5

Value

You are paying for a very breathable fabric. For the price the Marmot Precip offers good performance, but the design lets it down. 5/5

Verdict

The Marmot Precip features great fabric and comes in at a great weight, but its performance on the hill is limited by its design.  3.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Vaude Fjordan (2015)

Features

The big plus here is that the Vaude Fjordan only weighs 380g (size L), and that is due in part to the use of a 2.5-layer stretch Ceplex laminate membrane fabric, rather than a 3-layer option. This material is also Bluesign-approved to meet environmental standards. There are three outside pockets, the hood has a wired peak and you even get pit zips for this weight. 5/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are S-XXL and women’s 34-46. My L had a much closer fit than others of the same size. The material is thinner and stretchier than others, so it still allows good freedom of movement in general; although I did notice the cuffs and hem moved more easily than others when I raised my arms. The hood fit and movement are very good though. 4/5

Comfort

The weight and soft material make the Vaude Fjordan comfy, although the 2.5-layer fabric is a bit clammier than 3-layer materials used in other jackets. As it’s a closer fit and softer it can’t trap as much warm air inside, so in heavier weather it feels less comfy than a stiffer jacket. The small movement of the cuffs down the wrist means this area is less well-protected. 4/5

In use

In summer the Vaude Fjordan would be great due to its weight, but in winter or wild weather others feel better in use due to the comfort they offer. But the two large main pockets are good and can be accessed above a hipbelt. The third chest pocket is small but it’s useful for a GPS receiver. The hood works very well and sets this apart from many other jackets. 4/5

Value

There are compromises and benefits here, and while this price isn’t a bargain it’s still good compared to some. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket with a closer fit and some good features the Vaude Fjordan is worth a closer look. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Sprayway Nomad/Topaz (2015)

Features

The Sprayway Nomad/Topaz is a mesh-lined jacket with a 2-layer HydroDry waterproof and breathable outer, and so while this isn’t the most breathable material, that mesh helps manage the comfort better than an unlined jacket. There are two pockets, which are also mesh-lined, and the hood has a wired peak. But higher-priced jackets have more sealed pockets and other benefits, so this is a limited feature list. 3/5

Fit

The Nomad is available in men’s sizes S-XXL and the women’s Topaz comes in 8-18. The jacket has a shorter body than average with a relaxed fit so you can easily wear it over insulating layers. Movement in the sleeves is quite good. The hood’s wired peak is great, but fit and movement aren’t as good as others. 4/5

Comfort

The mesh lining ensures the Sprayway Nomad/Topaz is more comfortable than some other jackets. Its weight of 473g (size L) doesn’t really impact on comfort or performance for most hillwalkers. But the pockets are mesh-lined so water could creep inside through them. That hood isn’t ideal either. So overall this is tolerable, but other jackets offer more comfort. 3/5

In use

You can put maps in the two lower pockets but your access to them is severely impeded by a rucksack hipbelt. There are no other pockets so this really limits performance. The hood movement isn’t great, so when walking in rain it’s a little frustrating as you have to turn your whole body rather than just your head when looking around. 3/5

Value

The Sprayway Nomad/Topaz’s price is very good, but if you can pay more you will get a far better jacket. 5/5

Verdict

If this is your budget then the Sprayway Nomad/Topaz is a workable solution, but it has many drawbacks compared to higher-priced jackets. 3.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Craghoppers Ashton (2015)

Features

The Craghoppers Ashton is all about the length, as it’s one of those rare models that’s long enough to really cover the bum and allows you to get your hands into the hem pockets below a rucksack hipbelt. It uses 2-layer Gore-Tex with a mesh lining, which makes it heavy. The hood is also not quite as well-featured as the better jackets. But if you want length, this is it. 4/5

Fit

The men’s Ashton comes in S-XXL (the nearest women’s option is the Madigan – £100, 8-20 – which is of a similar length but uses AquaDry, not Gore-Tex). The long body fully protects the top of the legs and fit is similar to most general jackets with some movement in the cuffs when you raise your arms. The hood fits closely but doesn’t move with the head easily. 3/5

