Monday, 07 June 2021 08:50

Mountain Equipment Lhotse tested and reviewed

Written by

The Lhotse is Mountain Equipment's best selling GoreTex jacket and is seen by many as a benchmark of where technology is.

Multi award winning for over a decade it's built to perform in harsh environments with a reputation for being tough and durable. With a list price of £400 it's a big investment, but does it justify the price tag?

What Mountain Equipment say:

For those requiring the very best all-round performance and absolute protection for mountaineering in all weathers.

The multi-award-winning Lhotse Jacket remains our best-selling GORE-TEX PRO jacket. The latest evolution of this mountaineering classic represents the best possible blend of function, weight and durability.


  • 3-layer GORE-TEX PRO 40D fabric
  • 3-layer GORE-TEX PRO 80D fabric reinforcements
  • Mountain HC Hood is fully adjustable with Cohaesive™ cordlocks
  • Seamless face panel for maximum comfort
  • Alpine fit with articulated and pre-shaped sleeves
  • Stratum Storage; 2 large pockets and 1 Napoleon pocket, laser cut and laminated with YKK® moulded AquaGuard® zips
  • 2-way YKK® moulded AquaGuard® centre front zip
  • 2-way YKK® WR underarm pit zips with laminated and bonded entry
  • Adjustable laminated cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords
  • Laminated and laser cut inner pocket with YKK® zip

The new GoreTex Pro technology:

In 2020, Gore reinvented GORE-TEX PRO fabric technology and launched new types of waterproof-breathable fabrics in its GORE-TEX PRO product technology, each optimised for different types of performance.

The most rugged and durable product technology will come with a range of technology evolutions that can be combined into one garment to create gear that perfectly matches the needs of specific end uses.

  • Durably waterproof: This product reliably protects you with the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise, keeping you dry even in a torrential downpour or harsh snow conditions.
  • Extremely breathable: The highest level of breathability leads to less sweat accumulation, so you’ll overheat less during intense activity, and stay warmer when you stop to rest.
  • Totally windproof: Stops all wind, so you stay warmer for longer even when exposed to cold gales or icy storms.
  • Very rugged: GORE-TEX PRO products ensure the most durable, long-lasting protection —even in the most extreme conditions.
  • Stretch (only in styles using GORE-TEX PRO stretch): Stretch integrated into your garment offers more freedom of movement, making it easier to reach new limits — with no compromise on protection.

As part of ambitious sustainability objectives, the new GORE-TEX PRO products also come with recycled and solution-dyed textiles that reduce water usage and CO2 emissions, creating a lower environmental footprint.

The next level of GORE-TEX PRO products will be introduced with a range of evolutions:

  • new GORE-TEX PRO most rugged technology: more rugged and solution dyed backer
  • new GORE-TEX PRO stretch technology: rugged stretch
  • GORE-TEX PRO most breathable technology: lighter (with 30Denier face textile) and solution dyed backer

The new GORE-TEX PRO most rugged technology goes one level further on the ruggedness aspect, increasing strength and scratching resistance.  The new GORE-TEX PRO stretch technology now offers stretch material in combination with the ruggedness expected from a GORE-TEX PRO product for the first time ever. GORE-TEX PRO most breathable technology can be even lighter than before when using a 30Denier face textile material. Strong improvement on the sustainability aspect: both GORE-TEX PRO most rugged and GORE-TEX PRO most breathable technology utilize a solution dyed version of that patented Micro Grid backer. And last but not least all 3 GORE-TEX PRO technologies can be combined into one garment to create gear that perfectly matches the needs of specific end uses.

Mountain Equipment Lhotse on test:

 The Mountain Equipment Lhotse is a true classic mountaineering jacket that's seen numerous tweaks and adjustments over the years. It gets the essentials right and it's one of those items of kit that inspires confidence. 

The first thing you notice with the Lhotse is the weight, at 530g it feels light for such a highly specified jacket, and then you feel the texture and movement of the fabric. It has that classic "shell" feel and a bit of the familair rustle when moving. At this point it looks and feels very much like any other jacket on the rail. The transformation begins when you put it on.

What makes the Lhotse so special is not some unique feature but the way that everything you need is exactly where you need it, how you want it and it feels like a 3 layer mountain jacket should.  The two handwarmer pockets are set slightly higher and further forward than many jackets, making them truly harness compatible. 

Lhotse pockets

The attention to detail on the Lhotse is astounding, with particular attention given to the possible places the weather can get inside. The cuffs are laminated with laser-cut fastening tabs that seem to have a stiffer and stronger velcro strip than most while the hem has perfectly positioned drawcords.

lhotse cuffs

Lhotse hem

Mountain Equipment has been famous for their hood design for years so it's no surprise that the Lhotse's hood has had special attention. The face panel is seamless, minimising those annoying streams of water in the rain, and uses the familiar semi-stiff wire peak thatt gives enough rigidity in the wind while also being flexible enough to manipulate into the perfect position - with or without a helmet. With Cohaesive cordlocks the hood can be quickly and easily adjusted on the move.

Lhotse hood 1

Lhotse hood 2

Lhotse hood 3

The latest version of the Lhotse promises to be the most breathable version to date and pit zips must pay a big part in that claim. The two way zips are, like the pockets, perfectly positioned and, for me, the perfect length. I'm not 100% sure whether it's the zip lengths, the zipper lengths or the cut of the jacket but the zippers are in exactly the right spot to be accessible without reaching for them. Hold your arm horizontally across your chest and your hands line up perfectly with the zip ends. As with the other zips on the Lhotse the zipper lengths make it easy to operate wearing gloves.

Lhotse pit zips

If you want the specs the Lhotse uses 3 layer GoreTex Pro with a 40D fabric, reinforced in the high wear points to 80D. What this means in practical terms is a hard wearing and durable shell. As with all similar membrane based jackets a DWR coating gives water resistance with the membrane in the middle providing a water repellant barrier and in terms of performance it's both limited by and benefits from this. The 3 layer GoreTex Pro gives consistent, and high level, performance but it means in pure waterproofing one GoreTex Pro shell is pretty much comparable to any other. The difference comes in the style, cut, quality of additional components (eg. zips) and the build quality.

The Lhotse somehow has a way of hanging that feels right, it's not something you can easily measure or account for, but while many shells seem to hang loose the Lhotse hits the sweet spot of not feeling as though it's flapping around but still has the room for a good mid-layer underneath. The sleeves are pre-shaped and articulated. The main zip, YKK like the others, is backed by a narrow but effective storm flap and to date seems to be unsnaggable. The end result is a jacket that's as comfortable to wear as it is weatherproof. Every millimetre of the jacket has been optimised, even the inside pocket is laser-cut for precision.

Lhotse inside pocket

You get the feeling with the Lhotse that nothing has been compromised and nothing left to chance. The hood zippers - long enough and accessible enough to use with gloves on but not long enough to whip up into your face, the pit zip length being just right, the balance of stifness and flexibility in the hood peak wire., the pockets being a couple of centimetres higher - these are the fine things that make the difference when you need them most and what sets one jacket or brand apart from the others. It's what gives you the confidence to know that staying dry is one thing less to worry about. 

There must be an awful lot of responsibility on anyone touching the design of a classic like the Lhotse, but new fabrics, new zips and new technologies come along. The 2020 version of this Mountain Equipment classic may be lighter and more breathable than previous incarnations but it still has the feel of a "Pro" jacket designed to last. It still has the feel of being a jacket you aspire to own and to justify owning.

 Transparency Notice: Please note that MyOutdoors receives free products for reviews from brands and manufacturers, but we only accept products for review on condition of total independence and no guarantee of endorsement.