Rab Ventus (2015)

Features

The Rab Ventus provides just a little more wind and water resistance than a fleece but lacks the insulation of one. It has two main pockets placed high on the body, plus a hood. There is hem drawcord to keep out draughts, while the cuffs are elasticated but there is no hood adjustment. It’s minimalist compared to most soft shells for sure. 4/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are S-XXL and women’s sizes are 8-16, with the jacket fitting closely without being tight or restrictive. The hood even fitted okay due to there being stretch in the material, which allowed it to hug my head and move well. The cuffs too – despite only having elasticated cuffs – fitted well, and the cuffs and hem didn’t budge when I raised my arms. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Ventus is a thin, stretchy, wind-resistant top with minimal insulation. Its comfort level is high, but it is not very warm, so in summer you could wear it over a base layer but in autumn you’ll need a thin fleece or thick base layer system. Not as water- or wind-resistant as other soft shells, but for walkers who carry a waterproof all the time this may be a benefit. 4/5

In use

This is superb at what it does, which is provide a stretchy, comfortable, slightly wind- and water-resistant layer. The pockets have very easy access, and are nice and large. The hood is great too. My problem is I’m not sure how useful it is. Some people will love it while others will prefer a fleece or thicker soft shell. But it is unique in what it offers so well, and for that reason it demands a look. 4/5

Value

The price is good but not stunning as the Rab Ventus uses much thinner fabric than higher-priced options, but it’s a better design than similar options. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Ventus is a thin and stretchy spin on the soft shell concept that is ideal for climbing, backpacking, and fast and light activity. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine September 2015

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