5 Of The Best... Waterproof Jackets Under £300 Reviewed (2019)

Whatever your budget there is a waterproof jacket that is right for you, so here’s our guide at the best jackets for hillwalkers with price tags up to £300.


Hoods

The hood should fit your head snugly so it does not blow off, but also it must move with your head so you can see where you are going. The hood peak may become bent when the jacket is stashed in a rucksack, so look for a wired peak that can be easily reshaped to allow good vision even in the wind. Lower priced jackets generally have hoods that don’t fit or move so well with the head and often lack wired or stiffened peaks.

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Fabrics

On the high priced jackets you can expect to find that the fabrics used are the most waterproof and breathable available. In contrast lower priced jackets generally have fabrics that are less breathable and may be less durably waterproof in the long term too. Materials described as 2 layer will more clammy than those described as 2.5 layer and these will in turn be more clammy than a 3 layer fabric or any jacket with a loose lining.

Zips

Normal zips used on jackets are not waterproof so they are normally covered by an external single or double storm flap. Water resistant zips are commonly used on high priced jackets but these are not waterproof either. As these zips may leak, they are often fitted with an internal flap that is designed to channel away any water than enters this area. 

Pockets

Big pockets are great for storing maps, guide books and gloves, but they can also be used to protect your hands from wind and rain. Rucksack belts obscure access to some pockets so make sure they are well positioned to avoid this problem. Lower priced jackets often have pockets that are not easily accessed while wearing rucksacks.

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it is important that you can increase ventilation of the jacket. A front zip can be used for venting, as can under arm zips, also called pit zips, while mesh linings in pockets can also increase airflow through the jacket. However, mesh pockets may also allow water to pass through the jacket. 


Salewa Puez 2 Powertex 3L £225

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  • Materials 3 layer Powertex Performance Ripstop Eco DWR

  • Sizes S-XXXL (men’s); n/a (women’s)

  • Weight 411g (size L)

It’s good

What sets this jacket apart from many others is the lower weight while still providing the core features a hillwalker needs. So you get a jacket made from a 3 layer laminate like others here but it has a thinner construction so it is more supple and lighter. You get two good chest pockets like other jackets too and these are easily accessed above a rucksack belt and they easily take an OS map. The hood has a wired peak and it fits nice and close and moves with the head better than most. The body is not the shortest either so you get a little more protection around the bottom and groin than some.

However

This jacket does lose some nice to have details. Firstly the sleeve movement is not quite the best, so you get so the cuffs tend to ride up a little more than the higher priced jackets here. Also there is no third external chest pocket. Then it is worth noting that this thinner material does feel a little colder as it tends to compress a little more than stiffer fabrics, so this is not the best for winter walks. The fabric is probably going to be slightly less durable than a heavier jacket but that should only concern the hardest of users, as for most walkers this is easily durable enough. Also there is no womens version.

Verdict

A superb hillwalking jacket if you want something slightly lighter and don’t need the best sleeve movement or a third external chest pocket.

  • Features 3/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Alpkit Definition £229

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  • Material 3 layer laminate with nylon face and PU/PTFE membrane 

  • Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-14 (women’s)

  • Weight 562g (size L)

It’s good

Like all Alpkit gear the Definition is extremely well priced for its features. It’s made from a layer laminate like other jackets here and the material is also nice and stiff to resist battering winds. The fit is quite close particularly on the sleeves, but you can still easily raise your arms without the cuff or hem riding up during scrambles. The hood fit and movement is also exceptionally good and it has a wired peak too making it ideal for hillwalking. There are two main pockets plus a third Napoleon chest pocket and all these are easy to access while wearing a pack. You even get pit zips for extra ventilation.

However

The third chest pocket is smaller than others and while its useful for a GPS receiver or phone it is not ideal for a map or even many guidebooks and this really lets this jacket down. The body is not the shortest but its not the longest either, so if you want a longer design others are better. Mountaineers may want an even more durable jacket with extra reinforcement but walkers will be fine with this as it is. If you did pay a lot more you can get jackets that have even better breathability and they may also be lighter but again only those in need of the absolute pinnacle jackets need bother.

Verdict

The Ladakh GV offers a solid reliable performance that for many hillwalkers will mean they need look no further but some others have small worthwhile benefits. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

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Rab Ladakh DV £275

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  • Material 3 layer Event

  • Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-16 (women’s)

  • Weight 561g (size L)

It’s good

 It is built with 3 layer Event so you get top quality condensation control and durable waterproofness. But importantly this is quite a robust fabric, so it blocks the wind without buckling an important benefit for colder and winder mountain days, and also it’s more durable than lighter jackets. The fit is slightly shorter than some options but fairly typical of modern jackets and the sleeves and hood fit particularly well. Waist and hem drawcords lock out draughts and you get good cuff and hood adjustment. The hood has a wired peak and turns effortlessly with the head. There are also pit zips for venting and a pair of huge chest pockets.

However

You do only get two external chest pockets as there is no third Napoleon style pocket for a guidebook, map or GPS receiver, although there is an internal Napoleon chest pocket inside the main front zip. It’s also quite a heavy jacket compared to what is available so if weight is your priority there are others to consider. It does have pit zips which you may not want and finding a jacket without them would lower weight and price, the two main factors that are drawbacks with this jacket. Some jackets are slightly longer and if you don’t need a helmet compatible hood then others would suffice. So for some users it may be worth looking elsewhere for design details that better suit your personal preferences.