Comfort

The Craghoppers Ashton is a heavy jacket at 771g (size L) so in your pack it weighs you down. When worn it feels more restrictive than others, but it is made from a soft version of Gore-Tex while its 2-layer construction means there’s a mesh lining for more comfort. Some will feel this is comfier than skimpy lightweight jackets; others will feel it is cumbersome and obtrusive. 4/5

In use

This jacket’s length is the real bonus here for walking in foul weather as it offers so much more protection than others. You can access the base pockets below a rucksack hipbelt but you have to open the front zip to find a map-sized pocket. The hood has a stiffened peak, but it doesn’t move well with the head so it’s a little irritating compared to others. 3/5

Value

The Craghoppers Ashton is made from 2-layer Gore-Tex and it has a long length that makes skimpy, shorter jackets appear quite pricy by comparison! 4/5

Verdict

If you want a longer jacket then the Craghoppers Ashton is a rare example, but it has drawbacks in terms of weight and features. 3.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Keela Prosport (2015)

Features

The Keela Prosport features System Dual Protection comprising of a 2-layer waterproof and breathable stretch outer with a high-wicking ADS laminate lining to manage any condensation, so you stay dry from both rain and sweat. You also get pit zips for venting, and three outside chest pockets plus a dedicated map pocket under the stormflap. The hood has a wired peak too. 5/5

Fit

The size range is huge, with the men’s version available in XS-XXXL and the women’s in 8-20. The four-way stretch fabric allows a closer fit and movement in theory. On me the fit was slightly looser than some and did not quite cover my bum, which is like many jackets. The hood fits closely though and moves well with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Keela Prosport is heavy at 837g (size L) and feels bulky and obtrusive compared to other jackets. It’s also a little warmer due to the System Dual Protection construction, so in summer it may be too warm, but you can wear less underneath in winter of course. The good news is you don’t get any condensation build-up inside as this system does manage it very well. 4/5

In use

The weight and bulk are drawbacks for year-round use but the features are quite good. The hood fits and moves well and has a wired peak so vision is great. The two main pockets are map-sized and easily accessed while the third chest pocket is great for a GPS receiver or phone. The dedicated map pocket inside the main zip stormflap is great. 4/5

Value

There are a lot of features here so the Keela Prosport has to be good value compared with many jackets, but it is very heavy. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lot of great features and can tolerate the weight and warmer design then the Keela Prosport is ideal, particularly at this price. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Rab Atmos (2015)

Features

Pertex Shield Plus is the main fabric: a well- proven 3-layer laminate with extremely high levels of waterproofness and breathability. It is also thin, making it lighter than most, hence the Rab Atmos only weighs 303g (size L). You get two good chest pockets and a hood with a stiffened, but not wired, peak. Other jackets have more features, but this is lighter. 4/5

Fit

In men’s sizes XS-XXL and women’s 8-16, this jacket has a fit that’s slightly closer than some others but there’s still room underneath for insulating layers such as fleeces. The body is typically short but you get slightly better movement in the sleeves than other jackets, without even a hint of a cuff or hemline rising. The hood also fits superbly. 5/5

Comfort

The weight and slightly closer fit coupled with the unrestrictive movement make the Rab Atmos feel very comfortable. As with all thinner fabrics, though, it does buckle more easily in strong winds so it can feel a little chillier than a stiffer and heavier garment. The pockets are sealed, however, so no water can creep through them. Overall this is excellent. 5/5

In use

The Rab Atmos has two large chest pockets that are great for hands or maps, but a third would be useful. The hood fits well and has a very good stiffened peak. I’d prefer this to be wired for maximum performance, but to be fair it is very well-designed. This is not as durable as higher-priced jackets, so some care is needed if you scramble or treat jackets roughly. 4/5

Value

The price is very good for what you are getting here – namely great fabric, great features and low weight. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket with practical features for hillwalking then this is it, but heavier jackets have advantages too. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Berghaus Stormcloud (2015)

