Rab Flashpoint Jacket - Men's
Historic Range: $159.30-$324.95
Uber light rain shell that packs away to nothing with surprising performance.
- Stupidly lightweight
- Packs down to nothing
- Great breathability for a PU
- Incredibly fragile
I love this jacket. I've used it for mostly backpacking trips, but it's started replacing a good many of my pieces that I use for other activities.
When it comes to breathable jackets, I am highly suspicious. In my experience most jackets on the market are not breathable (free transfer of air) but simply transfer vapour efficiently. I soon realized my fancy Gore she'll spent its whole life at the bottom of the bag, as when it rained I'd use the Arc'teryx Squamish windshirt with its forcible DWR instead, as I found any moisture that penetrated would be less than the moisture that built up inside a stuffy shell.
So I sought out an ultralight weight hard shell that I could keep in the event of really bad rain only. And the Flashpoint far exceeded my expectations. I used it a fair bit backpacking, and climbing, and for little day hikes. I had a couple days wearing it in the pouring rain, and some blustery days where it couldn't decide if it wanted to snow or rain. You'll never notice it in your pack meant it's been in my pack loads, but not often worn.
It's a tight fitting garment, pretty consistent with Rabs fit, long in the arms and body, but narrow around the waist, and under the arms.
The Flashpoint is a better built jacket then its competitors, like the OR Heliums or the Patagonia Alpine Houdini. The seams are far superior and the material is a better quality. Being so lightweight it is not particularly durable, but I would say that it is tougher than I expected for such a thin material.
In pouring rain I experienced more comfort than I had come to expect from hard shells. It wasn't as breathable as my experiences with NeoShell, but it was better than any Goretex jacket I have ever tried, though that may be due to whole thing being maybe being 10denier.
It was throughly wind proof and very effective in stormy conditions on a fall day where it was blowing very hard, and mixed snow and rain. Being a little less breathable than non-membrane clothing, if you are moving it adds a descent amount of heat. Uphill in warm summer conditions it does rather well.
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
In point, this jacket is all one needs for a fast and light, fully protected hardshell. See detailed review below.
- See detailed review
- See detailed review
Testing: I tested the Flashpoint Jacket in the best backyard a guy can ask for: Glacier National Park. Scrambling peaks, backcountry ski missions where weight was to be kept at a minimum. It was my go-to shell and my only means of protection from wind/water/snow. Only other thing I'd bring was a good insulated piece.
Sizing/Fit: I am a slightly 145 pounds and 5'10" guy, which seems to be odd for American sizing but more in line with European sizing. As such, I'm most often a medium and this jacket fit on point for that. Perfect sleeve length, not too much excess fabric around the chest and under the arms. Exceptional fit, athletic, and full coverage.
Color: The Koi color is unique. I'm not even sure what to describe it as, but in the dreary cloudy days we tend to get regularly in shoulder seasons and mid-winter, it pops and looks great.
Expectations vs. Reality: Far exceeded expectations. I've never had a hard shell that could perform at such high level of aerobic output.
Layering: I would look at a nice base layer, and then a synthetic insulated piece that also keep weight and packability at a premium.
Construction: The zippers, the fabric, the seams, everything is a cut above anything I've ever experienced with the exception of Arc’teryx stuff. I'd say this piece is the nicest, highest quality piece of technical wear I own.
Pro: Lightweight, fully sealed, fully water/wind proof. Exceptional breathability for a hardshell. Very packable, fit was perfect, minimalist style, liked the helmet fit hood.
Cons: That I don't own another for when this one gets retired.