Color: Kharani / Tika
Stated Weight: 400 g (14.1 oz)
- Attached hood
- Cinchable hem and hood
- Internal mesh pockets
- Chest pocket with exit port for headphones
- Shell fabric: 100% recycled polyester double ripstop with DWR
- Insulation: PrimaLoft ® Silver (60% 750 fill-power goose down / 40% PrimaLoft ® fibers
- Lining: 100% nylon plain weave
Reviewer: 5’6”, 125 lbs, typically wears a Size small
Days Tested: 25
Test Location: all around Nepal
I first heard about Sherpa Adventure Gear, or more simply, “Sherpa”, when I lived in Nepal as a student back in 2012. While their gear looked promising and I loved the thought of supporting a Nepal-based outdoor company, I was a frugal college student and had to hold off on investing in their products at the time.
Fast forward four years: I am currently living and working in Nepal, and I continue to hear more about Sherpa. Several friends from the States also living in Nepal raved to me about their apparel, and a few of my Nepali co-workers wear Sherpa sweaters and fleeces to the office almost daily.
It’s easy to get behind a company that is dedicated to making high-quality gear, while also supporting Nepalis by providing steady employment in good working conditions (many pieces are made in Nepal) and supporting Nepali students through scholarships. But ultimately, I was really curious to see how their gear performed.
Sherpa’s Nangpala Hooded Jacket seemed like the perfect layer to help me survive Kathmandu’s winter months; while the winter here is not insanely cold, there is really no escape given a lack of indoor heating or insulation. Sherpa describes the Nangpala as a jacket that is warm across a range of conditions, and considering I would need a jacket to adventure in, work in, and sleep it, I was looking forward to seeing whether it would in fact be warm enough.
Fit / Sizing
I almost always wear a Small for insulated layers, though occasionally need a Medium when jackets run on the tighter side – Mountain Hardware’s StretchDown Hooded jacket, for example (review forthcoming). I’m also a little picky about a jacket’s fit; many are too short, or the sleeves don’t fit quite right. So I was surprised and quite excited when the size-small Nangpala had a near perfect fit. In fact, it has my favorite fit of any mid-weight puffy I have tried on.
The Nangpala runs true to size; even with a few layers underneath, I would not have sized up to a Medium. Sherpa did an excellent job with the jacket’s proportions. Given my size (5’6” and 125 lbs) there are no places that feel either too short, tight, or baggy, which is rare in my experience. The sleeves have an elastic cuff and sit comfortable at my wrist, but they also don’t ride up when I lift my arms.I’d call the jacket’s cut “regular.” It’s certainly not an alpine-style jacket, but isn’t a boxy, shapeless piece either. The cut strikes a great balance of being wide enough to accommodate layers, while having a slightly more feminine shape than the male version. The Nangpala falls about halfway down my butt and is long enough to add some protection from the cold, but not so long as to be restrictive when moving around.
The Nangpala in the Kharani/Tika color is beautiful, though it does look very different than the picture online. I’m not sure whether this is true of all of the jackets, since I have not seen all of them in person. Compared to the photo, it has more of a matte finish and is more gray; the purple doesn’t really come out until it is in the sun.
Features and Pockets
The jacket is not too feature-heavy, though it has enough that I never felt that it was lacking. There are two fleece-lined hand pockets, one large chest pocket and two mesh pockets without zippers on the inside of the jacket. The hood is tall, though not too cumbersome or bulky when not being worn.
The hood has two cinches on each side to tighten it down. The end of these cinches are a bit long and sit on the inside of the jacket along the zipper. Although the cords are mostly out of the way, occasionally I wished they were on the inside of the jacket rather than being external.
All other features on the jacket are quite beautiful. The jacket’s inner lining is a gorgeous Sherpa-inspired print, the main zipper has a prayer-flag patterned pull, and the jacket comes with a printed bag that it can pack down into.
My one gripe is that the main zipper seems to catch on the inner zipper flap pretty often. I’m not sure whether this is an issue on my jacket only, but it requires a bit more precision to zip the jacket up smoothly.
Construction, Materials, and Durability
The Nangpala has held up great despite being put through the wringer over the last two months here in Nepal. Of the several puffy jackets I have with me, I am always the least concerned about tearing the Nangpala. The outer shell fabric feels pretty tough, though it is smooth enough that it doesn’t catch or snag on branches. It is also tough while still feeling pliable — my movement is never limited while wearing the jacket.
To date, I have no rips or tears anywhere on the Nangpala, even though I’ve worn it traveling in buses with exposed nails, have sat in wicker chairs with sharp ends (which have taken out a few other pieces I own), and hiked along narrow trails that required navigating through scraggly bushes. The Nangpala has also remained surprisingly clean. I can’t say whether this is due solely to the DWR on the outer fabric or the quality of the fabric itself, but I have gotten it muddy and covered with dirt on a few occasions and the mud and dirt is easily wiped off. Having a darker color probably helps with this, but I was quite impressed how fresh the jacket looked after spending a week in an extremely rural Nepali village.
Although a few feathers have fallen out of the jacket, I haven’t lost more feathers from the Nangpala than any other down jackets I’ve owned. And though I have unfortunately gotten the jacket damp several times (from rain and heavy dew), the down has maintained its loft and the jacket is just as warm. Sherpa claims that this is a result of their insulation – PrimaLoft® Gold 750 – that is a combination of goose down and PrimaLoft fibers. This insulation is supposed to absorb water much slower, stay warmer when wet, and dry four times faster than 100% down. While I haven’t gotten the Nangpala completely soaked (and I hope not to) to test these claims, the jacket has stayed plenty warm when damp and dried out quickly.
NEXT: Performance, Bottom Line