Rab Vapour-Rise Guide Jacket
If you need a winter soft-shell and weight isn't an…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £128 (US$164)
If you need a winter soft-shell and weight isn't an issue, this is the one.
- Well designed and nicely made
- Outstanding adjustable, helmet compatible and stowable hood with moldable wire brim
- Excellent breathability and moisture-wicking capability
- Great worn on its own. But even better as a winter mid-layer
- 5 sizeable pockets
- Slightly longer than average torso length provides adequate coverage and prevents it from riding up much
- Metal two-way zip has occasionally snagged
- An excess of gridded fleece lining material
- Depending on activity and weather may be too heavy and warm to wear from Spring till Autumn
- Very slight piling noticeable on lighter Pertex Equilibrium fabric where pack harness and straps rubbed
- More use of the more durable DWS Matrix fabric may slightly decrease breathability, but would improve its durability
Purchased my first one last Autumn (2016) in size XL and in the striking Red colour.
Rab states this jacket is a "Regular fit." I ordered my usual XL size, which for me (who's of rugby player build) is a tad long over my arms and a bit snug around my bulky torso. However. The jacket's length does give some additional protection below the waist and means that it won't ride up as easily when i'm reaching up or stretching.
I've worn it a number of times since camping, hiking, and scrambling up North, even during the coldest spells last year. My own experiences have only confirmed the experiences and testimonies of others relating to the Pertex Equilibrium's amazing breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities.
Large sections of harder wearing DWS Matrix material are used on the hood, shoulders and outer-facing side of the sleeves. Areas which are expected to take more punishment and carry more weight from things like backpack straps etc.
When worn as an outer over base-layers and (lighter)mid-layers the combination of the two fabrics offers reasonable protection from light drizzle and breezes, but somewhat short of sheltering you from the wettest and windiest weather (when a hardshell would be required).
This soft-shell jacket seems to perform best during cold and fairly dry conditions. But especially more so when worn as a mid-layer underneath a down jacket or hard-shell. When its moisture wicking ability comes into its own and has prevented me from becoming overly hot and clammy during longer periods of physical activity.
The adjustable, high-fastening, helmet-compatible hood design is among the best I've seen in any hard or soft-shell and when tightened, effectively minimises the ingress of wind and rain. When not in use the hood can be rolled down and stowed using a velcro flap at the back of the collar/hood.
Loving the feature count. Five sizable pockets to store: batteries, binoculars, compass, gloves, GPS, hat, headtorches, maps, mobile phone, snacks etc. The two-way main zip allows easier access to bib or pant pockets and offers another option for ventilation without having to unzip the jacket completely.
There are a few slight drawbacks though. The two-way main zip could be more robust. I've had to take extra care when zipping up, as it has snagged a couple of times.
There seem to be some slight signs of piling or rubbing where my backpack harness and straps would have been pressing and rubbed against the lighter Pertex Equilibrium fabric on small areas of the back, shoulder, and sides of the jacket for long periods.
Seems that Rab could have reduced the amount of excess gridded fleece lining material without adversely affecting performance, as the lining invariably catches on and gathers up your base or mid-layers.
Of course, all of these great features inevitably come at a cost and result in a soft-shell jacket which at 840g is significantly heavier than average.
Lastly, I would have preferred some more colour options. I'd like to have one in Deep (Poseidon) Blue, a colour which I understand was discontinued a few years ago.
With a few small reservations, I'd highly recommend Rab's Vapour-Rise Guide Jacket for anyone who's in the market for a breathable, water and wind resistant winter (heavy) weight soft-shell.