Buying a new jacket19th August 2006
After a hot and sunny July, we seem to be getting a wetter August with temperatures more normal than the record-breaking ones experienced last month. With the rain comes thoughts of waterproof jackets and my hill-walking Berghaus is showing more than its share of wear and tear. The Gore-Tex coating is not what it should be and wear from rucksacks has contributed as well. Given that it was my first outdoor jacket with a DWR finish, the Gore-Tex deterioration may not come as too much of a surprise when you consider that maintenance of such items means encountering a learning curve anyway. Cleaning out the detergent from my washing machine and use of Nikwax is my usual course of action. I also have a Sprayway Commanche jacket (bought at Nevisport in Fort William in July 2004) for everyday wear and that seems to be functioning well but I don’t want to be using the same jacket for both hillwalking and non-hillwalking purposes. The search therefore began for a new jacket.
This time out, I starting looking for something more technical. Being out in the rain around Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales last spring convinced me of that need. The Rab Latok caught my attention since it got good reviews in TGO and Trail. That said, there were some mixed experiences with the jacket reported on the OUTDOORSmagic website. A positive review in the same place of the Montane Super-Fly XT caused me to look at that option. However, I am a little ashamed to say that the mention of a drop tail put me off. Another option was the Mountain Equipment Kongur but that seemed to be out of stock in many places. The ecstatic review of the jacket in Trail magazine probably helped towards that outcome: it came first in the test with the Rab Latok in second. In the end, I decided to plump for the Rab (got it for £199 on the website of The Outdoor Shop; the Montane was £170 at the same place) and give it a go. I’ll let you know how I get on with it.