Sherpa Lobutse Jacket by MTA member Ian Morton

Sherpa Lobutse Jacket

Having been really impressed by the Sherpa Lithang hard-shell jacket, purchased in Autumn 2012 I had no hesitation in purchasing a couple of the soft-shell Lobutse jackets in February 2013 as Striding Ahead “staff issue” for our 2013 events. As Striding Ahead’s business involves regular leadership of groups in all mountainous areas of the UK (as well as doing our own stuff!) we need kit that is going to perform day-in, day-out in all conditions and be effective and hard-wearing.

I am delighted to say the Lobutse is all these things – and more! Here are my thoughts:

First impressions.

The soft-shell feels very comfortable indeed from the first wearing. Sleeves have Velcro cuff fasteners allowing adjustment very easily – even in gloves. There are two hand pockets and a single chest pocket – all protected by waterproof zips which are again easy to operate – as is the main zip.

The hand pockets do get partly covered when using a rucksack but are of such a size that they are still very useable even then - I can still carry a small compact camera in one, and a hat or gloves in the other. The lining is part fleece, part spandex (no – not like its “80’s rock god connotations!) and very comfortable. The whole jacket is slightly stretchy so movement is not restricted and the length is good for those cold early-morning starts…

There are elastic “drawcords” at the hem to help keep strong breezes out and these work well. There is also a fully-adjustable hood which is helmet-compatible and also works very well in practice – alleviating the need in many cases for a separate warm hat due to the wind-proofing membrane.

In action

The Lobutse is described as “designed to keep you warm”, “breathable” and “wind-and-water repellent” – it has a special membrane sewn in-between the outer and inner layers to achieve these aims - and in all these areas I have found the jacket delivers precisely as required. I have climbed Beinn Fhionnlaidh in a windchill of -10 wearing the Lobutse and a single base-layer, and walked the Pen-y-Fan horseshoe in 40 mph wind and heavy showers in the same set-up. Conversely, despite being the end of February, I walked up Elidir Fawr in conditions from very Spring-like warmth in Nant Peris to biting wind-chill at the summit. I did not have to remove the jacket in the warmth as it breathed superbly, nor did I need extra layers at the summit, where the wind-protection ensured I remained just as warm as at the start of the walk.

In all but the heaviest, most continual rain the Lobutse sheds water quickly – and despite several machine washes has retained the ability to “bead” water on impact – allowing the jacket to breathe whilst on the move – and avoiding “wetting-out”. For those rare (!) times when the rain has become incessant the addition of a Sherpa Lithang hard-shell and my trusty Keela salopettes has meant I have kept dry and warm and therefore been better able to attend to clients without discomfort.

Small details help make the difference…

Attention to detail is excellent. The “Sherpa” logo is embroidered cleanly on the chest, and each of the zips has a “prayer-flag” pull on it for gloved use. There is also a traditional Sherpa “endless knot” embroidered at the top of the back. The whole jacket has a look of quality to it.

I can thoroughly the Lobutse and its hard-shell brother the Lithang from my own experience and will have no hesitation in purchasing further Sherpa kit when needed.

Ian Morton is an MTA member and a Partner of Striding Ahead, who offer corporate, charity and private outdoors events.
Ian Morton Sherpa Lobutse Jacket
Sherpa and Mountain Training

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