Mountain Equipment Lhotse Jacket 2016 | Review
Iconic Mountain Equipment Gore-Tex Pro waterproof mountain jacket does it all in a deceptively sleek but solid way. Still the shell to beat.
'Mountain Equipment's iconic Lhotse all-rounder is still the jacket to beat thanks to a mix of great fabric, solid build, über-protective hood and probably the best cut of any shell we've used.'
Outdoors Magic: Proven Gore-Tex Pro fabric, ME's excellent, sleek alpine fit, UK-friendly helmet hood with serious peak, plenty of pockets, solid build, quality components.
Outdoors Tragic: Fabric is quite noisy. Little face protection with helmet under hood.
Outdoors Grabbit? Our benchmark mountain waterproof for the past couple of years, the Lhotse is beautifully cut, uses a proven, tough and breathable fabric. It has one of the best hoods out there, which also works for occasional helmet use. Build quality is excellent and components are top notch too. A great waterproof jacket for general mountain use and still hard to beat.
Waterproof mountain jacket / Gore-Tex Pro 40D fabric with 80D reinforcements / adjustable Mountain HC Hood / ME Alpine fit / 2 large pockets and 1 Napoleon chest pocket, laser cut and laminated with YKK® moulded AquaGuard® zips / 2-way YKK® moulded AquaGuard® centre front zip / 2-way YKK® WR underarm pit zips with laminated and bonded entry / Adjustable laminated cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords / single internal zipped pocket / tab-down hood facility / Storm Construction
Full Review Below
Mountain Equipment Lhotse Jacket - The Tech
If you had to choose a single word to describe the Lhotse it might just be 'solid'. It just feels seriously well put together and finished. It starts with the proven Gore-Tex Pro fabric. The main body - lighter red in the images - is a medium-weight 40D material, but the shoulders, hips and outsides of the sleeves get a tougher but slightly heavier 80D material to cope with abrasive pack straps and contact with rock.
You can, incidentally, buy the very similar ME Janak which uses the tougher 80D fabric throughout, but lacks the Lhotse's chest pocket.
The jacket's well constructed too with hidden stitched seams to reduce vulnerability and give smoother lines and the smooth-flowing YKK zips are backed with storm-flaps that cunningly channel out any water that does get through via tiny drain-holes at the bottom of the zip.
The construction's super neat all round. If you get the chance, take a look at the laminated and bonded-in pit-zips as an example of that.
Mountain Equipment Lhotse Jacket - Performance
The Lhotse is a brilliant all-round balance of super solidly-engineered construction, an excellent, tough and breathable fabric, as many features as you'll ever need for general mountain use, an excellent, protective UK-friendly hood and a sublimely fitted cut.
ME's alpine fit is still our favourite jacket cut on the market. It was developed over a two-year project with Swiss pattern-cutting gurus and, if you're athletically built, it's a superb mix of close fit and lack of restriction.
Swiss Fit Or Miss
We sometimes forget just how good it actually is. Note that if you're carrying a little extra timber, ME's Mountain Cut - used for the iconic Changabang jacket - gives extra volume without being a shapeless bag.
Otherwise the jacket is hard to fault. The Gore-Tex Pro fabric is a little noisy, something you notice particularly with the hood up for an hour or two, but feels reassuringly sturdy and tough and is decently breathable.
Happy In The Hood
The Mountain HC hood is a great all-rounder particularly with a bare or beanied head. Good fit, plenty of face protection and a cracking, stiffened and wired peak. It will take a helmet too, but the pay-off is less facial protection. Cue either a balaclava or one of ME's more specialised jackets like the Tupilak, which have a superb helmet hood, but struggle not to flop around on a bare head.
Zip-pulls and adjusters all work flawlessly with gloved hands. We like the flat, round easy-to-press hood and hem cord-grips in particular, the next best thing to the excellent Cohaesive grips.
No shortage of pockets here. There's a huge chest one on the left, think a sort of contemporary map-pocket - that's super easy to use even with a pack on. It's backed up by a pair of only slightly smaller 'hand-pockets'. All of them get smooth-flowing YKK Vislon zips backed up with storm-flaps with integral drains.
Mountain Equipment Lhotse Jacket - Verdict
We still can't think of many waterproof jackets we'd grab ahead of the Lhotse when heading out for a rough, windy, wet or just all-round gnarly mountain day. The combination of a superb cut, excellent, protective hood and super solid feel makes it a seriously reassuring companion.
We've used it for everything from basic hill and mountain walking through to technical mountaineering and while we'd say its hood works better with a bare head than over a helmet, it still does the job, particularly if you're prepared to supplement it with a face mask or balaclava.
Why choose a Lhotse over the slightly burlier ME Janak? Pockets basically, the Lhotse has that additional chest one plus a handy internal back-up. Your call.