Verdict

The Ladakh GV offers a solid reliable performance that for many hillwalkers will mean they need look no further but some others have small worthwhile benefits. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%


Berghaus Extrem 500 Vented £280

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  • Material 3 layer Gore-Tex

  • Sizes XS-XXL (mens); 8-18 (womens)

  • Weight 584g (size L)

It’s good

This was new for 2018 and is an updated version of the Extrem 5000 that sees the addition of pit zips for improved ventilation when working hard and not wanting to remove the jacket due to wind or rain. It is made from 3 layer Gore-Tex so it is top of the breathability and waterproofness rating. Importantly it is also a little longer than some other jackets around the price point and that meant for me it protected my groin and bottom far better than some other jackets. Also you get a huge third external Napoleon chest pocket in addition to the two main chest pockets. The hood is stunning with a wired peak and excellent fit and movement while also being helmet compatible. 

However

Adding the extra length and chest pocket has added a few grams so this is a little heavy compared to some. Also there are of course lower priced jackets if you don’t need all those features and the more heavy and robust 3 layer Gore-tex that is used here. If you were to spend more money then you would get even better condensation control and perhaps a lighter fabric but apart from that it is really hard to see why you would pay more to be honest. For me this is pretty much an ideal jacket for harsh mountain walking trips if you can accept the weight and price tag.

Verdict

For this price band it is hard to find a fault with this jacket making it ideal for those who don’t want to break the £300 price barrier for even better performance. 

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Paramo Alta III £295

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Sizes S-XXL (mens); XS-XL (womens)

  • Weight 832g (size M)

It’s good

A well proven fabric that provides superb levels of breathability and weather protection and in winter its extra warmth is a real bonus when heading into colder mountain weather as there is less need to carry additional insulating layers. The design is longer than most too so you get far far better bottom and groin protection than other jackets. The sleeves are well designed and so is the hood so both move really well with the body when scrambling. The hood also gets a wired peak for clearer vision and you get four external pockets, which are all easily accessed while wearing a rucksack. 

However

This jacket is warm which is a benefit on cold days but even on a warm winter day it can become quite hot to wear without venting extensively. Also it is quite heavy compared to others so if you stow it in your rucksack it is more of a load. The price is higher than others too, although for long term use it does work out at a good value as this jackets weather resistance is far easier to maintain than others due to its unique properties and construction. So overall there nothing wrong with the design but you do need to decide if the slight drawbacks mean other jackets are better options for your own walking needs. 

Verdict

Excellent design in many ways, with the fabric offering valuable benefits in cold weather in particular, but drawbacks are weight and warmth when the temperature rises but rain and wind persist.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%


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The Big Test: Waterproof Jackets reviewed (2018)

Staying dry during a hillwalk can be a challenge, but pack the right waterproof jacket and you’ll be warm, dry and comfortable no matter what the mountain throws at you. We put six jackets to the test on the Lakeland fells.

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The Runners Up


Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta £90

Tester: Jon Bennett

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  • Materials 2-layer hydrodry with loose mesh lining

  • Men’s XS-XXXL (Santiago)

  • Women’s 8-20 (Atlanta)

  • Weight 606g (M) 

This jacket is made with 2-layer Hydrodry fabric. Although on paper this is not the most breathable fabric, the mesh lining on the inside very effectively managed condensation and kept me drier from condensation than the other lower-priced jackets. There are two handwarmer pockets and a map-sized chest pocket. The foldaway hood has face drawcords and rear volume adjustment. Compared with the other lower-priced options there’s a good length to the jacket and it felt warmer owing to the air gap provided by the mesh lining. However, although the hood protected my face it did not turn well with my head. The handwarmer pockets were also not easy to access when wearing a rucksack and the chest pocket was closed by Velcro, rather than a more secure zip.

Pros

Price, condensation management, lots of features and good protection in general.

Cons

Heavy compared to others and hood does not move with the head.

Buy it if...

You want a good all-rounder at a superb price and don’t need either the lightest or absolute best performance on the hill.


Berghaus Stormcloud £100

Tester: Graham Thompson

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  • Material 2-layer Hydroshell

  • Men’s XS-XXL  

  • Women’s 8-18 

  • Weight 324g (L)

The big advantages here are the price and weight, as both are very appealing. The fabric is a 2-layer Hydroshell, which kept the water at bay while scrambling up the gill but soon became very sweaty inside as there is no inner layer to hide or soak up the condensation. But importantly the pockets are not mesh lined, unlike some higher-priced lightweight jackets, so even if water entered the pockets I didn’t get wet inside. The hood fits quite close and did move a little with my head, but higher-priced designs offer better adjustment. When scrambling the cuffs and hem tended to ride up far too easily, which left my body more exposed to the elements than all the other jackets here. The two main pockets are both annoyingly small and too low to allow the optimum access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. 

Pros

Price and weight are the main benefits here for hillwalkers.

Cons

Lots of condensation build-up, and not the best pockets nor the best hood design.

Buy it if...

You want a lightweight low-priced jacket for stowing in your rucksack and just wearing during short showers when any condensation will be tolerable.


Rab Ladakh DV £275

Tester: Tim Butcher

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  • Material 3-layer Event

  • Men’s S-XXL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 604g (XL)

The Ladakh DV is made using the durable 3-layer Event fabric, which is superb at controlling condensation and keeping the rain out. The size XL is roomy and nicely long, with adjustment in all the right places, including waist and hem drawcords, plus longer sleeves, all of which kept out draughts and stopped the jacket riding up. The large hood is helmet compatible and has sufficient volume adjustment to keep it in place in wind and rain, and it moves nicely as your head turns to look for holds or take in the view from under the stiffened peak. With pit zips open and just a long sleeve base layer beneath I was never damp from condensation on scrambles or walks. The only design drawback is the lack of a decent third chest pocket, whilst some may consider it heavy in terms of weight and price for hillwalking.

Pros

Durable waterproof and breathable fabric, great pockets, great hood, great sleeves.

Cons

No third chest pocket, and others are lighter and lower in price.

