The lightest and most versatile mountain jacket it has been my pleasure to test.
I wish the L.I.M III jacket had existed 30 years ago! I remember trying to cram all my share of the kit into a 25litre sac for my first KIMM and realising that I was going to have to sacrifice even more ‘essentials’ back then my jacket of choice was a cheap nylon ‘cag’ that was wind proof but also seemed to encompass the twin traits of almost zero breathability coupled with water resistance that would make a sieve blush! Fast forward to 2015 and theL.I.M III arriving for test and I’m looking at a very different experience.
TheL.I.M III is tagged as a trekking garment on the Haglofs website but don’t let that fool you into thinking its just a walking jacket. The L.I.M part stands for ‘less is more’ and the items in this range have been carefully stripped back to the essential features. The L.I.M III jacket comes in at a scant 220g for my size small and packs to the size of a large apple. Now it is certainly minimalist but still manages to fit in everything I would want. The first pleasant surprise was that the hood easily copes with a climbing helmet which instantly extended the jacket’s versatility. The hood adjusts easily with a minimalist partially external drawcord system and a foam stiffened peak keeps rain out of your eyes whilst folding easily when stuffing the jacket into a pack. The arms are a generous length and incorporate a ‘mini-mit’ that provides truly useful hand protection when it gets full on wet and miserable on those long runs/walks in the hills. Lengthwise I would describe the L.I.M III as generous hip length with a bit of a dropped tail which gives more than adequate protection whilst not impeding you when running or climbing. Storage options are limited to a single chest pocket but I’m increasingly of the opinion that a single chest pocket is pretty much ideal for active mountain sports, you know where everything will be, less to bounce about, fewer seams etc. maybe not ideal for skimo folk who want to stow climbing skins though. There’s a useful external hanging loop so you don’t have to hook you jacket up by the hood (potentially damaging the membrane/lining) when it’s soaking which is especially important for the lighter weight jackets.
I began reviewing the L.I.M III in July on training runs recce-ing the Dunmail to Wasdale leg of the Bob Graham. Derek had ambushed me one evening picking his offspring up from school “Are you running Rich”? “Yep a bit.” “Fancy supporting my Bob Graham?” “Err… OK but how quick? “Oh around 22hours” Silent breath of relief “Cool” “I’ve got you down for leg 3 clockwise” as he drives off. Damn I’d better get up and start reminding myself of the route and get proper hill miles in. The L.I.M III came in useful on most of the training runs proving light and totally weatherproof and more breathable than any jacket I’ve used to date meaning that I wasn’t constantly putting it on and taking it off due to overheating. Come the big day Heather and Kate (who are supporting leg4) get a text as I’m driving up to let us know Derek has gone through Threkald on a 21hour time! The consequence of this is that Dave the strong runner (aka pack mule) fails to make the Dunmail rendezvous so it’s off into the humid descending gloom carrying the pack and navigating worried that I won’t be able to keep up! The jacket proved perfect in the conditions and apart from having to direct Derek away from an HVS variant on Broad Stand as I stashed his poles in the sack we arrived on time in Wasdale unscathed.
Later in the summer the L.I.M III came along for a weeks trip to the Ecrin where its compact pack size meant it disappeared into a small alpine sac adding an extra layer of security should the forecast prove wrong or the route not go as planned. We had a couple of days of heavy rain when the jacket got some heavy use. By the second day of rain we were desperate for some activity and opted for a rather wet via ferrata and the L.I.M III withstood the abuses keeping me dry and happy throughout.
Overall the L.I.M III is a very versatile jacket that will cover any number of pursuits effectively. It wouldn’t be the first choice for situations with a lot of abrasion and rock abuse, think Scottish mixed climbing, but for everything else from fast and light alpinism to fell running and the “just incase” take along it is nigh on perfect.
Like all Haglöfs products there is a strong sustainability ethos and the L.I.M III goes a bit further meeting their ‘Take Care‘ criteria as a result ofthe textiles used being ‘Bluesign‘ approved. So you can have a great jacket and minimise your impact on the environment.
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!