'The Janak's mix of bombproof fabric, sublime fit and a great all-round mountain hood makes it one of the best hunker-down, all-round mountain shell jackets we've used. Recommended.'
Outdoors Magic: Fantastic cut, super tough Gore-Tex fabric throughout, excellent hood, top notch build quality and components.
Outdoors Tragic: The fabric comes with added crackle - it's quite noisy. Just two outside pockets.
Outdoors Grabbit? An excellent, tough, no-nonsense UK mountaineering jacket that's similar to the cracking Lhotse jacket, but slightly lighter despite using a heavier duty fabric throughout. Hard to fault for general mountaineering and mountain walking use, though it has fewer pockets than the Lhotse. Not cheap, but should last a good while.
Mountaineering jacket / 80D Gore-Tex Pro fabric throughout / Storm Construction / Mountain HC Hood / adjustable cuffs and hem / two chest pockets with YKK moulded Aquaguard zips / main moulded Aquaguard® centre front zip / 2-way YKK® WR underarm pit zips with laminated and bonded entry.
Full Review Below
Mountain Equipment Janak - The Tech
Mountain Equipment uses several different versions of the tough, light and breathable Gore-Tex Pro fabric on different jackets. The excellent Lhotse - winner of our 2016 Best Waterproof Jackets review has a mix of lightweight 40-denier fabric for most of the jacket with tougher, slightly heavier 80-denier Pro on the shoulders and hips.
The Janak ups the game by using the tougher 80D fabric throughout, same as the tough ME Tupilak climbing jacket. You'd think that would increase the weight of the jacket, but the Janak is actually around 50g lighter than the Lhotse - 470g versus 520g.
Tougher And Lighter?
How come? It has fewer pockets basically and loses the tab-down hood facility. Otherwise it's a very similar jacket with the same great Mountain HC Hood, plus the excellent Swiss-developed ME 'Alpine Fit'. If you want more room in your shell, look for the versions with 'Mountain Fit'.
Finally, like all ME's shell jackets, the Janak uses the brand's 'Storm Construction', which optimises seaming and minimises exposed stitching which could be vulnerable to abrasion.
Mountain Equipment Janak - Performance
The first time we pulled on the Janak, it felt like an old friend and we still reckon the ME Alpine Fit is one of the best cuts out there. The brand worked with expert Swiss designers to get it just right and the result is a jacket that's beautifully closely fitted, but impressively unrestrictive at the same time. It's athletic, neat and - for us at least - just feels absolutely 'right'.
Hoods You Win
The same's true of the excellent hood. It does a great job of fitting a non-helmeted head, gives plenty of facial protection and has a proper, fully-stiffened hood for extra reassurance when the rain comes sheeting down. Plenty of chin room too and it moves reliably with your direction of gaze.
It'll work with a helmet too - not as well as ME's huge Super Alpine HC hood, but the pay-off is that it does a good job without a helmet, something that's marginal with the Super Alpine hood. Bottom line is that when you're hunkered down inside the jacket, it feels properly reassuringly protective.
The fabric is a little noisy, particularly when the hood's up, but breathes decently and has a pleasant, solid feel to it. If you do get a little sweaty hoofing it up some monster approach slope, ME has thoughtfully provided neatly engineered pit-zips for added venting. The zips are double-ended, so you can tweak the opening to suit your preferences.
A Question Of Pockets
The jacket's achilles heel, if you're a pocket fiend, is its relative lack of the things. There are two great big, harness and pack-belt friendly hand pockets, but that's it. No chest pockets inside or out.
We didn't have an issue with that, but if you are someone who prefers to carry a phone in a separate pocket for example, you might be better off with a Lhotse, which has two additional pockets.
Otherwise everything just works: glove-friendly zip-pulls are present and correct, hem adjusts neatly, cuffs work well with and without gloves. If we were being really fussy, we'd observes that the hood adjusters don't work as neatly as posh Cohaesive ones, but they do the job just fine.
Mountain Equipment Janak - Verdict
An excellent no-nonsense, surprisingly light and tough mountain jacket that soaked up the worst the mountains could throw at it and came back for more. It's beautifully cut, has a great hood for general use and should last for years thanks to the all-over 80D Gore-Tex Pro fabric.
For regular helmet use we'd go for the ME Tupilak with its larger helmet hood and if you want more pocket options, the classic Lhotse is a cracking choice, but general mountain walking and occasional mountaineering use, the Janak is a great blend of weight and robustness.
One of the very best mountain shells we've used.