Buy it if…

You want a durable waterproof jacket with generally great features and don’t require a third chest pocket.



The Top three


Montane Atomic £125

Tester: Graham Thompson

The low price and light weight make the Atomic instantly appealing, but how does it compare to higher-priced and heavier alternatives?

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  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield

  • Men’s S-XL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 331g (L)

It’s good

This light jacket packs down small, so you’ll hardly notice it in your rucksack. The weight saving comes from the use of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield fabric, and there’s no inner layer, just a printed surface to manage condensation. The fabric is quite thin and supple too. This all adds up to this being very comfortable. 

The sleeves don’t ride up badly when scrambling and the hood has good face drawcords and rear volume drawcord adjustment, so it was easy to see even as I moved my head around to look for good holds during scrambles. 

The two main pockets are well placed to allow access while wearing a rucksack, and both are large enough for a map too. These pockets are lined with mesh, which improves condensation control by allowing a means of adding airflow, while a pair of pit zips add further venting. So in many ways there is lots to like here and for general walking in warmer wet weather this is a superb choice.

However

Problems start to show themselves when you really challenge the material. Firstly this jacket is not as stiff as others and the fit is slightly closer than some, so in the wind it feels a bit chilly. Also as it is only a 2.5-layer fabric condensation develops easier than the 3-layer fabrics, so did get pretty clammy once I overheated. 

Those mesh pockets also allow water to pass right through the jacket, meaning I had to keep them closed properly during the gill scramble – not a problem you’d get with sealed pockets. 

Other jackets also have a useful third pocket for a guidebook or phone, but here you have just two. Of course all these small drawbacks could be reduced by adding features that would increase both the weight and the cost, so you need to decide if weight or comfort is your priority before parting with your money.

Verdict

The weight and price are great, and the design is ideal for milder conditions, but in really wet and windy mountain conditions you may prefer different features.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 3/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Paramo Alta III £295

Tester: Jon Bennett

Does Paramo’s unique fabric combination improve comfort to a level that overcomes any drawbacks of the design?

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s XS-XL

  • Weight 832g (M)

It’s good

The unique Paramo fabric delivers far greater breathability and better condensation management than the other fabrics on test, and this is why I love wearing the Alta in cold, wet conditions.  

The incredible six pockets – two inside, two chest (one map-sized), and two handwarmer – are all useable when wearing a rucksack. The jacket is a good length and zipped upper-arm vents offer top ventilation. The wired hood also moved really well with my head, with excellent hood adjustment. The Alta is the warmest jacket on test, so when the others were reaching for extra layers at the summit I just zipped up. 

And good to know is that Paramo has strong ethical manufacturing standards, and doesn’t use environmentally hazardous polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).

However

While I love wearing the Alta in cold conditions, it can be overly warm in summer (although Paramo does now make a lighter version of its fabric for summer use). Consequently, the Alta is the warmest and heaviest jacket here, and would bulk up a ’sack if solely being carried waiting for a shower. 

Some care is also needed when leaning on wet rock during a gill scramble, as water can pass through the jacket under high pressure. The fabric dries exceptionally fast though, so I was totally dry during our waterfall adventures. 

There are cheaper jackets than the Alta, but if you sweat a lot then it will at least quickly pass through this jacket to the air so you’ll be dryer than in a cheaper one!

Verdict

Unique fabric ensures that condensation is managed far better than other jackets but the extra warmth, extra weight and extra cash are the main drawbacks to consider.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Mountain Equipment Lhotse / Manaslu £350 

Tester: Tim Butcher

This is a well established 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket but is it really worth paying all that extra cash? And could this classic be even better?

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  • Material 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro

  • Men’s S-XXL (Lhotse)

  • Women’s 8-16 (Manaslu)

  • Weight 531g (XL)

It’s good

The Lhotse continues to be the benchmark against which other jackets are measured. Built of tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro it’s incredibly durable, giving armour-like protection in storms and high levels of waterproofness and breathability, so I was never damp on our final test day in Langdale, even with changing conditions. 

The design also delivers when it comes to practical features, providing both good body coverage and unrestricted movement, with sleeves and hems staying put when reaching for holds on the steep rock. The three external pockets are in just the right places, clear of rucksack straps, allowing ‘hands in pockets’ walking and a chest pocket large enough for a map or guidebook. 

Pit zips, which aren’t stiff under the arm, open easily to improve ventilation, and the hood with a well-stiffened peak and rear volume adjuster kept the wind and rain out without restricting vision whilst walking and scrambling.

However

With top-spec gear, the cons are often weight and price, and it’s not the lightest jacket available. It could be argued that it’s over-specced for most Lakeland days out, and a lighter jacket would suffice, but if you walk year-round in the UK as we do, and you’re looking for one jacket that’ll tackle everything, then the extra weight is worth it. 

Moisture management relies on having the right combination of base layers underneath, so in changing conditions it was fleece on/off a number of times to maintain ideal temperature and prevent overheating. 

However, I can’t fault the fabric or the design, and coming onto the summit of Harrison Stickle into a cold, rain-laden wind, with both test jackets in my pack, it was the Lhotse I instinctively reached for.

Verdict

A seasoned performer, with high-end fabric and brilliant design, I’d wear it with confidence in any conditions in the British mountains.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Five of the best lightweight waterproof jackets reviewed (2018)

There’s no need to be weighed down by a heavy waterproof jacket in summer, so here’s the best waterproof jackets that weigh less than 350g.

Weights

Manufacturers often give average weights or the weight of the medium jacket. All the jackets here were weighed when tested, so our stated weights may vary from manufacturers’.

