Tupilak Jacket

Summary: Mountain Equipment Tupilak and Lhotse JacketsĀ are quite simply the best mountain hard-shell jackets available by any measure.

Review Date: 12/12/2017
Price when reviewed: £300.00
Overall Rating: Tupilak Jacket scored 5.0 stars
Online Stock: In Stock

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At a time when some brands appear to be dumbing down to cater for what seems like the dog walking market, and others are speeding off in the other direction to create the outdoor equivalent of the Lamborghini, it’s good to know that Mountain Equipment are still doing what they’ve always done and doing it better than ever. They are making, as their name implies, equipment and clothing for use in the mountains by hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers.


James approaching Aiguilles des Pèlerin | Tom with Karim on the Gondogoro La 5900m

Several years ago, before I retired as Gear Editor for the excellent but sadly now defunct High and Climb magazines two standout Mountain Equipment products were awarded at different times the Gear of the Year Award. They were firstly the Lhotse Jacket (pronounced Lowt-se, not Le-Hotsy as someone once suggested) and later the Tupilak jacket and salopettes.

The Lhotse and its women's equivalent, the Manaslu has been tested by all the active mountaineers from the Outside store and by many other friends in Scotland in winter and in remote corners of Alaska and Nepal.

It is made from 3 layer Gore-Tex Pro with mostly a lightweight 40 denier outer fabric. Areas of particular wear use an 80-denier fabric. It has a helmet compatible, volume adjustable mountain hood that you can move in, two large hand warmer pockets and a Napoleon style map pocket. Together this gives a very durable jacket but an overall weight of only 530g.

This makes the Lhotse jacket very hard to beat. However, if you are particularly hard on your gear, the stripped-down design and increased fabric specification of the Tupilak jacket might be for you.

It has just two outer pockets, located well out of the way of harnesses, hip belts etc. with big enough zips to use easily even wearing mitts when sorting a belay etc. The hood is Super Alpine and takes any size helmet and it can still both move with you and keep out the blizzard. The material throughout is 80 denier 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro; the best there is in my view. The arm movement is perfect for climbing without bulking up under your pits when walking. (There are also pit zips in both jackets for ventilation.)


James on Fingers Ridge, Cairngorms - Tom summitting Narindal, Mongolia

James and I have used our Tupilaks hard; in summer and winter over several years. In 2016- 2017 for example, I attempted but failed to thrash mine in Mongolia and Nepal (3 trips), the Karakoram (4 trips), Ladakh and the area known as the Chinese Tibetan Alps of Sichuan Province China (2 trips), while leading groups for KE Adventure Travel; as well as doing my own thing both in the UK and abroad.

Finally, when it comes to price comparison, there is simply no comparison. There are jackets that cost about the same and others that cost a lot more, but when you compare them feature by feature, they have no equal by any measure, in my opinion.

Mountain Equipment
By Tom Richardson
Footwear and expedition specialist

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Tom Richardson
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