The Rab Latok is a tank-like hardshell for the most brutal of expeditions. This jacket has some outstanding attributes, like the best expedition style pocket design of all the shells tested. It also has some room for improvement- at 24 oz it's the heaviest climbing shell tested. The Latok is our top choice for a "budget" bomber mountaineering shell. That said, we still recommend the Arc'teryx Alpha SV - our Top Pick for Mountain Expeditions - for the nastiest of conditions.
Rab Latok Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Best value mountaineering shell, perfect pocket design, hood is comfortable and unrestrictive
Cons: Heaviest and most restrictive climbing/hiking shell tested, construction quality is lower, unnecessary snaps and tabs along main zipper
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Latok presents the best value in bombproof mountaineering hardshell jackets. This portable fortress offers complete weather protection regardless of the conditions. One tester commented that he felt like he "was wearing a tank."Materials
The Latok is built with three-layer eVent (arguably more breathable than Gore-Tex) and has a midweight ripstop nylon face fabric in the body and reinforced arms and shoulders.Features
The Latok has the best expedition style pocket design of all nineteen hardshells tested!! This alone is a reason to buy the jacket; the two handwarmer pockets are set high (above a waistbelt) and are marvelously comfortable for your hands, and the crossover chest pockets are easy to open. The Latok's pocket design is something that should be copied by many other shells. We can't overstate how good it is.
The Latok fits like an expedition style jacket. It's cut longer than average, providing extra storm protection when you have your arms overhead, and there's plenty of space for layering up when the temperatures drop. The Latok has the longest cut of all shells tested.
The Latok has several significant drawbacks. First, at 24.1 oz. it's the heaviest hardshell we tested. 24 ounces is a lot!! For the same weight, you could nearly carry one Katabatic Gear Sawatch 15-degree sleeping bag or two full length Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pads. The added weight is felt while wearing the jacket- it feels ever so slightly more restrictive than medium duty shells (~6 oz lighter)- and especially while carrying it. The Latok is also the bulkiest shell we tested.
Best Application and Value
The Latok is best suited to big mountain expeditions or extended trips into remote areas. It's a full $250 cheaper than our top-rated expedition shell, the Arc'teryx Alpha SV, and is, therefore, an excellent choice for budget conscious adventurers and mountaineers who want something super bombproof.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale