Best for damp and cold conditions
At a glance
Plusses: Good value, functional when wet, comfortable.
Minuses: Fit could be improved, bulkier than down equivalent.
Weight: 516g (m), 455g (w)
Features: This is a medium weight hooded jacket with synthetic fill (Cirrus HL). Notably, the inner and outer fabric and insulation are 100 per cent recycled. There are two handwarmer zip pockets and a small inner zip pocket (big enough for a phone) and a drawcord at the hem to trap heat. The hood has a stiffener and is designed to fit under a helmet.
Fit: It has a ‘regular’ cut and the fit is midpoint of snug and roomy, which I thought was a sweet spot for unimpeded movement in the arms and shoulders. The hood is claimed to be ‘snug-fitting’, and it is an anatomic shape with good brim coverage thanks to the stiffener but compared to other jackets it is quite loose, even over a hat. It also has excessively boxy shaping around the front of the neck and it would be cosier without excess fabric here.
Comfort: For a synthetic fill, I was surprised at how much loft this jacket has. I wore it in temperatures down to just below zero and found it warmer than expected when worn over two thin layers. A feature that I particularly liked is the microfleece chin lining.
In use: The hood and neck-front components of this jacket are roomier than necessary. Rab positions the jacket as lightweight, but compared with its peer garments, it’s on the heavier side of lightweight. But that just means it’s probably warmer than those other garments because it’s functional where required with no feature bloat. Overall, it’s more comfortable and warmer than I expected. Synthetic fill is less compressible than down, so it takes up a little more pack space, but that’s a trade-off for the superior performance of the Cirrus HL insulation in wet conditions.
Value: Considering this jacket’s warmth for its overall weight and price, it is good value.
Verdict: Rab does not cut corners with its choice of fabrics, insulation and overall garment quality, so for this jacket’s warmth and versatility for damp New Zealand conditions it’s a great buy.