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it’s important that you can increase ventilation. A front zip can be used for venting, as can pit zips, while mesh linings in pockets also increase airflow. Lightweight jackets are often fitted with mesh pockets but this may not be ideal for really wet weather as they may also allow water to pass through.

Hoods

The hood should fit snugly so it doesn’t blow off, but it must also move so you can see where you are going. The peak may become bent, so look for a wired peak that can be reshaped.

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Zips

Normal jacket zips aren’t waterproof, so are usually covered by a single or double stormflap, but these are often removed on lightweight jackets. Water-resistant zips are commonly used on high-priced jackets, and some of these are fitted with an internal flap to channel away any water that gets thorough.

Pockets

Big pockets are great for storing maps, guidebooks and GPS receivers, but they can also be used to protect your hands from wind and rain. Rucksack belts may obscure access to some pockets, so make sure they are well positioned to avoid this problem.

Fabrics

Higher-priced jackets will generally use the most waterproof and breathable materials available, so while there may be small differences between them this will be difficult to notice on the hill. Your comfort levels therefore will often be dictated by features such as hood, pocket and sleeve design. In contrast, lower-priced jackets generally have fabrics that are less breathable and may be less waterproof. Fabrics described as 2-layer or 2.5-layer tend to gather more condensation than fabrics described as 3-layer. Thin fabrics also tend to buckle in the wind, so they feel colder than stiffer fabrics that can trap warm air inside.


Rab Downpour Plus £130

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 329g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield Plus

It's good

This offers exceptional lightweight performance for the price. So you get excellent chest pockets that easily take an OS map while wearing a rucksack. They are also sealed rather than mesh-lined, so they won’t allow water to easily pass through the jacket. The 2.5-layer fabric has a Dry Touch treatment on the inside to help manage condensation, but you also get pit zips to allow extra ventilation. The hood is great too, thanks to a wired peak and great drawcords at the face and rear, all of which combine to allow great vision as you move your head.

However

This is not the lightest jacket you can get, and it also feels slightly cold and clammy compared to a 3-layer fabric that controls condensation even better. A third chest pocket would be useful, like many lightweight jackets, but at least the two main pockets you get are great. There is very little wrong here if you want a practical lightweight jacket for hillwalking, but some details are better on higher-priced jackets.

Verdict

 For £130 this is a superb lightweight jacket, but a bit more budget may bring a few benefits.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra £165

  • Men’s XS-XL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 202g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer 20-denier Pertex Shield with stretch

It's good

The 2.5-layer fabric is stretchy and very thin, which shaves off some weight. I found this jacket fitted closely while still providing very good freedom of movement without the hem or cuffs riding up. There are two main pockets with mesh linings, which are easily accessed while wearing a rucksack belt and just about take an OS map. The hood is elasticated at the back and has face drawcords as well as a wired peak. A nice touch is a section of soft brushed fabric at the chin behind the zip. The weight is very impressive for what you get too.

However

Those two pockets are mesh-lined, so water can potentially creep through this jacket, but also it is a tight squeeze to get an OS map into them. Also the cuffs are elasticated rather than having Velcro adjustment, so you cannot control their fit as well as others. The hood fit and movement is acceptable, but it does not move as well with the head as others. Finally, the fabric feels more cold and clammy than stiffer 3-layer fabrics.

Verdict

A lighter jacket with stretchy material – but the cuffs, pockets and hood are not perfect.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 3/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Alpkit Balance £175

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 338g (size L)
  • Material 3-layer laminate with nylon face and PU/PTFE membrane

It's good

The 3-layer fabric feels a little tougher than lighter jackets, and also it benefits from a thin bi-component knit backer to manage condensation better than some lighter jackets. You get two good-sized pockets that take an OS map easily while wearing a rucksack. The pockets are mesh lined which reduces cost, weight and increases airflow for condensation control. The hood is very good thanks to a wired peak and excellent fit and movement. There is reasonable movement in the sleeves too. All that for this price and weight is hard to beat for hillwalking and backpacking.

However

It would be great if the pockets were sealed rather than mesh to help keep water out. Also a third pocket on the chest would be really useful. While the fabric is thicker than other lightweights, it still buckles easily in the wind more than heavier jackets. A slight niggle is that you do get a little movement in the cuffs when raising your arms such as during a scramble. There are lighter and lower priced jackets.

Verdict

The hood and 3-layer fabric set this jacket apart from others, but the mesh-lined pockets may let water in.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow £190

  • Men’s XS-XL
  • Women’s XS-XL
  • Weight 309g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer H2No 30d stretch nylon

It's good

Having a third chest pocket sets this jacket apart, and can be used for a GPS receiver while the two, larger main pockets can store OS maps or used as handwarmers. All these pockets are sealed rather than mesh, so water can’t creep through them easily. There are also pit zips for added ventilation. The main fabric has stretch, the body is slightly longer than others and there is good freedom of movement. The hood gets rear volume adjustment, fits very closely and moves well with the head.

However

That third pocket is a little small, so won’t take chunky guidebooks or maps, and access to the lower pockets is easily obscured by rucksack belts. While the hood does fit and move with the head well, it leaves the head more exposed than others as the peak is very small, and the sides of the hood don’t come very far forward. Finally, the material is a little colder and more clammy than stiffer 3-layer fabrics.

Verdict

Well-featured jacket with Patagonia’s eco-credentials, but some minor details could be better.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 3/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Rohan Elite £249

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s XS-L
  • Weight 303g (size L)
  • Material 3-layer Barricade

It's good

This is a 3-layer nylon fabric with high levels of waterproofness and breathability, but equally important is that this jacket has sealed rather than mesh pockets as well as a stormflap behind the front zip, which all adds up to more water resistance than many other lightweight jackets. Importantly it still has a good weight and the two pockets easily take an OS map, and you can access those pockets reasonably well while wearing a rucksack. The hood has a wired peak and also a great fit and movement with the head. So for general walking this is pretty good.

