Wednesday, 16 December 2015 09:18

Vaude Larice Jacket: Tested and Reviewed

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As My Outdoors grows so does our reach to brands and the amount of equipment we are a lucky enough to test. In turn this has meant the review team has expanded, the teams have been hand picked to show diversity in discipline and experience.

This is the first from the new addition to the Mountaineering and Climbing team, Alan 'Tosh' McIntosh. He is a keen mountaineer, alpinist and climber. Has a wealth of experience and the common denominator of being a 'gear geek'. He has tested the Vaude Larice Midlayer softshell, you can read his review below:

Look:

Great colours, the Pistachio version I received is very modern and looks like a quality garment. When wearing it attracted a lot of positive comments and interest. It also comes in two other colours, Hydro Blue and Black/Yellow.

VL000

Fit:
I have a medium, it's a sports fit which I personally really like. Technical Mountaineering and Climbing are my main focus (as opposed to hillwalking or hiking) so a slim fitting, stretchy material is always attractive to me and this offers both - having loose or baggy fit just gets in the way of a harness of ice tools and can be a distraction. Being slim fit means it is a perfect mid layer with room to put a hard shell or insulated jacket over it as conditions dictate. It is a modern sports cut in length so can at time start to ride up above a harness but in general is not an issue and even after a few hours at the ice wall it was only something I mildly noticed. As helmet wearer the hood could be a little larger but it is possible to fit one even in the medium size although it does stretch the overall jacket somewhat making at less comfortable

Technical:
Full view highlighting full 100% windstopper fabric on front torso, napoleon pockets, side pockets shell arms and hood and thinner medium weight fabric on sides and back (see below) to maximum stretch and breathability where it’s needed most. Stretch fabric used throughout for ease of movement climbing. Colours are great, fit is slim and athletic which is my personal taste, feels really comfortable high quality jacket for climbing and alpine use.

VL001

Reverse view highlighting thinner stretch layer providing more breathability under a rucksack, also brings overall weight down.

VL002

Stretch fabric throughout the hood, overall a good size if under a helmet, medium was tight over a helmet, chin guard and stormflap under the thicker weight windstopper on the front of the hoody as well as great robust zip and good sized zipper grab even with gloves. Feels like great quality.

VL003

Fantastic pitzips from arm right down almost to waist line offering fast and large venting if needed. Again great zips, they move well and feel robust. Mesh pocket lining can be seen behind Napoleon pockets that not only keep weight down but also offer controlled venting via pockets if you do not want to open the pitzips. Overall temperature control is very high and offers real variability if you run hot.

VL004

Highlight is 100% Windstopper on the front (and cool colour!) as well as very generous and well-placed napoleon pockets. For me these are necessary as I always carry a small camera and being able to keep it in a napoleon pocket or clipped to my rucksack chest strap means I can snap while on a climb and stow easily without reaching around waiststraps. Even if I drop it, it’s clipped so it will not fall. Zips again are robust and high quality as is the overall feel and look of the jacket.

VL005

Usage:

I tested it on both indoor ice wall (steep ice and drytooling for a number of hours – gets down to -6 but movement means you get very warm ) and the indoor climbing wall where typically you rely on maximum flexibility and a comfy mid layer that vents heat well if needed. It performed well on both. Again the stretch offered as well as the sports cut and great combination of materials means for this is an ideal climbing midlayer for colder days, on UK summer belay duty or in alpine summer. It’s water repellent but not waterproof so would be paired with a hard shell for wetter environments. Use with a backpack is great and the pit zips means a long day of climbing won’t make you overheat.

Conclusion:

VL006

Larger hood to take a helmet is my only small niggle but the overall great quality, cut, materials and tech spec mean I’m willing to put up with it. It's now a permanent addition to my kit and has replaced fleece as my midlayer.

Fantastic pitzips from arm right down almost to waist line offering fast and large venting if needed. Again great zips, they move well and feel robust. Mesh pocket lining can be seen behind Napoleon pockets that not only keep weight down but also offer controlled venting via pockets if you do not want to open the pitzips. Overall temperature control is very high and offers real variability if you run hot.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 December 2015 10:28
Davy Wright

Most at home in the outdoors, preferably on top of something big and pointy. Scotland is Davy's playground, which is why he doesn’t mind getting wet. But winter is where it’s at. Hiking, scrambling, camping and a bit of climbing when I can. Sucker for a ridge. At a lower altitude he try getting out on his bike and run if he has to.

Davy describes himself as "a bit of a gear geek, maybe less of the bit. I like to see how things work or don’t!" In following this line Davy has become a respected and authoritative blogger over the last few years, working with many of the UK's major manufacturers and retailers.

Preferred activities: Hillwalking, camping, scrambling, trying to get better at climbing/ice climbing, cycling/mountain biking

Areas commonly visited: Lochaber, Cairngorms, Lake District