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Rab Latok Review

A heavy hardshell with every bell and whistle
Rab Latok
Photo: BananaFingers
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Price:  $500 List
Pros:  Heavy-duty materials, lots of pockets, very adjustable fit of hood and waist hem
Cons:  Heavy, chest pockets not waterproof, too many extra features
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2020
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61
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 20% 7
  • Weight - 20% 3
  • Mobility - 20% 5
  • Breathability - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 10
  • Features - 10% 9
  • Versatility - 5% 3

Our Verdict

Latok is the name of a complex and impressive group of peaks in the Pakistani Karakoram. Latok is also the name of a complex and impressive hardshell from Rab. This jacket includes more accessory features than any other hardshell we've tested, including no less than six pockets to go along with eight drawcords for adjusting the fit. All its bewildering features, however, do add weight. At 21.2 ounces for a size large, the Latok is one of the heaviest jackets out there. We also observed a small, but noticeable, leak through the zipper on the external chest pockets. Neither of these issues detracts greatly from the jacket's ideal use: full-on expeditions. And for that purpose, it's one of the more affordable heavy-duty hardshells you can find.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Latok's is a really heavy-duty hardshell that's best reserved...
The Latok's is a really heavy-duty hardshell that's best reserved for harsh winter activities like ice climbing or full-on expeditions.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weather Protection


The Rab Latok is made with the same waterproof Gore-Tex Pro membrane that you find on many of the other top-scoring jackets for weather protection. The Latok, however, suffers from a few design issues that prevent it from being a top-scorer. First is the hood, which has a brim that wasn't quite stiff enough to keep water out of the jacket when our tester wasn't wearing a helmet during our shower test.

Another issue is the zippers on the external chest pockets. A tiny opening at the bottom of these zippers allows water in. Water likely won't travel from there up inside the jacket, but enough water can get in to damage a phone or any other electronics you might be storing there.

There are tiny holes at the base of the Latok's chest pockets that...
There are tiny holes at the base of the Latok's chest pockets that let water in. Seen here, moisture has entered the pocket causing the outer fabric to wet out rather than bead water.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weight


This jacket is a true behemoth, weighing almost twice as much as the lightest hardshells we tested. A size large measured 21.2 ounces on our scale. It's also massive, taking up considerably more pack space than other hardshells. This makes the Latok a poor choice for any sort of light and fast mission, such as climbing the actual Latok I in Pakistan.

One of the reasons why the Latok is so heavy is its 70-denier...
One of the reasons why the Latok is so heavy is its 70-denier fabric. This adds weight but it ensures the jacket can resist cuts from pointy objects like ice tools.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Mobility and Fit


The Latok fit a little looser than a lot of the other jackets we tried. This could be great for cold conditions when you need to don extra mid layers. The loose fit, however, isn't especially stylish strolling around town or functional for high-intensity winter activities. We can report that the hood and sleeves did an excellent job staying in place during a variety of movements while backcountry skiing and ice climbing.

The underarm vents are long and operate with a taped zipper that...
The underarm vents are long and operate with a taped zipper that proved to be fully waterproof in our tests.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Venting and Breathability


The Gore-Tex Pro membrane and sturdy 70-denier fabric result in a jacket that breathed a little worse than average in our stationary bike test. To overcome this deficiency, the Latok has a two-way main zipper and underarm vents to help ensure air circulation. The weight and fit of this jacket make it less than ideal for fast-paced activities, so its poor breathability doesn't dramatically impact the jacket's usefulness.

The Latok could be a reasonable choice for downhill or side-country...
The Latok could be a reasonable choice for downhill or side-country skiing, but it's limited breathability and weight wouldn't be ideal for skinning uphill in a true backcountry setting.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Features and Design


The main reason the Latok is so heavy is because it includes many extra features. Like most hardshells, it sports a pair of external chest pockets to go along with an internal zippered stash pocket and a mesh drop pocket. However, this jacket also includes an extra set of hand pockets and pit zips.

The Latok is also rare among hardshells in featuring a fourth hood drawcord to adjust the fit around the neck and an accessory drawcord to tighten the fabric across the lower back. There is also a long Velcro flap to secure the hood if you want to roll it up. While some shoppers may appreciate these frills, our minimalist testers found most of them to be unnecessary.

In addition to these two hood drawcords on the front, the Latok also...
In addition to these two hood drawcords on the front, the Latok also has a pair on the back that adjust the fit around the helmet and neck.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


The Latok costs slightly more than average for a hardshell, but at this price, you get a heavy-duty jacket that's ready to tackle the harshest conditions. Although we wish it were a little lighter, it's one of the cheapest models that's suitable for a full-on expedition, and it, therefore, presents a reasonable value.

Some lighter hardshells are great for hiking when the forecast is...
Some lighter hardshells are great for hiking when the forecast is marginal. The Latok, however, is probably overkill for all but the rainiest days.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Conclusion


In recent years many North American gear makers have adopted the light and fast ethos wholeheartedly, trimming every conceivable ounce from their entire clothing line. With the Latok, the British designers at Rab demonstrate a different philosophy that also includes an emphasis on durability and comfort. Although most of our testers were less than enthused with this jacket's extraneous features, we know there are customers out there who will love them.

Jack Cramer