Dan in the La Sportiva Shamal Jacket

The La Sportiva Shamal Jacket, worn by Dan, on a waterline.

The La Sportiva Shamal Jacket (which is superseded by the very similar La Sportiva Chill Jacket) is a lightweight, multipurpose fleece that I have used almost every day for the past year and a half.

The Shamal/Chill's 'grid' fleece is extraordinarily breathable, wicking and fast drying; with only a little sacrifice on overall warmth and wind protection. This style of 'grid' fleece is a fabric that a number of companies are trending toward using in their lighter fleece designs. Garments made from this fabric are more expensive to manufacture, so expect to pay an extra $30–50 dollars more than a comparable fleece that isn’t made from this fabric. The material on the Shamal has Polygiene® that claims to control odour – perhaps it has made a difference to my stench, but I feel that the Icebreaker layers I wear underneath do more to prevent that than the fleece.

The La Sportiva Shamal.

I have used my jacket while climbing, cycling and slacklining. I would also use it as a baselayer if I did not already have some 260-weight Icebreaker thermals. The bright colours are a polarising topic, but I am personally a sucker for asymmetry and contrasting colours on sleeves. Perhaps the best thing about this garment is how versatile it is when used in layering, and how stretchy and free it feels while wearing it. It is perfect for extra warmth riding my bike at temperatres around 10–20 degrees celsius. I can use it over my thermals, or under my heavyweight Icebreaker mid-layer and rain jacket, while feeling like my skin can breathe, and without the whole setup feeling excessively bulky.

The La Sportiva Shamal/Chill Jacket is a full-zip fleece that has one zipped chest pocket on the left. It is big enough for a phone, but putting one in makes the whole garment feel lop-sided, because the weight pulls at the stretchy, lightweight fabric. You're better off using this pocket for cash, cards, keys (just a couple), Clif Bars or rubbish that you may find along the trail. The cuffs are elasticised with no Velcro and seems high in elastane content – an aspect that I like. Like all products with elastane, heavy use will result in the garment sagging over time, as mine has. I would have loved to see a tiny pocket or integrated design that allows the fleece to fold into itself. The chest pocket would have done this perfectly if the pocket was a little larger.

This fleece comes without a hood, which was a big factor behind why I chose this one over the likes of the Mont Grid Pro Hoody. They are both very similar in weight, design, build quality and fit. If you would prefer something with a hood, then the Mont Grid Pro Hoody is for you. If you are after something slightly warmer that can be used more as a standalone garment, then check out the Outdoor Research Vigor, which has a little extra weight that you would benefit from. For reference, I am 180cm tall, weigh 83kg and I wear a US size medium, which comes in at just over 300g.

Dan Sinanian,
Bogong Equipment

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