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On-the-hill review: Sherpa Lobutse Softshell Jacket

Staff member Pete Hill has been testing a range of gear from new brand Sherpa Adventure Gear. The Kathmandu based technical gear company have brought a full range of high spec outdoor gear to the UK market. Today he will be focusing on the Lobutse softshell jacket, seeing how it copes with the often unpredictable and mixed weather conditions that the Lake District has to offer.

Genuine Nepalese prayer flags for zip pulls

Features

 The Lobutse jacket features four-way stretch fabric on the outside, soft fleece on the inside, and a breathable, wind- and water-repellent membrane sandwiched between. The 3-layer bonded fabric is designed to be highly breathable, plus wind- and water-repellent. It also features a technical hood which is sized to fit over helmets, articulated elbows, a Napoleon chest pocket, two hand warmer pockets, elasticated adjustments for the hood and hem and Velcro tabs on the sleeves. Weighing in at only 462 grams it should find a place in your sack no matter what the adventure.

In all it is a fully featured, mid weight softshell that should perform well in both summer and winter applications and all for the enticing price of £120!

 

Use

In use the jacket did not disappoint, the fit was great. Normally I vary between size small and medium depending on the brand or style, in the Lobutse jacket I took a size small (I am 5” 11’ and about 11 stone). It is cut a little longer than waist length, which is great for use with a harness or rucksack. I have had no issues with it coming un-tucked from my harness waist belt.

The fit in the body is athletic but just loose enough to allow for a fleece or thin synthetic underneath such as Patagonia’s Nano Puff to provide extra insulation for colder environments.

The sleeves are very well fitted and articulated to allow optimum range of movement, the Velcro tabs allow for adjustment at the cuff but the sleeves fitted me so well I hardly needed to tighten the cuffs.

The hood is good and functional, possibly a little too tight for me with a helmet on. It could also benefit from a stiffer or wired peak in my opinion for when the wind picks up. Once adjusted correctly though it performs well and adds that extra level of protection from the elements. The collar is nice and high and has a soft fleece feel on the skin which is another plus point for me!

The handwarmer pockets easily accomodate an OS map

The pockets are well positioned for use with a rucksack and are all easily accessible, although with a harness the lower pockets are obstructed. I don’t see this as an issue as I wouldn’t climb with bulky objects in the pockets. The main feature of the two lower pockets is the sheer size of them! They easily swallow an OS map and a pair of gloves for the walk in. There is also a nifty little hole in the back of the chest pocket that allows your headphones to be threaded through.

Over the past couple of months I have used this jacket for everything from winter climbing to walking to the pub, the fleece lining provides a good level of warmth and the softshell membrane keeps out the worst of the weather. It is incredibly well thought out and has been designed with the end user always in mind, it is definitely now my “go to” softshell jacket for all but the very worst situations.

 Pros

  •  Excellent fit in both body and sleeves
  • Well thought out design with no frills or party tricks
  • Very good level of warmth and protection for a soft shell
  • Huge Pockets
  • Good weight for the range of features
  • Very competitively priced

Cons

  •  Improvements could be made to the hood, wired/stiffened brim and slightly larger to accommodate helmets more comfortably.
  • Elasticated rather than Velcro on the wrist cuffs, as I never used the Velcro!

Pete Hill takes the Lobutse for a spin

Conclusion

 This jacket has proved to be a great all rounder, from days out winter climbing to a damp day in the hills or a chilly day on the crag. The Sherpa Lobutse jacket will keep you warm and protected from the elements. At £120 it is an awesome price compared with other softshells flashing the “Windstopper” or “Powershield” label. And I would definitely consider it if you are in the market for a new softshell jacket no matter what your budget.

I look forward to using it for my further planned trips and see no reason why it wont keep on performing as it has been. It will definitely be first in my sack for this coming summer Alpine season!

Thanks for reading.

Review written by Pete Hill.

 

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