Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Not another Rab jacket review ! I know I know I can't stop getting them but as I've said before, each jacket serves a very specific purpose so here we go again.
So what was I really looking for ? I needed a hardshell jacket which was 100% waterproof & breathable exclusively to keep me dry, simple right ?
Well, here's the problem with that, there's waterproof and there's 100% waterproof and the difference in between those two descriptions is vast to say the least.
To give you an idea any garment can be described as waterproof if it passes a level of 1500 mm on the hydrostatic head test, This essentially means it will withstand a 15 cm column of water of roughly an inch square for an allocated period of time without letting any water in.
Sounds pretty impressive right ? well let me tell you a Gore-Tex PRO membrane has a hydrostatic head rating of over 28,000 mm so you can see there's a pretty big difference.
The more waterproof an item is generally the less well it breathes, and thats the big issue.
Gore-tex PRO solves that.
I also wanted to have a three layer jacket which was laminated together to make it more comfortable to wear and better performing than the traditional 2 layer jackets with a drop liner and mesh backing.
How waterproof is Gore-Tex Pro ?
I've tried all manor of "Waterproof" products over the years ranging from hydrostatic head ratings from 10,000 to 20,000 and while they were very good, I couldn't say they were 100% waterproof and would keep me dry in every situation no matter what.
Gore-tex will, its that simple.
I have hiked in some of the worst conditions imaginable, with heavy back packs cutting into my jackets during 50 mph winds with torrential rain coming in sideways, biblical conditions in fact and Gore-tex has never failed me, I trust it like nothing else.
And so do Gore, they give you a "Guaranteed to keep you dry" promise on the life of the garment and in the rare instance a Gore-Tex product leaks, They will replace it without hesitation, now a company who is willing to stand behind its products like that gets my vote and fills me with confidence.
For my hardshell jackets & trousers and boots in fact its the only thing I will use, thats how highly I rate it.
What is Gore-tex ?
There's a long technical explanation or a fairly short simple one, so we will start with that.
Gore-tex isn't the outside material as its often mistaken for, its a white membrane that lives inside the jacket and is in either in a drop liner format or the better option in my opinion, actually bonded to the inside of the garment.
This membrane is full of micro perforations that are incredibly tiny and not visible to the human eye but they do something very clever, they stop water from coming through it but allows vapour to pass through, vapour in this instance is perspiration.
So in short it keeps the rain out but allows your perspiration to pass through the jacket making it breathable.
Something we all need in order to maintain a level of comfort and performance.
Now Gore makes many products, some like the Infinium range which is windproof but not waterproof, so I will only focus on the original Gore-Tex & Gore-tex PRO which are the waterproof membranes.
Which is better ? Gore-Tex or Gore-Tex Pro ?
There is a lot of similarities between these two membranes, but they're not the same
They are both 100% waterproof (both 28,000 mm hydrostatic head rating), breathable and windproof but they do this in a different way and to different levels.
Standard Gore-Tex is a Polyurethane membrane that can come in 2 layer or 3 layer options, Gore-Tex PRO is only ever available in 3 layer options and uses a micro-grid backer which is lighter and has better breathability as well as a tougher outer face fabric.
Gore-tex is cheaper and suited to a wider range of activities, but Gore-Tex PRO is better for activities that require more durability and a tougher outer shell.
Gore-Tex will be more than enough for 90% of people for most activities, Gore-Tex PRO is for the 10% who demand the toughest and most technical material available and it really suits fast paced activities where breathability is tested to the limit but it is more expensive than standard Gore-Tex.
So is it better ? yes & no, it just depends on your needs from the garment.
Why The Rab Latok Mountain GTX PRO Jacket ?
So the jacket I decided on was the Rab Latok Mountain Gore-Tex Pro, this was down to a large number of factors and here's my criteria.
• Wanted it to be Rab simply because I trust the brand and brand ethics
• Had to be Gore-Tex for the waterproof, breathability & windproof qualities
• Had to have pit zips for easy heat dumping
• Had to have a napoleon pocket (for using my microphone)
• Had to be a 3 layer construction
• Had to have a hood
• Had to be light, foldable and be able to carry in a rucksack
• Had to be easy to move in
• Had to be durable due to the rocky scrambles i'm always doing
• A true 4 season jacket I could use all year round subject to layers
Now there's several jackets in the Rab Latok GTX Pro range, the Mountain, The Extreme & The Alpine, these vary in price by around £60 and essentially are the same but have different weight outer materials used and some have additional pockets etc...