Features

Berghaus’s AQ2 material used in this jacket is a 2-layer fabric, which means it keeps weight down and improves suppleness, but also it doesn’t control condensation as well as a 3-layer or mesh-lined jacket. You get two main pockets too, which are also sealed rather than mesh, so they’re watertight, plus a hood with a peak, but it’s not wired. 3/5

Fit

The men’s Berghaus Stormcloud comes in S-XXL and the women’s in 8-18. The fit is slightly closer than other jackets and more tailored, but there’s still room underneath for insulation layers. The body is short, like most jackets. The hood has an exceptionally good fit though and really sets this apart from many in its price range. 5/5

Comfort

The closer-fitting 2-layer material isn’t as breathable as fabrics used in higher-priced jackets, so it feels a bit clammy. It’s also quite soft so it easily allows warm air to be squeezed out when walking into the wind. So it feels a bit chilly compared to higher-priced jackets that offer more protection due to a looser cut and stiffer fabric that may be more breathable. 3/5

In use

Pocket access isn’t great as there are only two pockets and these are easily obscured by rucksack hipbelts. But you can get a map in these pockets and they’re sealed so water does not easily pass through them. The hood would benefit from a wired or stiffer peak, but its fit and movement are great and allow good vision. The weight of 319g (size L) is a bonus too. 3/5

Value

For £70 the Berghaus Stormcloud is good; it’s just that you don’t get much at this price. A great option if this is your budget though. 5/5

Verdict

If you cannot spend more the Berghaus Stormcloud is a decent option but a higher price brings many comfort and performance advantages. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Marmot Alpinist (2015)

Features

The 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric used in the Marmot Alpinist provides durable levels of waterproofness and breathability and is combined with four external chest pockets, pit zips and a removable snow skirt. The hood is helmet- compatible too, making this a belt-and-braces feature list that ups the weight a little. 5/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are S-XL and women’s are XS-XL and the fit is described as ‘Athletic’, which in me was similar to others here, but a little lengthier in the body so this offered the best protection for my bum. There was a tiny movement in the cuffs when raising my arms, but nothing to worry about. The hood fitted me very well and easily moved with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Marmot Alpinist is a stiffer jacket than some, which is great in the wilds of winter or on windier mountain days but in mild weather you’ll likely prefer less substantial designs. But it feels great in wild weather thanks to the protection it affords, combined with a durable fabric that breathes well and you can always use the pit zips if needed. 5/5

In use

The Marmot Alpinist is heavy so when not in use it really weighs down your rucksack if stashed. The main two chest pockets swallow maps, but the Napoleon pockets are too small, which is a pity, as they can only be used for a GPS receiver or a very small guidebook. The hood peak is lightly stiffened but has no wire and so overall it may not always afford the best protection. 4/5

Value

The four pockets, pit zips and snow skirt have added to the price but it feels steep compared to some others however you try to justify it. 2/5

Verdict

The Marmot Alpinist is built for winter weather and it is mostly up to the task, but it is not perfect in terms of design and it is not perfect in terms of price. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Bergans Storen (2015)

Features

The Bergans Storen uses two-way stretch Toray Dermizax NX 3-layer laminated fabric, which is extremely waterproof and extremely breathable. It is quite thin and softer than most jackets here, and relatively lightweight too. You get four main pockets on the outside, plus a hood with a stiffened peak. Mesh-lined pockets and pit zips allow extra airflow. 5/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are XS-XXL and women’s sizes are XS-XL, and I found the fit to be slightly closer than others featured here and also slightly shorter in the body. I also had a bit more movement in the hem and cuffs when raising my arms, so overall it felt a little restrictive and too close a fit compared to others even though it uses stretch fabric. 4/5

Comfort

If you don’t mind the closer fit, the Bergans Storen will feel quite comfy, as it is light, soft and flexible. The pockets are mesh-lined, so they can provide extra airflow, but if water gets in them you can feel wet more easily than in jackets with sealed pockets. Also as the fabric fits so closely and is so soft, insulating air is more easily squeezed out than from stiffer options. 4/5

