Sherpa Lithang Jacket Review
by Ian Morton
I have been a fan of the Lithang since purchasing it in late 2012 – as I was recently asked to test and review Sherpa’s Himal pants
I thought a review of the Lithang would be pertinent too. I am a walker not a climber and therefore my reviews are based on using the jacket for this purpose only.
I have been a fan of Sherpa since originally buying the Lithang and have previously reviewed their Lobutse softshell jacket
. I think their kit is excellent and very keenly-priced too.
The Lithang is a relatively lightweight (c. 540g) three-layer hardshell waterproof jacket with a very slight stretch in the material. The outer is polyester rather than nylon and feels very robust and hardwearing. There are contrast patches of heavier-duty material around the shoulders and upper arms. My own version is in a colour called “Tibetan Coral” – a very bright red which is perfect for winter in the mountains.
The jacket has two huge handwarmer pockets which will swallow a map whole. This is just as well because, as with many hardshells the lower part of the pockets do get covered by a rucksack hip-belt. Their size is such though that the upper part is still functional even then – hands, compass and hat/gloves can still fit in easily.
There are two higher, but smaller chest pockets which are big enough for phone, GPS, snacks wallet etc. Sleeve adjustment is by Velcro tables which work well. There are long, two-way pit zips on each side which are easy to access and use even in gloves. The main zip is two-way and waterproof. There is an internal storm flap behind this. The pockets are also protected by waterproof zips, and all zips have zip-pulls that are easy to use even in gloves.
The fit is “comfort” rather than “active” (although it didn’t feel baggy) and hence layering underneath is easy. It is also long enough so that it doesn’t ride up under a rucksack unlike some hardshells I have tried. There are two hem adjusters - which are easily accessed in gloves too.
The hood is big enough to use with a helmet and has plenty of adjustment for use without. It moves with the head when correctly adjusted. The back adjuster is straightforward. The main hood adjusters though are, in my opinion the weakest part of the design and do detract from the overall impression of the jacket. The cord passes through a thin plastic tube with a split down half its length. The cord is gripped in this split by pulling up once adjusted. In practice it proved almost impossible to do in gloves, and eventually I have “customised” the jacket by adding a couple of traditional “push-button” cordlocks which work much better and make adjusting even in gloves very easy indeed.
The chin protection when fully-zipped and hooded is good - nice and high and with a zip-cover to avoid trapping whiskers.
There is the usual Sherpa detailing – the prayer-flag zip-pull and endless-knot embroidery and, as with other Sherpa kit, the quality feels good and the design (even in bright red!) is understated.
The jacket beads water well and has been waterproof in some very wet conditions over the last 12 months. I have washed it three times in TechWash and the beading is still as good now as at when new – no re-proofing yet required. It also breathes exceedingly well, even when walking with several layers underneath – and this is normally an issue for me as I run warm when out on the hill as a rule.
During Spring/Summer/Autumn the Lithang is light enough to carry “just in case”. In Winter, paired with some Sherpa Himal pants or with full salopettes with gaiters where a full day of snow or rain is expected the Lithang has been a great all-round performer. If you are looking for a hardshell that can be used all year round I would recommend you consider the Lithang.
Ian is an MTA member and partner in Striding Ahead LLP.The Womens Lithang is currently available from the Bradshaw Taylor Pro Shop at a massively reduced price. Access is via the MTA Members' Area. The Men's Lithang can be purchase from the Sherpa website.