However

The fit is quite baggy compared to others, and also we noticed the hem and cuffs tended to ride up more easily than others. So this is fine for walking but less ideal for scrambling. The main two pockets are nice and large, but items tend to sink to their bottom, which places them below a rucksack hipbelt, so retrieval is not ideal. There are lighter and lower priced options.

Verdict

Good 3-layer fabric with sealed rather than mesh pockets but the fit is not ideal.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Rab Latok Alpine Womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Rab Latok Alpine uses 3-layer eVent fabric for durable, breathable protection. There is drawcord adjustment at the hem and neck, and Velcro on the cuffs so you can effectively trap heat. The wire-peaked, helmet-compatible hood is good too, adjustable and moves well with the head. Two large chest pockets both swallow an OS map and are accessible with a rucksack hipbelt, plus there’s a smartphone-sized inner Napoleon pocket. 5/5

Fit

Available in sizes 8-16 for women, and men’s S-XXL. It’s cut to Rab’s Regular fit, which allows plenty of room underneath for layering while being contoured at the waist and neatly fitting. It offers a full, unrestricted range of movement, with negligible movement at the cuffs when you reach, and is long enough to cover the bum. The hood fits almost perfectly too. 4/5

Comfort

The Rab Latok Alpine belongs to the heavier and stiffer family of jackets. The material feels like armour when it’s on, which in terrible weather is reassuring but in milder conditions might prove a little too much – though you can always open the pit zips. The roomy interior allows for plenty of layering without compromising comfort, and the length gives you additional protection around the bum.  4/5 

In use

Fully zipped, your face is protected up to the nose, and it’s possible to cinch it even tighter. This, the tough fabric and other adjustments, mean body heat is really locked in. The pockets get a big tick for size and accessibility while wearing a pack with a hipbelt. All in all, the features list is impressive at this price; some may want an extra pocket, but if not – great. 4/5

Value

This is a robust jacket, with all the essential features ticked and good design around the hood, making it very good value. RRP £260. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Latok Alpine is a robust, well-featured jacket at a very good price, though you can get more if you spend more. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.2/5

Rab Firewall Jacket Review 2016

Features


Pertex Shield Plus with a 3-layer construction is the main fabric in the Rab Firewall. It offers excellent waterproofness and breathability, and feels soft and comfortable and relatively lightweight. You get three chest-mounted pockets, which are all OS map-sized. The hood has a wired peak and there are pit zips too. The niggle is that the fabric is less durable, thinner and softer than others for wild weather. 4/5

Fit

The men’s sizes are S-XL and the women’s 8-16. The body is about 5cm longer than the shorter jackets we looked at so it covered my rear better than others. The cut is slightly closer than some on the sleeves, which is good; and better still if you raise your arms the sleeves and hem of the jacket don’t ride up. The hood fits exceptionally well and moves effortlessly with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The use of 3-layer Pertex Shield Plus makes this very comfortable as the material is soft, flexible and lightweight. It does buckle more easily than heavier fabrics though so in strong winter winds it will feel a bit chilly. Also it is less durable than higher-priced Rab jackets so it needs to be respected. But overall a very comfortable option for lighter conditions.     4/5

In use

For mild weather the Rab Firewall is an exceptional jacket and at 503g it is light enough to stash in a rucksack. The three main pockets are all OS map-sized and easily accessed while wearing a rucksack. The hood allows very clear vision as it moves so well and has a great wired peak. If needed you can vent the sleeves with long zips. Others feel more durable and protective in wild weather, though – and that is my main concern. 4/5

Value

Good value for what you get, but higher-priced jackets have benefits around that extra durability to withstand tough conditions. RRP £200. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Firewall is an excellent jacket for milder hill and mountain days but others are more robust for tougher conditions. 4/5

Rab Charge Jacket Review 2016

Features

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The Rab Charge’s weight of 314g is really impressive yet you do get two large chest pockets. These pockets are mesh-lined to ventilate the jacket, but that also means they won’t keep water out as effectively. The main fabric is a 2.5-layer version of Pertex Shield Plus with stretch, so it doesn’t control condensation as well as 3-layer fabrics and it is also less durable. A great lightweight option though. 3/5

Fit

The men’s sizes are S-XXL and the women’s sizes are 8-16. The Rab Charge is about 4cm longer than the shortest jacket we looked at so it provides a little more protection to the bum. The sleeves are particularly well-shaped to fit closely, but importantly the hem and cuffs don’t move when you raise your arms. The hood adjusts and fits exceptionally well. Brilliant. 5/5

Comfort

This is very light, and the 2.5-layer stretch Pertex Shield Plus fabric offers little if any restriction to movement so it feels exceptionally comfortable in good weather. However it does not control condensation as well as higher-priced 3-layer fabrics and it buckles in the wind, making it feel quite cold in foul weather. So, good up to a point
– but others are better in poor conditions. 4/5

In use

The two huge chest pockets are great for handwarming or maps, but there is no third pocket. The pockets are mesh-lined too, so they can allow water to pass into the jacket if it enters the pocket, and it also means this area is less wind-resistant. But the hood is ideal for the hill, the sleeves are great and if used for milder conditions the Rab Charge is excellent. It is just less appealing in a blizzard. 3/5

Value

The price is very good compared to what others at this price can offer, but a higher price brings better mountain performance. RRP £150. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Charge is a superb choice for milder weather, but in tougher conditions I’d prefer to use other jackets. 3.8/5

