I have owned Rab Vapour-rise garments for the last twelve years and they have become essential pieces in my outdoor wardrobe. I have enjoyed wearing them for hillwalking in summer and winter, rock climbing, fell running and mountain biking. A good test of a jacket for me is one I can put on in the morning and forget I am wearing. I do not want to be worrying about the gap at my wrists, the jacket getting in the way of my harness, or a flappy hood in strong winds. I do not have any of these concerns when I am wearing the latest Vapour-rise alpine jacket from Rab.
The concept of Vapour-rise was developed by Rab Carrington as the ultimate soft-shell for a multitude of outdoor applications. It consists of two layers of fabric; an inner micro fleece lining that has fantastic wicking properties and an outer face fabric made of Pertex equilibrium that offers high levels of wind resistance and fast drying times. The particular weave of this fabric encourages moisture transfer through to the outer surface where evaporation can occur. Vapour-rise garments can be worn comfortably against the skin, as a mid-layer in colder temperatures and as an outer layer when it is cold and dry. Pertex equilibrium is not completely windproof but this helps the jacket’s performance – some wind getting through allows for increased breathability and better drying times.
The fact that the inner and outer layers are not bonded together make it incredibly comfortable to wear, reduce bulk and aid flexibility. The latest version of the jacket features a helmet compatible hood, something I wish mine had and the long arms ensure good coverage when reaching up with your ice axe or leaning over the handlebars when out for a bike ride. The chest pockets are a good place to keep a phone or camera though I would not want to put anything to big or bulky in them.
If you are looking for something warmer but just as breathable then the new Alpha Direct jacket is worth considering. For summer use the incredibly lightweight, stretchy and comfortable Boreas pull-on is amazing but I will save that for another review.