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Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On

rated 4.50 of 5 stars
photo: Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On waterproof jacket

Specs

Men's
Price MSRP: $200.00
Current Retail: $199.95-$200.00
Historic Range: $126.02-$200.00
Best For Mountain Running
Fit Slim
Weight 85.5 g / 3.01 oz
Centre back length 68 cm / 26.8 in
Materials 7D Pertex Shield 2.5L fabric with stretch (40gsm) HH: 20,000mm/MVTR: 20,000 g/m2/24hrs
Packed size 8 x 10 cm
Women's
Price MSRP: $200.00
Current Retail: $144.00
Historic Range: $126.58-$199.95
Best For Mountain Running
Fit Slim
Weight 70 g / 2.5 oz
Centre back length 68 cm / 26.8 in
Materials 7D Pertex Shield 2.5L fabric with stretch (40gsm) HH: 20,000mm/MVTR: 20,000 g/m2/24hrs
Packed size 8 x 10 cm

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

rated 4.50 of 5 stars average rating


or

An über lightweight (3.5 oz) hardshell jacket—that works! Rab's Phantom Waterproof Pull-On is a purposefully designed jacket aimed at trail and mountain runners, but I believe it has applications beyond that. It's lightweight (3.5 ounces!), packs small, and is waterproof, fending off moisture very well. Because of this, I think it also is worth considering if you're a day hiker or even an urban commuter.

Pros

  • 3.5 oz hardshell (XL)!
  • Pertex fabric works—it's waterproof!
  • packs small
  • cut generous enough in length
  • 3.5 oz hardshell! (worth repeating)

Cons

  • no hood adjustment
  • no pockets
  • pullover, not full zip (personal preference)
  • light fabric, not meant for bushwhacking

Use

I've used the Phantom Waterproof Pull-On for roughly three months (June through August) so far in central Montana. I've been able to test it several times in the rain and once in a wet snow. I've also used it as a windshirt to block the wind. Temperatures ranged from the 30s through the 60s F. The jacket is so light—and packs so small—that it goes with me on my daily hikes.

phantomjacket.jpg

Construction

The Phantom is made from a lightweight, waterproof two-layer construction with 7D Pertex Shield, taped seams, and a little stretch. The hydrostatic head is listed at 20,000mm, the MVTR at 20,000 g/m2.

My size XL jacket weighs 3.5 ounces! Rab's listed weight for a medium is 3.03 ounces (86g). I personally know of no lighter hard shell on the market.

For reference, here is how Rab rates the Phantom's performance (click to make bigger):

Screen-Shot-2022-09-05-at-12-09-15-PM.png

Waterproof Protection

While "waterproof" is in the product's name, I was a little cynical about the fabric's claimed rain performance given its light weight. However, I got to put the jacket through its paces several times in both rain and wet snow and much to my surprise—and delight!—the jacket performed very well. The DWR polyurethane coating beaded wonderfully. Even in relatively heavy rain I stayed dry. None of these rains were overly sustained however, a couple of hours at tops.

One morning—with no precipitation in the forecast—I was on a day hike and I could see a storm blowing in. Fortunately, I had the jacket stashed in a small lumbar pack. The temperature dropped close to 20 degrees in minutes, and it started to snow—wet snow. I donned the Phantom Pull-On and immediately felt warmer. The wet snow simply beaded up and ran off the jacket. Without that jacket I would have definitely been in a jam.

phantomdwr.jpg
very effective DWR

Windproofnesss and Breathability

As light as the Phantom is, I decided to try it as a wind layer. No surprise, it blocks wind effectively, but no surprise it doesn't breathe great—no waterproof garment does, in my opinion.

As a rain jacket/hardshell it breathes better than numerous ones I've used, which concurs with Rab's chart above. It's just not in the same realm breathability wise as a windshirt. However, that is a tradeoff for waterproofness.

The Phantom worked great as a wind layer when stopped on breaks or if I wasn't moving overly fast or working hard. For a rain layer and a wind layer, 3.5 ounces is pretty impressive!

