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July 2014 Issue
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Rab Microlight Alpine



Our Rating:

The Rab Microlight Alpine is a lightweight (445g (m); 400g (w)) jacket designed for fast and light excursions and trips where you want the comfort of an insulated jacket, but not a full-weight down jacket. Typical uses would be three-season tramping, climbing and bike packing. In winter, I’d generally only wear it at lower elevations.

It’s filled with 750 fill-power goose down, in the popular narrow baffle style. Narrow baffling’s not just about fashion though; it prevents down migration and is suited to this style of thinner jacket. Down’s undergone a technological evolution recently; possibly the most significant development in the outdoor equipment industry in quite some time. Hydrophobic – or ‘waterproof’ – down is now appearing in many products. Typically nano-coated, it doesn’t saturate like regular down, giving it the benefits of synthetic fill while maintaining the advantages of down: light weight and high compressibility.

The Microlight utilises this fill and combines it with a DWR Pertex fabric that is silky to the touch and very comfortable and breathable. In use, I have noticed a big difference with waterproof down, even with a non-waterproof outer fabric on the jacket. After exposure to moisture, the treated down does not clump as it does in normal down and during testing it impressively repelled the moisture from spindrift melting and running down the collar and all over the sleeves.

Replete with good features, the Microlight is mostly well thought out: I love the hood, the style of the jacket, the large pockets and the overall cut. Rab has for some reason chosen to add a malleable wire to the hood, which keeps it away from your face, but also means that every time you unpack the jacket the wire is distorted. I found the jacket a few centimetres too short in the torso: okay for shorter people, but possibly too short in the body for average-to-tall people.

Overall, a great jacket that I’ve hardly taken off.