GCR tests the Sherpa Kailash Hooded jacket for that perfect springtime insulation layer.
I’ve been quietly shouting about Sherpa Adventure Gear for some time in my reviews now. Not that I always give them top marks mind, there are always small improvements they can make to their clothing and my reviews reflect this. On the whole, however, the brand is making its presence felt and the clothing is well made, fit for purpose and stylish. What you are doing when you buy an item of clothing is supporting a small community in one of the poorest countreis in the region by giving them a job, purpose and a long term future. Let’s just hope they don’t sell out to a multi-national conglomerate and keep the faith. OK, they also make some items in Sarkar Blue (my surname is Sarkar) so happy days!
The Sherpa Kailash (named after the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet) is a hooded synthetic insulated jacket that has proved a great 3 season jacket: it is packet with plenty of little features, looks great on and off the mountain and is actually quite warm on those cold, windy summits.
The filling is the magical 80gsm of Primaloft Gold which is contained by wide baffles on the body and hood. I had no problems with the filling dropping or clumping up throughout the test period and it has remained in place and evenly distributed. The outer is stretch ripstop nylon that did a great job of keeping the wind out. There is a light DWR coating and this did a reasonable job of shedding a very light shower, but it didn’t last long and the jacket soon became damp. This, however, is the beauty of Primaloft and the reason why I have started using it more (especially in the very damp UK climate). The jacket did get damp but it still stayed warm when down would have just wetted out and become useless.
Primaloft Gold is also very light, the Sherpa Kailash weighed in at just 471g (official weight 475g) which is great for such a versatile jacket. The right hand pocket doubles up as a stuff sack for transportation but I usually just stuffed it in any space I could find in the pack. That’s not to say the stuff sack isn’t important as I will often pack a jacket in its stuff sack for longer distance travel – say a flight for example.
Other little features that help keep you warm are the lovely microfleece pockets and the micro fleece chin guard. Talking of the chin guard: have you ever found that when you have the zip open to just below your chin the guard always seems to get in the way of your mouth? No worries with the Sherpa Kailash, there are two well placed pieces of elastic situated inside the chin guard where you can just tuck the corners in and then you have plenty of space to ventilate your face if you need to. When the hood is done up however the chin guard works well and kept my face nice and warm.
The hood is helmet compatible and is adjusted using a one hand adjuster cord that is at the back of the hood, there are no other adjuster cords which makes everything nice and simple. It’s a nice hood with the only issue being the peak isn’t wired or stiffened in any way. Some sort of stiffening is useful when you want to hunker down on those miserable, windy days.
When the weather turns though you can easily zip up the hood using the two way YKK Vislon zip that worked fine every time. It was easy to do up even with gloves on and the prayer flag zip tag is always a nice touch. The pocket zips worked fine too and the pockets had a small storm guard at the front which helpled keep hands warmer although it did affect access to the pockets with a harness on. There are 4 pockets: 2 hand warmer and better, two chest pockets and no inside ones. I have found these very useful for putting phones, cameras, glasses in, etc.
The fit is what I would call standard, not athletic but overly generous. I have been using it as my general outdoor jacket all spring and it goes over everything I have been wearing: fleece and baselayer, t-shirt and softshell, as well as a hardshell if I’ve been wearing one. So not quite a full on hardcore belay jacket, but plenty good enough to use as a lightweight belay jacket for those windy rock climbing belays or when you stop for lunch on a trek. I have really got on with the fit of the Sherpa Kailash and I think Sherpa have got it right.
The sleeves have just a simple, elasticated hem that worked well with or without gloves and I found the Kailash easy to put on and get off without having the sleeves turn inside out (always 5 minutes of cussing). So full marks for simple and effective sleeves. The hem on the main body has two elasticated cinches which means you can adjust the hem equally if needed.
The styling of the Kailash is very good, my style guru is my lovely wife who immediately stated ‘that’s the best jacket you’ve worn for ages’ – praise indeed. And it has proved its worth as it’s the jacket I seem to wear socially, to the climbing wall and for staff training events. It has the trademark payer flag zip tags and hanging loop, the endless knot at the back and an embroidered Sherpa logo and the inside was a nice lime green as well as some bartack stitching on the pockets- all adding to the style.
So the Sherpa Kailash Hooded Jacket is indeed a great three season insulated jacket. It’s perfect for those windy sport climbing sessions, that summer high level glacier crossing or even wearing for ice climbing. The beauty of Primaloft is it stays lofted when damp, you can wash it easily when on a long expedition and it’s more robust than a down jacket- what’s not to like!
The Sherpa Kailash comes in sizes S – XXL for men. There is also a women’s version that comes in sizes XS – XL for women. There is a nice colour range for both men and women.
- Primaloft is robust and easy to maintain.
- The loft is good and the jacket is warm.
- 2 chest pockets are great.
- Helmet compatible hood.
- Handwarmer pockets not easily accessible with harness on.
- Hood could do with a stiffener.
Available from Sherpa UK and various retailers.
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!