Rab does offer other lightweight hooded rain jackets, such as the Kinetic Ultra Waterproof Jacket (9.8oz/277g) for trail running, but none close to the Phantom's weight.

phantomaswindlayer.jpg
as a wind layer

Packability

The Phantom packs small, down to a "palm-sized storage sleeve" in Rab's words. I prefer to roll it, but here it is in its provided stuff sack.

phantomstuffsack.jpg
packs small!

Features

The Phantom Pull-On is a streamlined, stripped-down shell with a focus on light weight. Rab even warns you about its lack of features: "in place of adjustable toggles, the Phantom Pull-on uses a low-volume elasticated hood, as well as half micro elasticated hem and cuffs, enabling it to pack down into a palm-sized storage sleeve. The absence of pockets and a hooded peak also helps keep the weight down; and a lightweight half-length zip helps deliver effective weather protection without excessive weight."

So, don't expect a lot of extras.

Hood: Rab calls this a "low-volume elasticated hood." I found its cut too loose though and was not overly impressed. With no adjustments, it's easy for the hood to blow off and obstruct your vision. In my opinion, that's a pretty big omission.

phantomhood.jpg
loose, baggy hood

The hood does have a stiffened peak, and with a cap it worked fine though. It also has a small shock cord that allows you to roll it up.

hoodwithcap.jpg
with ball cap

Pockets: As mentioned, there are no pockets. While I don't expect zippered slash pockets on a garment such as this, one small, zippered pocket would be welcomed.  

Adjustments: While there is no adjustment for the sleeve cuffs, the elastic used works very well. Also, there is no adjustment at the hem of the jacket, but again some elastic, and it works well for fit.

Pullover and Zip: There is a deep, half front zip for venting. I'm personally not a fan of pullovers for outer layers. I find them hard to put on and take off and they limit the amount of venting you can do. For a fraction of an ounce, I say make it full zip!

Sizing

The Phantom is available in men's (small to XL) and women's (XS to XL) sizes. It has a slimmer cut, though the fabric has some stretch.

I would definitely consider sizing up with this garment. I'm a Large in almost all garments (5'11", 180 lbs) and a Large on Rab's size chart, but I went with an XL and it's just right. If I was in a Large pulling the jacket on and off would be difficult; In an XL it wasn't too bad, though I'd still prefer a full zip.

phantomfront.jpg
 

I appreciated that the jacket is cut long enough to reach past my waist (center back length 68 cm / 26.8 in). I've found that length is especially important with a hardshell. Too many jackets are cut too short for some reason.

phantomeback.jpg
 

Recommendation and Best Uses

What the jacket is not. Obviously with this lightweight of a fabric, bushwhacking would not be a recommended. If you're expecting a lot of rain or long sustained rain, there are better options. If I was on a very long backpacking trip, I'd be concerned about this light fabric under the pressure of shoulder straps for long periods.

But, if you're looking for an extremely lightweight rain jacket for throwing in a daypack or a running vest, or even taking on a multi-day backpack where precipitation isn't likely, this would be a great choice. I think even an urban commuter would welcome a 3-ish ounce rain jacket that packs small enough to stash in a briefcase!

I hike daily and the Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On is always packed with me. It's saved my butt a couple of times when I thought the chance of precipitation was nil and it turned out that was a wrong assumption. I packed it on a recent eight-day trip into the Sierras, where, as expected, there was very little rain. But, in the little rain I experienced, the Phantom worked great.

All in all, Rab's Phantom Waterproof Pull-On is an excellent, lightweight hardshell for moving in the mountains that punches well above its weight!

Experience

I've used the Phantom Waterproof Pull-On for a couple of months over the summer under a variety of conditions—light to heavy rain and even some snow! I've also used it during rest breaks without precipitation, when it was windy and cool. It also has seen use on my daily hikes near town, on several longer day hikes and peak bagging missions, and on a few backpacking trips.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for testing and review provided by Rab)

About the Author

Mike Moore (bigskyrunner) of Montana has recreated and worked in the outdoors for forty plus years. Many moons ago he worked as a Wilderness Ranger in the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness areas, which started him down the road of embracing lightweight gear. He enjoys running in the mountains by himself and with friends. After a 24-year career as a game warden, he has more time to devote to hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor pursuits.

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