Just In - Lowe Alpine Taiga Jacket
Lowe Alpine is back in the clothing game with a small, but useful range of shells, insulation and baselayer kit designed in Cumbria by Kendal Mint Cake addicts and headed-up by this, the new alpine-friendly Taiga Jacket made from three-layer Triplepoint AP fabric.
More senior readers will remember Lowe Alpine's iconic Triplepoint Ceramic material which, for years, fought a rearguard action against the dark forces of Gore-Tex before finally being cornered and shephered off to exile in Italy. And now it's back, sort of.
It's eVent, Sort Of...
In fact the Triplepoint AP being used for the Taiga is effectively eVent, in the sense that it's based on GE's microporous PTFE membrane - no bad thing given that it's still one of the most breathable waterproof fabrics out there.
The jacket weighs in at a real life 430g for a medium complete with wired and adjustable helmet hood, two enormous chest pockets, two internal zip-pockets and water-resistant zips all round.
Lowe Alpine describes the cut as 'alpine' as opposed to more generously cut all-rounders like the arboreally-named Cedar Ridge or the Lone Pine, both of which use the original Triplepoint Ceramic fabric if you're feeling nostalgic. Alpine fit in this case means a medium length with a slightly extended tail and a fit that's also shaped but again sort of medium.
It's not loose on us, but we can easily accommodate a thick fleece mid-layer if necessary -so not quite as trim as ME or Rab's more technical jackets then, but not baggy and shapeless either. A good happy medium that should fit most active folk we reckon.
The hood's a fully adjustable, wired-peak number which takes a helmet, though we found it tight around the chin when teamed with a BD Half Dome, so it's worth a trial fit if you intend to use it when climbing. It seems happier without a lid when it snugs down nicely, gives decent protection, moves with the head and boasts a stable-feeling peak.
Mobilty feels decent and the long-ish sleeves don't pull up during experimental top book shelf reaches. If we were being fussy, we'd prefer mesh pocket liners for venting use rather than double thickness fabric across a big chunk of the front of the jacket and we'd also say that the hood won't take all helmets.
Uncomplicated And Capable
Other than that though, the Taiga feels like an uncomplicated, capable mountain jacket with no unnecessary frills made from what we know to be a really effective fabric. At 430g measured, it's slightly lighter than sister brand Rab's equivalent eVent Latok Alpine (515g) and again lighter than Montane's new, more featured eVent Alpine Endurance jacket (606g).
On The List
The suggested retail price of £230 - the same as a Latok Alpine - which begs the question of why you might choose the Lowe Alpine over the Rab given the near identical fabrics and features. Ultimately it may just be down to fit and if we were in the market for a mountain-orientated eVent shell, those two jackets plus the Montane equivalent - more expensive at £300 but with more features - would be on our list to try.
More once we've had the opportunity to use the Taiga. Lowe Alpine information at www.lowealpine.com where you can see the full new clothing range.