Rab Latok Alpine Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Rab Latok Alpine is a great mountain jacket using 3-layer eVent fabric for durable levels of waterproofness and breathability. There are two massive chest pockets and pit zips. The helmet-compatible hood has a wired peak with face and back-of-head drawcords. Other jackets have a slightly more robust feel and more pockets but this has the essentials for hillwalking, which is what most people need. 4/5

Fit

The Latok Alpine comes in sizes XS-XXL for men and sizes 8-16 for women. The body of the jacket was 4cm longer than some others so it more easily covered my bum, which was welcomed. The hood fit is nice and close, and it moves easily with the head. When scrambling you can easily raise yours arms without the hem or cuffs riding up. 5/5

Comfort

This is slightly softer than some other jackets so it instantly feels a little nicer, although stiffer jackets will resist the buckling effect of the wind better. The hood fit and movement combined with great sleeve movement mean this is very comfortable. Pit zips allow extra ventilation if needed. 5/5

In use

I would prefer a third large chest pocket so I can dedicate one to a map or GPS receiver while using the others for my hands. But if you don’t need a third chest pocket then the Rab Latok Alpine is a great jacket. The hood once adjusted really locks on to your head, allowing superb vision; and it has a great wired peak to protect the eyes. The weight is acceptable, although not the lightest; but overall this is great on the hill. 4/5

Value

The price is very good compared to others and while it lacks an extra pocket, for many this is a price worth paying to save some cash. RRP: £260. 5/5

Verdict

The Rab Latok Alpine is an excellent hill jacket if you don’t need three external chest pockets and £260 is your limit. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.6/5

Rab Bergans / Vidda (2015)

Features

The Rab Bergans / Vidda uses a tough 3-layer eVent fabric with a nylon outer for extra durability, which is well-proven as providing extremely high levels of breathability and waterproofness. There are then two huge chest pockets and a hood that boasts a wired peak. Some other jackets have extra pockets or pit zips, but the above is enough for most hillwalkers. 4/5

Fit

The Bergans is available in men’s sizes S-XXL while the Vidda is available in women’s sizes 8-16. On me the men’s L was slightly longer than most, allowing it to cover my bum comfortably. The fit is slightly more relaxed than some on the body while the sleeves fit closer. The hood can be cinched in to provide a good close fit with great movement. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Bergans / Vidda is slightly heavier and stiffer than some jackets but in a howling gale and driving rain that stiffness is a benefit as it prevents the jacket buckling and warm air being squeezed out. The protection given to the backside makes this more comfortable when out in foul weather, while the general performanceof the fabric is ideal for hillwalking. 5/5

In use

The two main pockets are large enough for maps and easily accessed above a rucksack hipbelt. I’d prefer a third pocket, but this is not essential. The hood peak is wired so it is easily reshaped if needed and this ensures vision is great when wearing the hood. Movement in the sleeves is good too, with very little sign of hem or cuff creep when raising my arms. 5/5

Value

The Rab Bergans / Vidda offers far better performance than most lower-priced jackets and makes it hard to justify paying more, so the price is good. 4/5

Verdict

To get anything better you’ll have to pay a lot more, and for most hillwalkers the Bergans ticks the most important boxes. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Rab Atmos (2015)

Features

Pertex Shield Plus is the main fabric: a well- proven 3-layer laminate with extremely high levels of waterproofness and breathability. It is also thin, making it lighter than most, hence the Rab Atmos only weighs 303g (size L). You get two good chest pockets and a hood with a stiffened, but not wired, peak. Other jackets have more features, but this is lighter. 4/5

Fit

In men’s sizes XS-XXL and women’s 8-16, this jacket has a fit that’s slightly closer than some others but there’s still room underneath for insulating layers such as fleeces. The body is typically short but you get slightly better movement in the sleeves than other jackets, without even a hint of a cuff or hemline rising. The hood also fits superbly. 5/5

Comfort

The weight and slightly closer fit coupled with the unrestrictive movement make the Rab Atmos feel very comfortable. As with all thinner fabrics, though, it does buckle more easily in strong winds so it can feel a little chillier than a stiffer and heavier garment. The pockets are sealed, however, so no water can creep through them. Overall this is excellent. 5/5

In use

The Rab Atmos has two large chest pockets that are great for hands or maps, but a third would be useful. The hood fits well and has a very good stiffened peak. I’d prefer this to be wired for maximum performance, but to be fair it is very well-designed. This is not as durable as higher-priced jackets, so some care is needed if you scramble or treat jackets roughly. 4/5

Value

The price is very good for what you are getting here – namely great fabric, great features and low weight. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket with practical features for hillwalking then this is it, but heavier jackets have advantages too. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Rab Latock/Latock Alpine (2015)

Features

The Rab Latock/Latock Alpine is an exceptionally functional jacket using a tough 3-layer eVent fabric for durable levels of waterproofness and breathability. There are four massive chest pockets, long pit zips and a helmet-compatible hood with a wired peak. The front zip is also one of the chunkier and more water-resistant designs that I have seen, with a very robust internal flap to funnel any water away. 5/5

Fit

Sizes are men’s (Latock) XS-XXL and women’s (Latock Alpine) 8-16. The fit is slightly looser than others, although I did get a small amount of movement in the hem when raising my arms. The body is a touch longer than others so it more easily covered my bum, while the hood fits nice and close, and moves easily with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Latock/Latock Alpine is quite a heavy and stiff jacket so it feels very protective in a wind, but softer and lighter jackets feel nicer in less challenging conditions. The fabric is stiff enough to resist wind though and the sleeves have a looser cut so you can easily wear insulation underneath. Add in that tiny extra length here and overall this is great in the mountains, but heavy. 4/5

In use

You feel like you are well-protected and it is easy to stash maps and gloves in those four huge chest pockets. The hood once adjusted really locks to your head, allowing superb vision. Pit zips provide some ventilation control while the front zip is extremely stiff and robust to really keep out wind and rain. But if you take it off that weight sits heavy in your pack. 4/5

