Rab Photon Jacket

November 7th, 2010

I have long been a fan of jackets filled with synthetic insulation as an alternative to fleece. They are lighter, warmer, more wind-proof and dry quickly.  They also layer extremely well, with two jackets providing a great warmth to weight ratio and they allow greater freedom of movement due to the slippery shell material providing less friction.

I took a Mountain Equipment Fitzroy to the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda, it performed OK but wasn’t as warm as I would have liked. However while photographing the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race in Chile I used the Fitzroy layered with a Montane Prism. This proved to be a killer combination and both jackets keep me warm while stood around for hours in the wet and wildly windy Patagonian conditions. However the Prism wasn’t very durable, with the zip failing and the stitching coming undone in one of the pockets. More recently I had been using a Patagonia Micro Puff for pretty much everything, and it performed very well.

However I have just got hold of a Rab Photon Hoody Jacket and there are some subtle differences between the two jackets which on paper have almost identical specs. For a start the Rab, despite having 33g more insulation, is lighter than the Patagonia jacket. I guess this due to the Rab having a Pertex shell and lining rather than nylon. The cut of the both jackets is good. The Rab does has a more technical design with the hood and collar being particularly good. The collar is high and snug with a micro-fleece lining. The hood is enormous, easily fitting over a helmet and has a wired rim which enables it to be worn under a waterproof jacket hood without it slipping over your eyes and restricting vision.

I have now been wearing the Photon for instructing rock-climbing, supervising children on their Duke of Edinburgh silver expedition, as a belay jacket, for camping in late October, on Ben Nevis in Winer and for outdoor photography in a variety of weather conditions. To conclude the Rab is a warm, well-designed, water resistant, quick drying synthetic jacket with a great hood.

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