Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro Jacket review in a nutshell: Arguably the most versatile jacket in Rab’s latest Latok range, this premium mountain hard shell is also surprisingly well suited to general use.
British brand Rab has long been renowned for its range of technical outdoor clothing – first making its name with innovative and pioneering baffled down jackets and sleeping bags. Even today, some Brits still refer to a classic down puffer as a ‘rab’, regardless of the actual manufacturer.
The brand's product line-up now encompasses everything from technical softshells to backpacks, including plenty of kit that – let’s be honest – is more likely to be keeping wearers warm in the frozen aisle at Morrison’s rather than on the north face of Mont Blanc. Having said that, Rab’s technical and expedition heritage is alive and well, and they still make some of the best stuff in the business. This includes waterproof jackets as well as the down gear that originally put Rab on the map.
The Latok series of shells are at the top of the tree when it comes to Rab’s range of waterproofs. There are currently three different models available: the Latok Extreme, the Latok Alpine and the Latok Mountain. All are 3-layer shells with a 100% recycled nylon face, making use of Gore’s premium fabric, ‘Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable’, though in varying different weights, ranging from 80-denier to 40-denier.
The 80D Latok Extreme is the burliest of the bunch, designed for the most extreme conditions. The 40D Latok Alpine is a lighter-weight shell focused on fast-moving climbers. That leaves the Latok Mountain, which uses zoned panels of 80D and 40D fabric to balance durability with breathability while also keeping weight down.
Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro Jacket review: Specifications
- RRP: $525 (US) / £420 (UK)
- Weight: 505g/17.8oz
- Materials used: Main fabric: 40D 3L Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable (100% recycled nylon face with ePTFE membrane and tricot knit backer), Zoned panels: 80D 3L Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable
- Sizes: Men’s XS-XL, Women’s XS-XL (UK 8-16)
Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro Jacket review: Design and features
Compared to the trimmer-fitting Latok Extreme and Latok Alpine, the Latok Mountain has a roomier, less streamlined cut. That will suit a range of body shapes, so even if you’re not a sinewy climber it should work for you. It also ensures a protective, full coverage feel, with lots of space for warm, insulating layers underneath – there’s even room for a midlayer down jacket if required.
Patterning of the arms and body are both typical of Rab, which is to say they’re very long, but also well-articulated for good mobility. The jacket extends a good way below the hips and has a drop tail to ensure plenty of protection for crotch and bum, with dual elasticated hem drawcords to prevent chills creeping up your back. Contoured cuffs extend across the back of the hands and open wide to accommodate bulky gloves, with chunky Velcro tabs to ensure a secure, weatherproof seal.
Under the arms there are laminated pit zips with two-way zippers for versatile venting. The hood is a rollaway design that can be secured with a Velcro tab. It has a stiffened brim with three-point adjustment to cinch in tightly around the head. It isn’t designed to go over a climbing helmet, but conversely that means it fits well over a bare head or beanie, offering good protection whilst also moving fairly well if you turn your head from side to side. A high collar shields the lower half of the face. The twin hood adjusters around the face are a low-profile design embedded into the fabric of the jacket, leaving no bulky toggles on view. It’s just a slight shame that the elastic drawcords dangle down outside the jacket, where they can occasionally get caught in pack straps.
The main zip is a chunky YKK Vislon component with two-way zippers, a bottom press stud and a microfleece lined chin guard. It’s also fitted with an internal storm flap. Inside the jacket there’s a side-entry zipped security pocket, though sadly no dump pockets for stashing gloves or a flask. You do get two deep zipped external hand pockets though, plus a roomy left-hand chest pocket, with a plastic lanyard clip to attach a compass, smartphone or GPS unit. Hand pockets are placed high enough to sit well clear of a rucksack hip-belt.
Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro Jacket review: Performance and comfort
In terms of construction, the jacket uses zoned panels of 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable fabric in two different weights. The main body is 40D, with thicker 80D panels for the hood, arms and shoulders. Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable has a slightly different backer to Gore-Tex Pro Most Rugged, which is designed to optimise the movement of moisture vapour over outright durability. But that 80D face fabric is still very robust, so we’d expect this to be a tough and long-lasting jacket.
One thing to note is that unlike some of the latest Gore-Tex Pro shells on the market, the Latok jackets don’t make use of Gore-Tex Pro Stretch. It does mean that they feel a bit stiffer and more rigid than some rivals, with the swish and rustle that is a characteristic of most Gore-Tex fabrics. It’s not really an issue in terms of freedom of movement, as Rab’s designers have done such a good job with patterning and articulation, but it does mean that in use, this jacket comes with an accompanying soundtrack of crisp-packet crinkles and crackles.
The Latok Mountain is the middleweight of the Latok series – lighter than the Latok Extreme but a little heavier than the Latok Alpine. At just over 500g in a men’s medium, it’s about par for the course – in fact, it’s almost exactly the same weight as a shell that is an established hillwalkers’ favourite, the Mountain Equipment Lhotse (which uses exactly the same fabrics and has a similar design, cut and pocket configuration).
On test, it held up well throughout a Snowdonia winter, fending off wind, rain, snow and sleet in equal measure. Even after a couple of months’ regular use, it showed no signs of wear. And despite being up to the task of cold weather hillwalking, this is a jacket that is still a viable option for year-round use. It’s reasonably light and packable, which means you won’t resent carrying it in a pack on milder hill days – unlike heavier and burlier rivals.
Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro Jacket review: Verdict
If you’re a committed year-round hillwalker, you’ll probably love this jacket. It’s reliably waterproof and windproof, with a protective feel that will give you the confidence to venture out in even the foulest conditions. But thanks to that clever use of zoned fabrics, it’s also lighter, more packable and more breathable than some of the other burly winter-grade shells out there. This makes it a more viable option for use in milder conditions too when your shell might spend a fair amount of time in your pack.
It also has plenty of technical features and an accommodating fit that should suit broad and tall frames – though if you’re on the shorter side, you might find it’s a bit long in the arms and body. One caveat for climbers: the non-helmet compatible hood means this might be a non-starter. If that’s the case, look at the Rab Latok Alpine or Latok Extreme instead, both of which are better suited to vertical terrain.
Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro Jacket review: Also consider
As mentioned already, the Rab Latok Mountain’s main and most obvious rival is the Mountain Equipment Lhotse. If you’re in the market for an all-season hillwalking shell, you should be considering both. It’s worth looking at Montane’s Phase XPD too, which also uses that favoured combination of 40D and 80D Gore-Tex Pro fabrics. In fact, there’s very little to pick between this trio, though the Rab just undercuts the others in terms of price. That might just give it the edge, though ultimately, it should come down to fit. If you can, try them all on and pick the one that feels most comfortable.
Alternatively, you can save a fair bit of cash if you don’t need the top-of-the-range waterproofing and breathability of Gore-Tex Pro. After all, standard 3-layer Gore-Tex works almost as well in most conditions, and the latest generation of Paclite Plus isn’t far off, either. And if you’re prepared to consider other waterproof membrane technologies, including own-brand or ‘in-house’ membranes, the choice becomes almost endless.
That doesn’t mean you don’t get the cachet of the Rab brand, either. Down the grades, there are cheaper, lighter and more packable Rab shells that use PU-based Pertex Shield (e.g. the Firewall and Arc Eco), or if you want a super stretchy, flexible shell with great breathability, perhaps look at the Rab Kinetic or Kinetic Alpine.