Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket – Our Review

Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket – Our Review

Handy chest pockets on the outside and the inside.

Following on from our Hydrophobic Down post a few days ago, we thought we should review our favourite down jacket this winter – the Rab Inifinity Endurance Jacket! We haven’t got many left, so don’t miss out!

Christmas day started as it does every year, with a mad dash to the Christmas tree. A large, but very light parcel, addressed to me appeared beneath the other pressies. A familiar looking Rab logo emerged, followed by a bright green inner lining and at this point I realised what I was looking at – the new and updated Infinity Endurance Jacket from Rab (thank you Racheal!).

A few years ago, Rab released a very lightweight down jacket called the Infinity jacket (still available today). The following year, the Infinity Endurance jacket appeared in Rab’s winter workbook – a beefed up, more durable and probably for most people, more practical jacket. The down filling remains the same as the standard Infinity Jacket, with 210g of 850 fill power European goose down. This year, the down has had an extra special treatment – a Hydrophobic coating, which has been applied to the down at the washing/cleaning stage. This has been rolled out across all Rab down jackets this winter, with sleeping bags following suit next summer.

The differences to the standard Infinity Jacket appear on the outside. The standard jacket uses a Pertex Quantum GL – the lightest fabric Pertex make. The Infinity Endurance uses the same fabric, but, as the name suggests, one that has a Pertex Endurance coating. In reality, the standard fabric was strong and tough – but it never felt that way – I was always very conscious about using the jacket. The new endurance fabric is only 20% heavier at 30 g/m2, but it inspires a lot more confidence when you are wearing it. It comes with a hydrostatic head rating of 1000 mm, so can take a decent beating from the usual British weather. It still packs up very small into the stuff sac (included).

A very good pack size for such a warm jacket.
A very good pack size for such a warm jacket.

Being the middle of January, I had hoped that I would have been try it out in much colder, snowier conditions – but seeing that half of the UK is under water, I have had limited chances to test the jacket. However, the last couple of days have been cold and clear and it has been great to slip this jacket on in the morning. But, this is a warm jacket – and although I feel the cold, I have had to leave it in the wardrobe most of the winter. It is a shorter cut than other Rab jackets, meaning it is as nice to wear around town as it is to wear out in the mountains.  One of my favourite features is the soft fleece chin guard – a really decent size. So many brands offer this, but to have one of this size is really great. The other massive improvement is the hood. Now this is a big thing for me, as a bad hood can wreck a jacket. Many have fallen at this hurdle, but Rab have pretty much got it spot on. A reassuringly thick wire peak top it off and had the hood had a little more in the way of volume adjustment, it would have been perfect.

My only major gripe about this jacket is the pockets. They are all present and correct, and where they should be, but the hand warmer pockets just aren’t big enough! Now, I don’t know if it is just me, but I cannot seem to fit my hands comfortably inside. They appear to taper off, meaning that whatever I have got inside my pockets (phone etc) cannot be comfortably removed – a minor flaw when you look at the jacket as a whole, but a really annoying one.

Verdict

On the whole, this jacket is one of my all-time favourites.  The cut is brilliant, the down is very high quality and has now been improved to be even more resistant than before. Fix those pockets and its perfect! If we ever get a ‘normal’ winter, this is the first jacket I’ll grab.

http://www.roughgear.co.uk/p-470-rab-infinity-endurance-jacket.aspx

Norrona Narvik Warm2 Stretch Jacket – Our Review

Norrona Narvik Warm2 Stretch Jacket – Our Review

Narvik – Backcountry Freestyle. Well that’s what Norrona say. Designed to allow for the highest levels of movement and style the Narvik collection are perfect for any aspiring freestyle skiers or snowboarders – and is at home on the steepest slopes, in the deepest powder or in the biggest snow parks.

The Warm2 Stretch Jacket is no different. Thanks to the Polartec Powerstretch Pro fabric, this fleece jacket is perfect for fast paced freestyle skiing & boarding. For years I have gone through all my outdoor activities without ever using a Polartec Powerstretch product, but now I have given it a go, I don’t know how I ever managed. It seems that someone like Norrona needed to make one for me to take notice and give it a go…

One of the few thumbs loops I have ever got on well with.
One of the few thumbs loops I have ever got on well with.

The amount of 4-way stretch is almost unbelievable, and gives you virtually unrestricted movement. But it isn’t just the stretch that makes this fleece so good – it’s the comfort of it. I have never worn a more comfortable fleece than this. I may not have ever worn a product of any fabric that has been as comfortable as this. The soft fleece inner feels fantastic on the skin and the tough nylon outer glides under any other outer layers, whilst adding a brilliant level of durability.

The Narvik Warm2 also features some really nice little extras like the thumb loops to help keep any spindrift or draughts at bay, whilst a plus a welcoming pair of well positioned hand warmer pockets to thaw out freezing fingers. The high collar of the jacket means that you can really huddle into the warmth when the wind picks up, whilst the long sleeves mean that your wrists won’t be exposed whether you’re using the thumb loops or not.

This jacket is the kind of thing you can throw on in the morning, ski the steepest black runs and jump the biggest kickers all day and not take off until you’ve finished chilling out in the evening at the Chalet. Perhaps the only downside to the jacket is that, well it costs £169.00 – but if you want the best fleece jacket available…? In that case, it’s worth every penny.

Rab Hydrophobic Down – Our Thoughts

Rab Hydrophobic Down – Our Thoughts

If you had asked me a few years years ago, what the major flaw of down was I would have said moisture. If down gets wet, you’re pretty much stuffed. It takes an age to clean and dry again as well as it loses its lofting ability. Every year, we would have a customer who came into the shop who had got their down jacket soaked through, and after a couple of hours of tumble-drying, it was still as flat as a pancake. It really is the Achilles heel of down.

down_globe

This winter, Rab have applied a treatment to all of their down clothing – the down has become hydrophobic; ensuring that the down absorbs substantially less water, so retaining more loft and warmth.It also speeds up drying times when damp and will withstand repeated washing. This is applied at the washing/cleaning stage of the down preparation, meaning that it far more effective than aftermarket products available.

Another major benefit of hydrophobic down is that any oils or sweat from your body are now far less likely to penetrate the down itself. It will stay cleaner for longer – and that it definitely a good thing.

I have tested my Infinity Endurance Jacket a little in damp conditions, and it is difficult to see how well it really performs with soaking it. In reality, I’d still keep my down jacket inside if it was raining, but I got caught out in a shower, it’s a little more reassuring knowing that you’ve got a bit more protection.

Take a look at our range:

http://roughgear.co.uk/s-42-insulated-jackets.aspx#Filter=%5BManufacturerID=3*EntityIDs=@%282%29@*Sort=2*ava=0%5D