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Rab Double Pile Jacket

rated 3 of 5 stars

The Double Pile Jacket has been discontinued. It was replaced by the Rab Original Pile Jacket.

photo: Rab Double Pile Jacket fleece jacket

A light, cosy, fleece jacket, in search of a purpose.


  • Lightweight
  • Warm
  • Open weave, for breathability.
  • Packs small
  • Wind stopping Pertex liner
  • Good zips
  • Four useful pockets (two lined).


  • Good but not great, at anything
  • Not a go-to garment, for active use
  • Not a great mid-layer

Before they started marketing every little thing you might ever need, in the hills or afloat, Rab were famous for their sleeping bags. Down bags, jackets, and vests, are still their core products, forty years later. The Double Pile jacket is another legacy piece, recently updated and brought back to the market place.

Berber fleece is attractive, to the touch—cosy, thick, and plush, without feeling heavy. The jacket is generously cut, without feeling baggy. Made for layering but with a half-lining of Pertex, which offers chest protection, against cold winds. I believe the updated garment features a full Pertex inner, with the additional insulation that provides.

All four pockets—two hand warmers and two chest, one internal—are sewn into the Pertex inner shell and all construction details remain functional, after nearly ten years of use. The zips are very high quality, as is the stitching of channels, at neck and hem, for shock cord adjustment, to retain heat. The only wear to my Double Pile jacket is at the cuffs, both of which have abraded and expose the white core material, of the Berber pile.  

I originally bought the jacket, to wear to work, in the winter. I assumed it would find its place in my outdoor weekend wardrobe, over time, but it never really did. For belaying, it works quite well, but I have other clothing that is more windproof, or warmer still, or rain shedding. This would likely still be the case, if the activity was dog walking, or fishing.

Although the jacket zips smoothly into a couple of shell garments I use, it feels quite bulky and the Pertex element impedes the transfer of moisture, from the skin, when I'm working hard. As a shell layer, I think the chest protecting inner fabric is quite successful, at repelling cold air—reminiscent of a traditional cycle training top, but with the shell portion on the inside.

As a standalone, dry weather winter jacket, this product might be useful, but its versatility is suspect. It isn't fully windproof. It's not at all rainproof. It's not an exemplary mid layer. It is warm, tactile, well featured and finished, but doesn't excel at any outdoor task, despite the premium price point. I thought it might become a keystone piece, but it never progressed from its initial roles, in the workplace, the car, pub, and shops. A well made and fairly durable product, but a design faux pas.


Nine years of winter use. Every time I took this jacket to the hills, I wished I had packed something more adaptive. It provides a mid layer boost of warmth, but also adds bulk and impedes moisture transfer. Irrelevant in a snowstorm or cloudburst, of course, when no jacket will both breathe and repel at the same time. This is the only occasion when the garment's insulating benefits outshine its shortcomings.

I'm not sure why Rab would refine and reissue the design. Extra Pertex will surely accentuate the failings of the concept? Or perhaps the end user will just enjoy the old fashioned look and feel from the corner of a draughty bar? I would have made this a reversible jacket, to compete with Buffalo, Paramo, and Montane. The Berber pile is seldom seen, but an underrated fabric; this application nearly supports my assertion...but doesn't.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £95

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