The Alpine being a 40D material while the Extreme was 80D, where the mountain really scored was it was a mixture of both materials, 40D for the body of the jacket and with 80D in the areas that really need it, shoulders, arms etc to handle heavy rucksack wear and scrambling on rough craggy mountains, to me it seemed like the best of both worlds and was actually the cheaper of the three which at £420.00 RRP can't be classed as cheap, quite the opposite in fact.
The face fabric of all the Rab Latok GTX Pro range is actually recycled and thats something I am really drawn to as we all need to play our part where we can, and as stated before I like Rab's ethics and commitment to being a net zero company.
The Mountain is available in a choice of 6 colour ways, whereas the Alpine only has 3 and the Extreme only has 2.
I like a fairly neutral colour jacket so I opted for the Graphene/Black combo as I don't really like the bright colour ways as sometimes I will participate in wildlife photography so bright colours aren't really a good idea.
The Rob Latok is designed to be fully functional while wearing a backpack and the 2 chest pockets and single Napoleon pocket are easily accessible while wearing a pack with waist & chest straps without having to remove the pack.
There is an internal pocket which is suitable for a large phone etc while the outer pockets are easily large enough for a map and compass or other items you need regular access too.
Underneath the arms are two very generous length pit zips which make it a cinch for dumping heat quickly and these are fitted with haptic pullers to make it easily identifiable which ones go which way without looking, a simple but effective feature.
The main zip is a two way YKK VISLON zip which has a popper fitted to the inside bottom to stop it accidentally opening or riding up and is fitted with a storm flap underneath to stop any moisture getting through, but interestingly enough no front storm flap ? But this does make the profile of the jacket look nicer to be fair.
The other zips are YKK Aquagaurd zips to keep the rain out but no storm flaps but the jacket is fully seemed taped with Gore-Tex PRO tape throughout to make sure absolutely nothing gets through any area where fabric meets.
The hoods on Rab jackets can often be huge, I mean they're designed to be compatible with a helmet so they have to be but even so they really do seem over sized but im delighted to say this one is absolutely fantastic and can be adjusted with a single puller on the back and even further with the two front side pullers.
This now perfectly fits on the crown with plenty of flexibility to turn your head without ever being bulky, a really good hood !
There is a stiffened wire peak on the hood too which could have possibly been a bit bigger but does the job.
The chin is fitted with a nice soft fleece fabric to avoid rubbing around the chin or mouth and again it works very well.
What really impressed me is the height the front zip will do up to and in combination with the hood pullers you can get this to to so close around the face its just your eyes visible, really great for when the rain is howling in.
The hood can be rolled away for compact fitting with a small flap and Velcro to hold it in place to stop any unwanted flapping around although I have never had to use this so far as the hood pullers keep it nicely in place but its a good feature to have if needed.
The feel of the jacket is quite nice and thin, especially across the 40D areas and it offers very good articulation and is easy enough to move around in.
The fit is a "regular" fit and a really nice cut that suits my body shape well and with a reasonable level of comfort, as good as you can get with a hardshell type jacket.
The cuffs are fitted with Velcro hook & loop adjusters which work well and are very easy and fast to adjust dependant on conditions and the cuff opens up to a really good size in case you want to use it as further ventilation on the jacket or eaten down the hatches in extreme weather with more than enough room to fit gloves underneath it if needed.
Double hem adjustment makes sealing this jacket up really easy even while wearing gloves thanks to its single pull loop system on both sides of the jacket, super fast and efficient one handed operation.
at 505g its not the lightest Gore-Tex jacket out there but equally its not heavy or cumbersome and feels nice when on.
This jacket packs down pretty well, again not the smallest but its simply not the same jacket as really small packers.
This is a rugged hardshell offering maximum protection and durability and when you look at it like that then the pack down size is very reasonable.
But equally I find this jacket is comfortable enough to be on all day and control the temperature with the pit zips & front zip if needed.
How Did It Perform ?
The Rab Latok Mountain jacket has been given a brutal testing over the past few weeks in all sorts of conditions, the one exception is low temperatures.
I haven't had anything below about 5 degrees and while this type of jacket isn't designed to keep you warm, more to be part of a layering system it has kept me comfortable while wearing it either as a stand alone jacket with a base layer top or with the Rab Superflux hoody.
How Waterproof is the Rab Latok Mountain GTX PRO ?
