First of all, if you aren’t familiar with Rab, the company is based in the U.K. and is slowly becoming a very sought after brand. Their garments are constructed well and these guys work hard at making sure everything is top quality. Their expanding athlete team has certainly done a great job with development. You can tell when a company does it right, Rab is one of those companies.
I’ve been testing Rab’s Microlight Alpine Jacket for the last several months in Alaska and recently returned home to put my thoughts about the jacket down on paper. From what I could gather, this is the second incarnation of the jacket with some much needed zips for the hand warmer pockets and a better array of colors as well. I should mention this is my second down puffy. My first was a Patagonia Down Sweater, it didn’t last longer than a year of abuse before it was almost completely flattened without much loft left in it. I’ve been using the Microlight for about four months now, excessively, and the only signs of wear I’ve noticed are under the arm pits and in the elbow joint area. This is very common with these types of jackets, especially for a climber, because of so much constant motion to the areas.
The fit is very athletic, I am usually a medium but a large fit me perfectly so make sure you try it on before you make your purchase. The Microlight itself is relatively simple, the pockets are cut deep for keeping your hands warm and the chest pocket is cut deep enough so you can store bars or food under your pit to keep it warm during ice climbing outings. Likely my favorite feature on the jacket is the flexible brim on the hood. I really like the feature, if only my other jackets had it, my brims wouldn’t flop around in my face anymore.
I wouldn’t wear the jacket in a down pour, however the Pertex shell fended off the drizzle and all the snow we got in AK this year, nicely. The jacket is a great piece to bring with you for ski touring, climbing, or just around base camp. It is super light so you’re not really going to notice the weight and it packs down quite well. You can find more information on Rab and their gear here.
Doug Koughlin has guided in the Northeast, Colorado, Alaska, the Northwest and is from Maine — his rock and alpine experience far exceed most.
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