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July 2019 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Jackets

Rab Arc

Price:

$399.95

Our Rating:

At a glance
Plusses:
 Good fit, hood drawcords, durable.
Minuses: Too large hood, best suited for above the bushline use.

Weight 414g(m), 368g (w)

Features: This jacket uses a durable Pertex Shield+ three-layer stretch fabric which provides decent freedom of movement. The helmet-compatible hood is voluminous and comes with a wired peak. Two tall pockets are located high above the waist to offer full access while wearing a pack. All zippers are water-resistant YKK Aquaguard which do not require an external storm flap. The zippers have a pull tag for ease of use while wearing gloves and are housed in a ‘garage’ at the top of the zipper to prevent water seeping through the top. There’s an internal storm flap behind the main zipper to help prevent the ingress of water and wind that might seep through the zipper.

Fit: It’s a slim-fitting jacket which feels a little restrictive with mid-layers underneath, but this is compensated for by the stretch fabric which offers good freedom of movement. The helmet-compatible hood is so large, it needs to be tightened to some degree at all times otherwise it’s like moving your head around inside a cave.

Comfort: Because this is a three-layer jacket, with a full lining, its warmth and next-to-skin comfort and breathability picks up a notch – gone is the clammy fleeing. But without ventilation features like mesh-lined pockets and pit zips, it’s a hot jacket and wearing it below the bushline proves sweaty work.

In use: The jacket is designed for cold and exposed conditions with easy-to-grip zips and slightly flared cuffs to accommodate gloves. The hood and waist drawcords can be adjusted with one hand and the pockets are perfectly located to ensure full access while wearing a pack or harness. The side hood drawcords are threaded through the fabric and exit below the collar, allowing single handed use and to keep flapping cords away from the face when it’s blowing.

The large hood can be battened right down if you’re not wearing a helmet, but in doing so it loses its shape and bunches up – making it less comfortable.
On my bush walks, even in heavy rain, once I exerted myself it was difficult to manage my temperature because there are no ventilation options. This reinforces the jacket’s end use as one for tops tramping and climbing environments. The stretch fabric ensures the hem and sleeves don’t budge when arms are outstretched. Being a durable fabric, it easily handled some rough scrapes in bush and on rock.

Value: Three-layer fabric makes this a premium and comparatively expensive option designed for more specific exposed and above the bushline use.

Verdict: Best suited to those who are heading onto exposed tops or for climbing where warmth and mobility are key requirements.

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