La Sportiva Eco-Friendly Kopak Climbing Jacket

Exam score


Lightweight jacket with a thin layer of natural kapok fiber for insulation and a recycled nylon exterior. For active conditions such as approach and climb.


18 ounces




The Sportswoman

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The Baron Fork of the Illinois River cuts a path from western Arkansas to eastern Oklahoma, and into that freezing, turgid water my grandmother threw me. I was seven years old, I couldn’t swim and I thought for a moment that my life was over.

Thanks to kapok, the fruit fiber of the ceiba tree, I’m still here. Kapok is not a superhero; it is rather a kind of superfiber: it is natural, insulates and is hydrophobic. And, for nearly a century, kapok was the stuffing of choice for life jackets like the one my grandmother tied me into.

I had forgotten that day on the Baron fork until last December when I discovered La Sportiva’s Kopak Hoody, a new midweight jacket insulated with kapok fibers. Kapok looks and feels very much like cotton balls and is an alternative to down that is starting to see a resurgence as it does not require the geese to be axed – the ceiba fruit falls to the ground, is harvested and processed into insulating. Although kapok doesn’t offer the unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio of down, it is suitable for wet conditions – if they can fit it in life jackets…. Recycled nylon adds to the “greenness” of the Kopak Hoody and the entire ensemble is Bluesign approved, certifying that the garment is safe for the environment, the workers who built it and end users such as us, the climbers.

I wore the Kopak through a cold, wet Southeast winter, and I can literally give it a green boost. Slightly insulated, the Kopak is not a belay vest but active use when approaching and climbing. The jacket, which was about the weight of a thick sweatshirt, kept me warm well into the 30s and did an admirable job of keeping out wind, mist and splashes. An integrated stretch hood lets you leave the cap at home and fits over a helmet. The fit is snug, anatomical and stretchy enough to let you reach heights without a hitch. Is there anything more you could ask for in a climbing jacket?

  • Insulated with natural kapok
  • 18 ounces [men’s size medium?]
  • Recycled fabric
  • Bluesign Approved
  • Mid-weight active climbing jacket
  • The hood fits over the helmet