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Rab Stretch Neo Jacket

rated 3 of 5 stars

The Stretch Neo Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best soft shell jackets for 2023.

photo: Rab Stretch Neo Jacket soft shell jacket

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!

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:

Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (returned)
Price Paid: $365

The author of this review received a sample of the product from the brand or its representative in exchange for a review.

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Price Historic Range: $154.00-$399.95
Reviewers Paid: $365.00
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