Value

There are a lot of pockets and zips plus a very durable material, so the Rab Latock/Latock Alpine is better value than some. 3/5

Verdict

The Rab Latock/Latock Alpine is built like a tank and ready to take on the worst of weather; but it may be tougher than you need sometimes and it is also quite heavy. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Rab Muztag (2015)

Features

This 2015 jacket uses a very lightweight version of eVent fabric called DV Storm with a 3-layer construction so the inside layer can manage condensation. The fabric is said to be 20 per cent more breathable than standard eVent. You also get two huge chest pockets plus a hood with a wired peak along with face drawcords and rear volume adjustment. 5/5

Size

The Rab Muztag comes in size S-XXL for men and 8-16 for women. The cut and fit are similar to others with a length that doesn’t cover the bum and a fit that is averagely close. The sleeves and hem don’t ride up easily and the hood is superb, a close fit allowing it to move effortlessly with the head to maintain vision. 5/5

Comfort

The 3-layer eVent DV Storm fabric feels great and appears to manage condensation really well, without being too crinkly. Like all thin fabric it tends to buckle in the wind so it’s not the warmest. As the pockets aren’t mesh they will keep you dry, but you cannot use them as vents, though you have a front zip for that. 5/5

In use

The two large pockets are ideal for hands or map. I’d like a third ideally (but then it would weigh more). The weight is ideal for summer and the hood is fine all year round. Other Rab jackets will probably be more durable in the long term, but for hillwalkers this is ideal. 5/5

Value

Compared to other jackets the price is actually really good, but clearly £200 is not the cheapest option. 4/5

Verdict

Taking everything into account, the Rab Muztag is one of the best lightweight hillwalking jackets around, assuming you are able to splash out on the price tag. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade.

4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine July 2015

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First test: Rab Flashpoint (2015)

The lighter your gear, the less you’ll be weighed down – and the more enjoyable heading to the hills will be. But we also like to be comfy when the weather turns ugly, and minimal weight at any cost is something few hillwalkers will tolerate. So the 182g weight of Rab’s Flashpoint jacket is certainly impressive, but it’s important that this does not come at the cost of performance.

The jacket is made from a new material – unique to Rab – called Flashpoint, a 3-layer laminate with a waterproof and breathable membrane sandwiched between an outer layer and an inner layer of fabric. In theory this means the waterproof layer is protected from abrasion on both sides, and the inner layer can soak up and disperse any condensation that may form inside the jacket. Rab quotes impressive lab results of 20,000+mm hydrostatic head and a moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR) of 40,000g/m²/day. This puts the fabric at the top of the league table for waterproofness / breathability.

With a weight of 182g (size M) and a packed size of a large fist, if you wanted to leave this in your rucksack you’d hardly notice it.

I took the Flashpoint on the Lakeland fells during typical blustery sunshine and showers, the sort of weather where carrying a waterproof is important, but I didn’t want to be weighed down by full heavy waterproofs and I’d probably take it off for part the walk.

The design is quite short and close-fitting, which saves weight and also makes it more suitable for faster movement. But you do get a helmet-compatible hood with a wired peak, face and rear volume adjusters plus a full-length zip, hem drawcord and Velcro cuff adjustment. You do only get one pocket, though, so if (as I do) you like to have somewhere to put your hands, this jacket is not ideal. But at least that pocket is big enough for a map. It is also properly sealed, rather than mesh-lined, so if water does get inside it you will stay dry.

What is most noticeable about the Rab Flashpoint is that there are hardly any seams, and those that are there have narrow taping. This reduces weight and bulk but also improves breathability. On the hill I did find the taped areas held some condensation, but the body of the jacket stayed drier and was up there with the best in terms of moisture management. The thin fabric does mean this jacket can feel a bit cold in the wind, though, which is a problem with most lighter jackets. There’s no women’s version either, which is a shame.

Specifications:

Fabric 3-layer Flashpoint

Sizes S-XXL (men’s)

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Verdict

The Rab Flashpoint’s weight, the fabric and the hood are great, but you might want more pockets for regular use. However this is probably a compromise worth making for a jacket designed for moving fast and having ready in your rucksack to throw on when needed in mixed conditions, rather than being worn all day in the foulest of weather. Pity there’s no women’s version, though.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine June 2015

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Rab Alpine Latock / Myriad (2014)

Features

The Rab Alpine Latock has very good set of features for most mountain-baggers, with two huge chest pockets that are ideal for map storage or handwarming. A third would be useful for map, compass or GPS storage. The hood gets a wired peak with volume and face drawcords. The exposed front zip is more water-resistant than lower-priced jackets and has an internal rain gutter. But no pit zips. 4/5

Fit

The men’s Alpine Latock comes in sizes XS-XXL, the women’s Myriad in sizes 8-16. The body isn’t long enough to really protect the crotch area. The hood fits superbly and is helmet-compatible. Movement in the sleeves is among the best available for scrambling. Ideal for Munro-bagging where some scrambling and battling against the elements is needed. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Alpine Latock uses 3-layer eVent fabric, top of the league for long-term waterproofness and breathability. It is also slightly stiffer than some fabrics, which I find preferable as it prevents wind from squashing out the warm air. There are no pit zips here, though, so if you overheat easily you may prefer a jacket that features them for comfort in rain. A longer jacket would provide more protection, too. 5/5

In use

This jacket weighs just 498g (size L) and has most essential features for great performance. Some will want pit zips, a third pocket and more body length – but the hood allows easy vision in a storm and you can access the two pockets easily while wearing a rucksack. Overall, little to complain about here. 5/5

Value

Perfect for some, while others may want more, but at the price it’s better than average. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Alpine Latock is a great jacket for hillwalking if its features suit you. It received a ‘Trail approved’ award.

