Sometimes I feel that I just need two lighter layers for my climbing and trekking adventures. I find a soft shell is fine for activities where I’m not moving around too much or it’s going to be cold and windy and it’s not going to come off – there are plenty of those in the UK.
Why two layers? Well breathability and quick drying times are the key – a steep hike to the base of a route is a great example or climbing a long, steep pitch of rock and then a windy belay is another. So sometimes I find that the combination of a lightweight midlayer and a wind/hardshell is a good choice.
The Sherpa Sikkim Hoodie is just such a layer (Sikkim is a state in Northwest India and is top of my destination list in the near future). Earlier in the season we reviewed the Sherpa Tharkey layer, this proved a good layer, it’s warm (very warm) but I feel the Sikkim Hoodie is more versatile. It’s highly breathable with its tight knitted 240gsm Polyester/Spandex mix and has the feel and style of a casual hoodie with a technical twist.
The material is well knitted and very nice against the skin, consider the Sikkim Hoodie a lightweight midlayer that you will be wearing on nice summer days with a t-shirt on and under a windproof or hard shell when the weather turns. The gridded inner of the knit allowed sweat to pass though to the outer and the jacket dried really well. The overlocked seams are well placed and make sure there are no hotspots on your shoulders when carrying a pack and the fit is nice and snug without feeling too athletic.
I found the sleeves a little long on my size medium, but I often do as I have a negative ape index and usually have to turn the cuffs up on many jackets so as long as you have a neutral ape index or slightly longer one you shouldn’t have a problem . The cuffs had a thumb loop but this was horizontally placed which made the sleeve twist when it was used. The thumb loop would be much better placed vertically along the inside seam and this would stop the twisting problem.
The Sikkim Hoodie is a fully zipped jacket with a YKK zip running the full length, the zip tab is the now standard prayer flag colours. On those colder days it was nice to be able to zip up the jacket to keep my neck and chin warm. There are also two zipped hand warmer pockets. I’m finding that manufacturers are reluctant to place the pockets high on a jacket. Maybe this is for fear of the jacket appearing too technical, but the hoodie pockets were not really useful when wearing a climbing harness and just about useable when wearing a pack hip belt. They were warm enough, however and worked well in a casual setting. I would have liked to have seen a zipped chest pocket to keep a phone or camera in for climbing or trekking.
The hood was pretty good, I wore it up over a peaked cap when windy and it fitted really well under a helmet. There is no peak but it is elasticated so fits snugly and is well designed. The Sikkim Hoodie has all the usual Sherpa styling with an embroiled Sherpa logo on the front and the lovely endless knot on the back under the neck. There is also a hanging loop in the prayer flag design which I would have liked to have seen bigger.
I tested the nice Tista River which has Bronze piping around the hood as well as stitching – a nice bright colour to be out and about in.
In conclusion the Sherpa Sikkim Hoodie is a great midlayer jacket, it has performed well both recreationally on the mountain and I have worn it most of the season professionally too. It has also been really good for casual work when lecturing and generaL travel. The knit works well with the hard face providing a little breeze resistance as well as less friction under a shell or with pack straps. The jacket washed well and dried out super quickly and wasn’t too smelly when I wore it for 6 days continually.
I have really taken to the Sherpa Sikkim Hoodie, I love the fact that the clothing works well and I am supporting the local Nepalese Sherpa community when I buy it as well as supporting the education of the Sherpa children through the Paldjore Education fund.
Sizes from S – XXL for Men and XS – XL for Women and available in a range of nice colours.
SRP: £60.00 in the UK
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!