I'm a sailor, winter alpine climber, tele-skier, ice climber etc.. After spending nearly $600.00 on a Henri LLoyd jacket for an offshore trip I was sure glad I had my mountain climbing shell with me!
I had a Patagonia Gore-Tex mountaineering jacket with me that I paid $229.00 for that blew away my $600.00 Henri Lloyd.
Climbing jackets are designed to move freely. Your arms can move easily and the hood is articulated as well as the arms. They also tend to have better venting and are lighter in weight.
Wearing my Henri Lloyd was like wearing a firemans suit. Totally uncomfortable! It also did not breath worth a darn, and the fleece lined collar just collected salt spray and irritated my neck. The collar was so stiff it chaffed my ears until they bled. This was the point where I actually dug our my Patagonia. Granted it was a windy and wet trip but this is what the Lloyd stuff is supposed to be designed for. The hood on my Lloyd was designed like it was an afterthought. "Oh crap we forgot to put a hood on this jacket quick send a drawing to the guys in China before they go into production..." ????!!!
Since that experience I truly feel bad for people wearing "marine foulies". The design of the high altitude gear sold at Patagonia, The North Face, EMS, REI, Backcountry.com etc. etc. is meant to withstand winds of 80+mph snow, ice and freezing rain while remaining easy to move in and waterproof + breathable. Buy yourself a nice 3 layer Gore-tex shell from North Face, Patagonia, EMS, Mountain Hardwear, Arc'teryx, Cloudveil, Marmot or one of the other quality names and you'll be fine, most likely pay less and be far more comfortable and able to move.
The one thing you will miss on many alpine jackets is a waterproof drip cuff but honestly it's never been an issue for me. The key is fit, fit, fit! make sure you can fit your chin in the collar when the jacket is zipped all the way up and it's not strangling you. make sure you get a hood with good "cinching" and that seals well around your face. If it's real nasty weather a pair of ski goggles is a very nice supplement to your foul weather gear..
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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