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Meet The Jacked Insulated With Tree Fruit, The La Sportiva Kopak Hoody

Insulated with kapok and with a recycled nylon shell, this jacket gets the thumbs up for being earth friendly—and versatile.

Review Rating


Basics

Lightweight jacket with thin thin layer of natural kapok fiber for insulation and a recycled nylon outer. For active conditions such as the approach and while climbing.


Weight

18 ounces

Price

$199

Brand

La Sportiva


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The Baron Fork of the Illinois River cuts a path from western Arkansas into eastern Oklahoma, and into this frigid and turgid water my Grammymom threw me. I was seven, couldn’t swim, and thought for a flash that my life was over.

Thanks to kapok—the fiber from the fruit of the ceiba tree—I’m still here. Kapok isn’t a superhero; rather it’s a superfiber of sorts: It’s natural, insulates, and is hydrophobic. And, for nearly a century kapok was the fill of choice for life jackets such as the one Grammymom had me strapped into.

I’d forgotten about that day on the Baron Fork until last December when I checked out La Sportiva’s Kopak Hoody, a new midweight jacket insulated with kapok fibers. Kapok looks and feels much like cotton balls and is an alternative to down that’s beginning to see a resurgence because it doesn’t require putting geese to the axe—the ceiba fruit falls to the ground, is harvested and worked up into insulation. While kapok doesn’t offer the unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio of down, it is suitable for wet conditions—if they can put it in lifejackets …. Recycled nylon adds to the Kopak Hoody’s “greenness,” and the full package is Bluesign approved, certifying that the garment is safe for the environment, the workers who built it, and end users such as us climbers.

I wore the Kopak through a cold and damp Southeast winter, and can literally give it a green-thumbs up. Lightly insulated, the Kopak isn’t a belay jacket, but is for active use on the approach and while climbing. The jacket, which about the weight of a heavy sweatshirt, kept me warm down into the 30s and did an admirable job of shedding wind, mist and sprinkles.  A built-in stretch hood lets you leave the cap at home, and fits over a helmet. The cut is trim, anatomical, and has enough stretch to let you reach high unencumbered. Is there something more you could ask of a climbing jacket?

  • Insulated with natural kapok
  • 18 ounces [men’s size medium?]
  • Recycled fabric
  • Bluesign approved
  • Midweight active climbing jacket
  • Hood fits over helmet

 

$199, sportiva.com