Marketed as a waterproof hard shell-softshell hybrid,…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars


Marketed as a waterproof hard shell-softshell hybrid, this jacket failed to keep the rain off two hours into a showery hike in the Alps. I'm not convinced by NeoShell as a fabric and I certainly would not recommend this as an outer layer for wet weather.


  • Very breathable
  • Lightweight


  • Not waterproof when advertised as such
  • Not durable at all

I bought this jacket as quite a sweaty person and was sold on the breath ability whilst still being waterproof thing. However, I find that the jacket soaks through quickly, even in light rain. Water does not bead on the outside, and my base layer was wet through after a wet weather hike in Scotland. It is certainly not a fully breathable, fully waterproof jacket and I would not recommend it for UK weather.

it is not very durable either. On a hike in gale force gusts in Scotland, I could feel rain hitting me through the jacket. Also if you brush past a bramble you risk it ripping, the fabric is very flimsy. 

That said, the jacket may be useful as a showerproof layer in an environment where you are not expecting too much rain, but wish to have a shell jacket. I am also going to give the jacket a shot as a lightweight outer layer whilst ski touring because the breathability is fantastic. It is also a very light jacket and easy to have in the bottom of a rucksack as a spare on a summer's day.

The pockets are also good because they are the perfect size for a map and, with the zips close to the middle and pockets extending towards your sides, easy to access. The hood fits over a helmet but otherwise, even though it can be adjusted, is still a little bit enormous and will fall over your eyes. 

This jacket is a jack of all trades, a master of none. If you want a soft shell, buy a soft shell that is designed to be a soft shell. If you want a waterproof, go for the good old Goretex or paramo. There is plenty else out there. Don't compromise by buying this jacket because you will waste money!


Welcome to Trailspace, Emily. I hate it when you pay out big $$$ for an under-performing product. I'm impressed with your review--the jacket failed, but you did find some positives from it. Good review.

3 years ago

Welcome to Trailspace, Emily. I hope you'll keep us updated on how the Stretch Neo performs in other uses and conditions, such as ski touring. I'd also love to see some pictures of yours. For what it's worth, Rab no longer seems to be offering it.

3 years ago

This is the first jacket I have tried with the new…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (returned)
Price Paid: $365


This is the first jacket I have tried with the new Polartec NEOSHELL fabric. I was very impressed with this new fabric and this jacket from Rab.


  • NeoShell fabric
  • Waterproof
  • very breathable


  • No hand warming pockets

This jacket is bomb proof! The new Neo fabric from Polartec is as good as advertised... very breathable and yet water/windproof. I used this jacket in Nepal at Everest base camp and absolutely loved it.  

Here's my full video review:

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Rab Stretch Neo Jacket

previously retailed for:
$118.98 - $399.95

The Rab Stretch Neo Jacket is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen October 24, 2017 at

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