First up the primary use, how waterproof was it ? well I have to say it didn't skip a beat here, I have been out in some absolutely horrific weather recently with torrential rain for hours on end and crazy high winds and not a drop of water has got past it.
The outer pockets have remained 100% waterproof too which is always a worrying area on most jackets but the Rab Latok Mountain jacket has been spot on.
Water beads up very well on the outer thanks to its DWR coating on the outer layer and if it does get any further it is blocked by the Gore-Tex Pro membrane which so far seems faultless, all in all its been perfect.
How breathable is the Rab Latok Mountain GTX PRO ?
Next is the stumbling block for most waterproof jackets, was it breathable ?
The Rab Latok Mountain GTX Pro has a breathability rating of <6 so it puts it at a very good level.
I have to say again I found it very good, I never felt any build up of moisture even with long uphill slogs and I do perspire with these but the transfer time is quick and as long as you're wearing a base layer with good wicking properties then the jacket handles it with ease.
I haven't tested it above temperatures of 20 degrees, and in very humid conditions so far but it's handled that nicely so I don't foresee any problems, again top marks.
How Windproof is the Rab Latok Mountain GTX PRO ?
The next area was how windproof was it ?
I might sound like a broken record again here but it handled it perfectly and there was never any point I really felt the wind even up to 50 mph, the jacket just forms a protective shell round you that feels like weather just can't penetrate it.
I have had a fairly decent scramble in this jacket over craggy rocks and a few slips which tested the fabric but so far its been great, no rips or damage even with the owner being quite clumsy over rocks.
I tend to brush past a lot of bushes too when out looking for new locations and these have caused no problems either so the durability is very good.
The feel of the jacket is pretty nice to be fair, its no soft-shell but for a hard shell jacket I was quite impressed by the feel of it and how supple it was but that familiar crinkle when you walk is still present all be it in a slightly more muffled tone than a lot of other Gore-Tex jackets that I have tried.
Is the Rab Latok Mountain jacket for you ?
Now only you can really answer this, but I will pose you a few scenarios with it.
If you are looking for a waterproof jacket for standard walking days out that keeps you dry and performs well and packs small and you don't need the durability of Gore-Tex Pro then you are probably better off with the Rab Zenith Gore-tex and save yourself a bunch of cash
If like me you insist on a three layer construction but again don't need the durability of Gore-Tex Pro then the Rab Zanskar will do what you need for a cheaper price.
If however you insist on a jacket that will absolutely laugh in the face of any weather, will perform at the absolute peak level and handle any amount of scrambling and of course you can afford it, then the Rab Latok Mountain Gore-Tex Pro jacket is absolutely for you.
This jacket is a no compromise jacket, you get the best possible balance of performance and durability and if thats what you're looking for then I think you will be hard pushed to find a more suitable jacket.
While the initial price outlay is quite high I think this jacket will last me for a lot of years, and when you divide the cost up over say 5-10 years then its actually pretty reasonable for the level of protection you get and the backup of not only Tabs warranty but the Gore-Tex warranty too.
Make no mistake, The Rab Latok Mountain Jacket is the very top end of performance and features and that costs, but the best always does.
Just make sure it's not overkill for your intended use.
Would I change anything ?
The Rab Latok Mountain jacket has just one Napoleon pocket, but the Alpine & Extreme have two, Personally I feel like the mountain should have two as well and feel its a little cheap to take away a pocket for a simple £20 difference, considering the Alpine has it but its a full 40D jacket so doesn't have the extra durability in the areas I need it.
I would also like to see the addition of forearm zips on future jackets to aid with heat dumping as well as pit zips, its not essential but would be nice.
Other than that the jacket is pretty much perfect and these are very small gripes.
Total 44/50 88%
The Rab Latok Mountain Gore-Tex Pro has been great in every criteria for me and its a really solid jacket, the only area I found to be a little bit of a stumbling block is the price, it is pretty steep at an RRP of £420.00 but with a little bit of searching around I was able to find it for £336.00 which I was actually very comfortable with for what I actually got.
With Black Friday & Cyber Monday coming top too I'm sure there will be some decent deals available.
This is without doubt the best waterproof hardshell I have owned to date and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone but would ask one simple question, do you need this jackets level of durability and performance ? Or would a cheaper option suit you better ?
This jacket was paid for by my own cash and I am in no way affiliated with Rab or any other business. Honest and unbiased review.
Video Overview of the Rab Latok Mountain Gore-Tex Pro
You may be interested in the following reviews for other Rab jackets