CGR tests out the great lightweight hardshell jacket from Sherpa Adventure Gear
Lakpa Rita, this Jacket is our best waterproof/breathable hard shell – period.
Earlier in the season we took the Sherpa Thorong softshell jacket for a test in a variety of mountain conditions. I concluded that the jacket was excellent, well made and a great choice of Polartec Neoshell.
The Sherpa Lakpa Rita jacket is named after a legendary Sherpa from Nepal who has summited Everest 17 times so there’s no better pedigree than that. The top of the range jacket is a lightweight, 3 layer hardshell using eVent for the membrane. eVent is now a well established as a very breathable, waterproof fabric and works well in all conditions from dry, cold winter days to humid, damp winter walks. Just remember that eVent needs regular washing to keep it super breathable.
Sherpa Adventure Gear have made great efforts to keep the Lakpa Rita jacket light yet fully featured and they have made a good job of doing so. The jacket felt really light and packable and it was no trouble to throw it in the pack for any sort of day. It took up very little room and its lightness meant I could pack it with worrying too much.
The cut was athletic and great for climbing, it was generous enough to go over a fleece or midlayer but felt close enough not to get in the way when climbing. There was very little rise when reaching for those high holds or placements and there was just enough articulation in the elbows to stop the jacket rising. The cuffs had nice, easy to use Velcro tension straps made from the same fabric, none of this silly plastic cuff tighteners. I could easily tighten and undo the cuffs with climbing gloves on. The shoulders are made from a stretch fabric that further enhanced the climbing performance.
The hem of the Sherpa Lakpa Rita was also made from the same stretch material as the shoulders so that the jacket could rise a little when wearing a climbing harness. It could closed equally using two elasticated cord tensioners. The cord locks were enclosed into the hem in two spaces. A nice touch was that the cord is the Sherpa colours and just shows the attention to detail that Sherpa like to put intro their range. However, I would have liked to have seen larger pull tabs on the hem cord so that they worked better with gloves. This was also the case with the hood tension cord – but more of this later.
The Sherpa Lakpa Rita has a very generous 4 pockets, two chest and two, larger side pockets. I felt that just one chest pocket was plenty but that doesn’t mean to say I didn’t use them on belays; filling them with food, camera and walkie talkie. I didn’t use the side pockets so much but I do like them as occasionally I like to use them to keep my hands warm when walking and I don’t want to stop to get gloves out. All the pockets were made using YKK Aquacoil zips which were glued into a laser cut slot and finished with a weatherproof, laminated seam. This kept all but driving rain out of the pockets and I would definitely say they were as good as it gets for waterproof.
The main, body zip was a two way YKK Aquacoil, this was stitched in with taped seams. The zip proved tricky to close sometimes and I put this down to it being new, it has improved over time but was still tricky with gloves on and a wind blowing. The zip pull was nice and big and easy to grab with gloves on. It has the now, standard Sherpa patterns and was stitched, some bartack stitching would strengthen it up a little further. The zip went up into the chin guard which worked well and helped to keep the worst out when the weather turned nasty.
The hood on the Sherpa Lakpa Rita is helmet compatible and fitted nicely over my climbing helmet and offered plenty of space for head movement. It adjusted via a single, elasticated tension cord. This was situated at the back of the hood and was parked in a zip garage. This worked well enough but I often needed both hands to sort it out, especially when loosening it off. The hood also didn’t work so well without a helmet, I could never quite get it right even with the excellent, wired peak. I think two extra tension cords at the front would have helped tweak the hood.
In conclusion, the Sherpa Lakpa Rita is a well made hardshell jacket that is ideal for fast moving mountain activities. I have used it for mountaineering, rock climbing and winter climbing and it has performed excellently. The build quality is brilliant and the Event is super breathable and fast drying. It is fully featured and a great price and the fact it is made in Nepal and you know exactly where your money is going is a great factor for the sustainability minded mountaineer.
The Sherpa Lakpa Rita comes in 4 colours: Sarkar Blue (awesome!), Tibetan Coral (tested), Black and Rathee (Grey) and sizes Small through to XXL.
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