In use

The Bergans Storen’s fit and comfort impact on performance on the hill; also the pockets are slightly too small, so while I could just about squeeze a map into one chest pocket, it did not fit in the hip pockets properly. The top-entry chest pocket is very deep, so getting items from the bottom is a challenge. Overall a little irritating compared to others. The hood is good though. 4/5

Value

The use of stretch fabric has pushed the price up, but its benefit is limited here I think, so the price seems steep compared to others. 3/5

Verdict

The weight and the fabric are great but the pockets and hood are not the best. At this price, however, the Lakpa Rita is still a good option. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Mountain Equipment Lhotse/Manaslu (2015)

Features

One of the most well-established mountain jackets there is, the Mountain Equipment Lhotse/Manaslu uses tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric for durable levels of waterproofness and breathability. There are three big pockets on the chest, plus a zipped internal pocket. The helmet-compatible hood benefits from a wired peak with face and rear volume adjustment, while pit zips add ventilation. 5/5

Fit

The men’s Lhotse comes in sizes S-XXL and the women’s Manaslu comes in sizes 8-16. It has an ‘Alpine Fit’, according to the manufacturer, meaning it fits a bit closer than older ME jackets. It was a little short for me, as my bum was not fully protected, but this is the same with many jackets these days. The hood fit is superb though and really sets this jacket apart. 5/5

Comfort

The 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric is stiffer than some others but that also means it does not buckle in a breeze and so it feels more comfortable to me because of that. The pit zips further aid condensation control and that hood comfortably protects the eyes and face. The Mountain Equipment Lhotse/Manaslu is a little short for my liking but that is the only niggle that comes to mind. 5/5

In use

You can get a map in all three of those chest pockets, and wearing a rucksack with a big hipbelt does not impede access to them. The hood drawcords are easy to adjust while the wire in the peak allows it to be reshaped as preferred for maximum protection. Movement in the sleeves is great with no riding up of the cuffs or hem when scrambling. 5/5

Value

The Mountain Equipment Lhotse/Manaslu’s price offers better value for money than many top-end jackets, but it still makes me wince. 4/5

Verdict

The Mountain Equipment Lhotse/Manaslu is a proven mountain workhorse that provides durable protection for the hills with a great set of pockets, a great hood and a great fabric. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Sherpa Lakpa Rita (2015)

Features

The Sherpa Lakpa Rita is made from a thinner version of the 3-layer eVent fabric used in other jackets, which helps to keep the weight down to a respectable 419g (men’s L). You still get two main pockets plus two small pockets on the chest. There is also a wired peak on the hood. Some others have pit zips and even bigger pockets, but this does have the key essentials for hillwalkers – plus that weight bonus. 5/5

Fit

Sizes are S-XXL for men and XS-XL for women. On me the jacket’s length was typical of many with a generally relaxed fit. Sleeve movement was good, with only a tiny amount of rise in the hem or cuff. But even when adjusted the hood still seemed a little too big and my vision was slightly obscured by its huge wired peak. 4/5

Comfort

The Sherpa Lakpa Rita is a lighter jacket than many with a softer feel to the fabric, which makes it feel more comfortable, although really strong winds will squeeze away any trapped warm air inside the jacket more easily than with stiffer options. But overall this is a very comfortable option for general hillwalking. 5/5

In use

The two main pockets are placed above rucksack belt for easy access and then you also get two additional Napoleon chest pockets, which are annoyingly small, so they won’t take a map, but they are good for phones or GPS receivers. The hood is the main problem here though as its fit is not close enough and the wired peak blocks vision a little too easily. I love the weight of this jacket, though. 4/5

Value

The Sherpa Lakpa Rita’s price is good, but you are not getting such good features as in higher-priced jackets. 4/5

Verdict

The weight and the fabric are great but the pockets and hood are not the best. At this price, however, the Lakpa Rita is still a good option. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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