Tag Archives: Windshell

Rab Vapour Rise Lite Alpine Jacket – Our Review

2I have been an avid user of Vapour Rise for about 5 or 6 years now. Wind resistance, water resistance, warmth and wicking all in one package. Vapour Rise (VR) works so effectively, thanks to its two layers. Firstly, Pertex Equilibrium, exclusively designed by Rab in conjunction with Pertex, balances high wind resistance with fast wicking and drying. It works by using two different yarns, which help to suck moisture to the outside of the fabric, where it quickly dries. Secondly, you have the fleece liner, which kick starts the wicking process as well as providing you with insulation. This combination of fabrics and technologies results in a product that can be used for a huge range of activities and now thanks to the larger collection, can be used all year round.

I have been using a VR Lite Alpine Jacket since its release in 2012 and it has become one of the most widely used pieces in my outdoor wardrobe. The ‘Lite’ range use a thinner wicking micro fleece liner in comparison to its larger, warmer counterparts as well as a thinner, but more densely woven outer. This actually provides you with a more wind resistant outer fabric than the standard VR jacket or the VR Guide jacket. Even with this extra protection, my size small, along with all of the packaging and tags came in at a little over 330g – not bad when you consider what you’re getting.1

The fit of the jacket is relatively snug, with a short cut and Rab’s familiar long arm length. A decent sized adjustable hood, with a wire peak and roll down closure is a very welcome feature, although the VR Lite Jacket does away with this for those hood haters out there. However, it must be noted that this is actually my second VR Lite Alpine jacket that I have owned. The first was let down by the hood adjustment tab, which started fraying, and eventually broke away entirely. I don’t know if it got caught at some point, or it was just a weak point in the design, but I missed the jacket enough to order a replacement this year.

The new colour for 2014, Twilight, arrived on my desk this morning and was a welcome return when I first slipped it on. The soft, lightweight, tricot liner adds just the right amount of warmth for this time of year but is breathable enough for when things and if things, do get a little warmer. Slightly elasticated cuffs combined with Velcro keeps the cuffs in order, whilst a drawcord on either side deal with any hem adjustments. The two Napoleon chest pockets sit well out of the way of a rucksack or climbing harness, meaning it won’t interfere, no matter what you chosen activity.

4That leads me nicely onto the VR Lite Alpine jackets best feature. Its versatility. I have used this jacket extensively walking and hiking, backpacking, cycling, playing tennis and am currently sat here with it on in a slightly cold office… There may well be other midlayers which offer more wind and water resistance, better warmth, or improved wicking, but nothing come close to Vapour Rises ability to perform in all four areas so well. It is the kind of jacket that you put on in the morning, and 15 miles later, and the end of the day, you take it off again, regardless of the weather conditions in between. It adapts itself to perform wherever you‘re adventures take you. I have even found myself using this in winter for more active pursuits and as you would expect it performs wonderfully.

The one negative piece of feedback that we have received from some of our customers is how the two fabrics (Pertex Equilibrium & Liner) are not bonded together, but really, when the jacket is on, you don’t notice it. Big fabric brands are striving to find and develop the lightest, most efficient and protective fabrics available, so in this sense, Vapour Rise can seem quite traditional, but when it works so well, why change?

The Verdict

Whilst the concept for Vapour Rise has been around for quite a while now, you cannot deny how effective it really is. What is perhaps considered a fairly traditional product has amassed a real following in the UK and this latest version has brought it bang up to date. It looks good, it feels good and it gets the job done.

3+ Very comfortable feel to the inner, providing a brilliant balance of warmth, wick, wind and water resistance.
+ New Twilight colour looks great with the contrast zips.
+ Superbly versatile design.
–  I am really hoping that the incident with the hood adjustment was a one off!

For 2014, both the men’s and women’s Vapour Rise Lite Alpine Jackets will be available – take a look at them our website.

Rab Boreas Pull On – Our Review

1The Boreas Pull On is a bit of strange one at first glance. It falls into the ‘Windshell’ category, but it isn’t one of these Pertex shells that you seem to find everywhere. It is made from a Polymide/Spandex blend, known by Rab as Matrix SWS. It is a soft, comfortable and stretchy fabric, but also one that is light enough and compact enough to not cause any concerns when stashing it in your pack.

3I’ve never really got on with the traditional windshells – whilst I understand their super lightweight and compactness is almost unparalleled in the outdoor world, I’ve never found them very comfortable. They often feel clammy against the skin, are noisy and never seem to hang particularly nicely when you where them. That’s why I was so surprised when I first tried the Boreas. It is completely different and as far as I have seen over the last 2 years of use, doesn’t fall down in any of those pitfalls found in those normal windshells.

4It is UPF 50+ and is a brilliant wicking layer. Using this over the summer of 2013, in those boiling temperatures, it was very cooling and comfortable to wear. The flat lock seams do their job, and improve the feel of the fabric next to the skin.

It is a very slim fit, and being a pull on, can sometimes seem a bit tricky to work your way into, but once it’s one, it really does feel brilliant. The hood is a close fitting, under the helmet kind of hood, so would be ideal for those long summer pitches, where you want a little more protection than just a t-shirt.

2So, as I finish this review off, I find myself wondering if it really is a windshell at all. It’s really a mix of windshell, softshell and base layer all in one, but however you categorise it – it is a brilliant little product, and for only £50.00 for the 2014 season, is extremely good value. It is often overshadowed by lots of exciting new technologies and products, but really, it works brilliantly and is one of the most versatile and well used products I own.

Take a look today at Rough Gear, along with a brilliant range of new Rab clothing!