4.6/5

www.rab.uk.com

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2014

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Rab Myriad (2014)

Features
The Rab Myriad is lighter than most in our test at 395g (size L), but you still get the essential features. There are two very large chest-mounted pockets for easy access to maps and gloves on the move while wearing a pack. There is an internal zip pocket too. The helmet-compatible hood has face and volume drawcords. These are about the minimum features you need, but enough if you want to save weight. 3/5

Fit
Available for men in sizes S-XXL and for women in size 8-16, this is a similar length to most jackets in our test. The sleeves have a very good fit, though, being slightly closer than some others and allowing exceptionally good freedom of movement without riding up. The hood fits perfectly and moves with the head without obscuring vision. 5/5

Comfort
The Rab Myriad is made from Polartec Neoshell, a 3-layer fabric that boasts extremely high breathability and has proved itself over the last couple of years to work well on the hills. This is also a thinner, softer and lighter fabric than some others, which may reduce durability, but the result is a softer handle that makes the jacket more comfortable than many other 3-layer jackets. 5/5

In use
In terms of comfort, fit and weight the Rab Myriad is a superb jacket, but you are getting only two external pockets and I’d certainly prefer a third pocket big enough to hold an OS map or a GPS receiver. But the hood is great and everything you actually have here works really well. There are no pit zips, however, so if you like that extra venting control then this model won’t be for you. 4/5

Value
This jacket is a superb price for the features, and you also get the added benefit of low weight. 5/5

Verdict
The Rab Myriad very good jacket with low weight and high performance, ideal for many hillwalkers. 4.4/5

www.rab.uk.com

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2014

 


Rab Nexus (2013)

Rab has used Polartec Neoshell in the Nexus, which is a relatively new 3-layer fabric that boasts excellent breathability in the lab. The theoretical drawback is that the material is not as waterproof compared to some higher-priced options, but according to Polartec this is plenty waterproof enough; increasing it just reduces breathability. To date the fabric has performed superbly on the hill and my view is that the design probably plays a greater role in comfort anyway. To that end the Nexus is also superbly designed. It’s a notch longer than some other jackets we looked at, so overtrousers won’t be needed quite so readily. The sleeves allow good movement and the cuffs can be adjusted to fit inside or outside gloves. The main zip is left exposed to the elements but it is a chunkier version than most, so it should keep water out pretty well – there is an internal gutter system too. There are just three pockets, which I think is ideal, and these are all large and easily accessed. The hood is excellent thanks to good adjustment and a wired peak. Although you don’t get pit zips or additional pockets, that does help to keep the weight down to a reasonable 511g (size L) and, when combined with the price, the Rab Nexus all adds up to a very good winter mountain jacket.

Weight 511g (size men’s L)

Fabric 3-layer Polartec Neoshell

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes 8-16

External pockets 3

Can hood be rolled down? yes

Side/pit vents no

Website www.rab.uk.com

Verdict

In the Rab Nexus great design for mountain walking and scrambling is combined with a good price and a great fabric to create the perfect combination for most hillgoers. The jacket won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2013

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Rab Bergen/Vidda (2103)

The Rab Bergen/Vidda is a well-established jacket that is becoming a modern classic, thanks to its year-in, year-out ability to set the standards for good all-round hillwalking performance. The men’s Bergen and women’s Vidda are made from eVent fabric, proven to provide great condensation control thanks to its high level of breathability and inner scrim. The basic design is spot on for most users, being slightly longer than many skimpier models, and also slightly stiffer – and this gives a real feeling of robust protection that is ideal for tackling summits in wet and windy weather. To help keep you dry there is a stormflap over the main zip, and the pockets are not mesh-lined but sealed. The hood is exceptionally well-designed with a large wired peak, while good use of drawcords ensures the hood moves well with the head even when lightly adjusted. This hood can also be rolled into the collar for casual use. There are two huge main chest pockets, easily accessed while wearing a pack. The Rab Bergen/Vidda is faultless for most hillwalking folk.

Weight 593g (size L)

Fabric 3-layer eVent

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XXL (Bergen)

Women’s sizes 8-16 (Vidda)

External pockets 2

Can hood be rolled down? yes

Side/pit vents no

Website www.rab.uk.com

Verdict

The Rab Bergen/Vidda is an ideal jacket for general moor, hill and mountain walking unless its weight (593g, size L) or its price tag are major considerations for you. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2013

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Rab Myriad (2013)

The Myriad is a great jacket cut from an excellent, innovative and very comfortable fabric. Stays totally dry thanks to a well-protected waterproof zip and a superb deep and easily adjusted hood with a stiff and wired peak. But breathability is also excellent, making the lack of vents less of a problem. The handwarmer pockets are big enough for a map. The cuffs are a good length and adjust with Velcro, and the hem’s easily tightened. But it’s the fabric that really makes this jacket.

 

Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: Polartec Neoshell 3-layer
Weight: 350g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01773 601870; www.rab.uk.com

 

* Review from Country Walking magazine, May 2013.


Rab Mountain Dru (2012)

The Dru feels heavier when worn than it actually is, as the fabric is a little stiff in comparison with others. But it’s as protective as any and it’s very breathable too. It has good-sized, well-placed handwarmer pockets and a huge Napoleon pocket that will swallow a map. The hood is excellent, with 3-way adjustment and a wired peak, and the collar is soft and protective. It has a good storm flap and is a good length at the hem. The sleeves feel a little restricted by the stiff fabric, but the cuffs are easily adjustable.

Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: eVENT 3-layer
Weight: 565g
Women’s version: No
Contact: 01773 601870; www.rab.uk.com