Observations on the Rohan Pinnacle Jacket.
I’ve been looking with interest at the new Pinnacle jacket. Looks good, but there’s a few things I’d want changing before I shelled out that amount of money.
The tag-line about nothing you don’t need is one I like, but I really wonder who really needs a link-up zip for under-layers when they’re doing serious mountaineering? If I link in an insulation jacket to a shell I get a few extra things: more time faffing with zips (especially if I want to change layering), more weight, more bulk, more cost, more heat lost through the gap at the front in the insulator and more prospect of my shell dragging up my under-layers underneath me. What I can’t see is anything particularly positive! I think there’s a good reason why most brands leave them out of their serious mountain jackets, and I’d like to have seen the Pinnacle follow the others on that point.
I think it’s truly a progressive step to use a proper waterproof zip onthe main zip, as we all know what “water resistant” really means. But I’d like to know why it’s worth putting one on the main zip while leaving two long and potentially leaking vents with the lower specification zips to the sides. Pit zips are bad for all the reasons Tim gives in the video presentation, but one thing about pit zips is they are sheltered much better from the rain than the sort of core vents on the Pinnacle, so while a resistant zip would be fine in a pit, if you’re bringing the vent into a more exposed location then shouldn’t it have more protection from the elements too?
Fleece around the ears etc.? Nice touch, but if I’m going mountaineering I’ll have a hat on (especially as a slap-head!), so I’m carrying extra weight and bulk for no reason, and paying more too. That’s the sort of thing that’s easy to add in under-layers (a Buff or two) but if you build it into the coat you’re stuck with it the whole time, so I’m not keen (at least for something I’ll be pushing to limits).
Next niggle is the arm pocket. I’ve never found a use for these that I didn’t contrive just because it’s there. Putting anything in them of substance means you can’t roll the sleeves up sensibly, you can only ever get at them with one hand and I’ve never found them easier to get at even with the “right” hand as easy as accessing a chest pocket. And again we add bulk, weight and cost.
880 grammes these days is pretty heavy. You can get genuinely tough mountain jackets with more minimal features at quite a bit lower these days, and I’d happily lose the arm pocket, extra zip and hood-chrome to get the weight down. I also find that there are always times when a shell belongs in my pack, and lower weight will usually correlate with smaller pack size too.
So v1.0 won’t find a buyer here, but a more stripped-down version might.
Especially if I can get a red one…
A Reply from Tim Jasper Rohan Design Director
Many thanks for such a thoughtful review. Let’s look at your points in turn.
1. Link zip. We thought long and hard about this and we consulted in the outdoor industry too. The general consensus is that the positives are there. If you’d tried a Pinnacle with an Inner Flame zipped in you might even be a convert too! It’s great when you’re wearing the coat in truly cold conditions, great for evenings around camp, it makes it the perfect ski jacket too. Convertees like it because once the garments are linked together there is actually less faffing: you have one, integrated, warm and waterproof coat. I realise this may not be to all tastes though. The weight issue is a bigger one and I’ll cover that lower down, but the weight penalty of this zip is a few grams – less than a bit of mud on your boot…
2. Venting and waterproof zips – or otherwise. The water-resistant zips on the side vents are protected by stiffened storm flaps. This keeps even wind driven water out. And although the waterproof zips on the front and hand pockets are much better, the water resistant ones we spec are pretty good anyway. We’ve had no leakage on any wear tests so far.
3. Point taken about the fleece ear warmers. In truth you’re not paying a significant sum for these. The weight issue is fair but again is minimal. I was wearing my Pinnacle for a low level walk yesterday and it didn’t stop raining for several hours. I wasn’t wearing a hat – it would have been too hot – so was quite happy to have the comfort the fleece provided. When we designed the Pinnacle we had in mind also this kind of general wear, because if you have shelled out for such an expensive jacket chances are you’ll be wearing it for more modest uses too.
4. Arm pocket. I love this arm pocket! It’s specifically for stowing a compass in easily when doing tight navigation in bad conditions. I usually stuff the compass up my sleeve (rather than having it flying around on its lanyard) so this to me is a marked improvement – but then that’s a personal preference. Good place for a ski pass and maybe small items like lipsalve?? Again, if it’s all about shaving off the grams then we’d leave it out.
5. Weight. All your points are very reasonable when considering the weight issue. The main reason the jacket is this weight though isn’t really the small details but the specified weight of the main fabric. We are acutely conscious of weight saving – where appropriate – but the thing with the Pinnacle is this: it is clearly not designed as a stripped back, super light garment, it is designed as a rugged and reliable jacket for serious, continual use. We developed our fabric at this weight in order to guarantee a good long life, even when used for professional use. I’ve plenty of lighter weight jackets both personally and out on test that haven’t really lasted that long. It’s all horses for courses really. If you want lighter coats then clearly there are plenty out there. What the Pinnacle is is a good, very high spec, workhorse for mountain use. Great as a wear-all-day jacket, but not the lightest. Anyway, thanks again. This is a great review and your points are very fair.
You might be interested to hear that we are working on some very light indeed mountain gear, but again with great durability. These should launch in the late spring. Dammit, not coming in red though!
All the best, Tim Jasper.
Rohan Design Director