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Rab Latok Review

Rab Latok
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Price:  $500 List | $499.95 at Backcountry
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
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Jun 26, 2012
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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

The Skinny

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.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review



Likes


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.

Expedition style hardshell pocket critique  L to R: Rab Latok (excellent)  Mountain Hardwear Drystein II (a little low)  Patagonia Super Pluma (a little small)  Arcteryx Alpha SV (fantastic storage and easy access but don't accommodate hands).
Expedition style hardshell pocket critique, L to R: Rab Latok (excellent), Mountain Hardwear Drystein II (a little low), Patagonia Super Pluma (a little small), Arcteryx Alpha SV (fantastic storage and easy access but don't accommodate hands).
Beyond the pockets, the Latok has a huge helmet compatible hood that's comfortable both when worn over a helmet and when not. The hood's adjustment cords cinch with one hand and tuck out of the way nicely. Though not as refined as the Arc'teryx Alpha SV's hood, the Latok has one of the best hoods we tested.

Fit

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.

Dislikes


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.

Packed size and weight in oz from the left: Mountain Hardwear Quasar (9.5)  Arcteryx Alpha FL (10.7)  Mammut Felstrum Half Zip (11.2)  Arcteryx Alpha SV (16.9  and Rab Latok (24.1).
Packed size and weight in oz from the left: Mountain Hardwear Quasar (9.5), Arcteryx Alpha FL (10.7), Mammut Felstrum Half Zip (11.2), Arcteryx Alpha SV (16.9, and Rab Latok (24.1).
The Latok's weight and bulk is a result of several unnecessary features (it's the only shell that has an exterior storm flap with velcro strips and two snaps) and also of its construction (welded construction with smaller seam allowances would be better).

The Rab Latok  made of eVent  is the heaviest and most featured climbing shell we tested. It has velcro strips and snap closures along the front zipper flap-- unnecessary features found on no other shell tested.
The Rab Latok, made of eVent, is the heaviest and most featured climbing shell we tested. It has velcro strips and snap closures along the front zipper flap-- unnecessary features found on no other shell 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