Tuesday, 2 July 2013

High Style: Rab Polartec Alpha Jacket

High Style is my outdoor clothing and accessories review section. Testing out the serious and practical side of outdoor clothing, in High Style I also consider what sometimes is overlooked - how stylish the items of clothing are.
I am working with a range of retailers and manufacturers to bring these reviews to you from well-known brands to less well-known ones and everything from trousers and t-shirts to rucksacks and flasks.
I hope you enjoy the reviews and find them useful. 

Rab Polartec Alpha Jacket
(Reviewed for Cotswold Outdoor)

This jacket had a real test across the north and south of the country - from mountains in the Lake District to low level walks in Sussex. I also tested it in light rain, heavy rain and strong winds (and of course the odd pub or two).
The Rab jacket

According to the designers, the Rab jacket uses new technology to ensure it is breathable, warm, lightweight and durable.  It is a puffy hooded jacket (although there is also a vest version).

That all sounds very technical so what does it mean in real life? Well – it is safe to say that this jacket is one of the most comfortable things I have ever worn. It is light and soft and it seems as though a lot of thought has gone into all the little things that add up to making a big difference. In particular:
  • It had a really snug fit around my chin when the zip was done up, with or without the hood up. It was so soft I hardly noticed it.
  • The hood stayed up in the wind without having to tighten any drawstrings. I tested it in quite strong winds and not once did it blow back. 
  • (For anyone with long hair like me who wears it down a lot) - my hair stayed tucked inside the hood! At last! Even in windy conditions. I have never had a jacket that has achieved that. Usually I end up with strands and locks whipping about my nose and eyes and stuck to my lip balm. I have no idea if this is what was intended by the design but it is a real plus point in my view.
In addition, the persistent rain I tested the jacket in whilst in Sussex showed it was waterproof and the cold easterly wind that was blowing was of no consequence as the puffy effect of the jacket kept me warm. On the high fells it stood up to the breeze and rain and proved to be as breathable as the designers claim as I didn’t feel “sticky” even when it was quite humid.

When the sun came out and it got lovely and warm, it folded up surprisingly small to fit in my rucksack and being so light it was hard to notice the difference in weight.

On the slopes of Loughrigg
Now for the style test. Well first and foremost I love the colour. It is such a striking blue. I have never owned anything that colour before. I happily wore it walking in the Lake District and Sussex but I even wore it shopping without thinking twice about it. The Jacket saw its fair share of pubs and bars too whilst in Sussex and fitted in well and I wore it to work on rainy days as well.

It is not just a walking and hiking jacket – it fits well in lots of places and in the striking blue, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd.

Overall Verdict
It is very versatile and with our summer so far proving to be a bit temperamental, this jacket will fit the bill whether you are hiking, shopping or just watching the world go by.

Practicality: 9/10
Style: 9/10

Rab Polartec Jacket
RRP £150 (the vest version is £100)

Available in a range of sizes exclusively at Cotswold Outdoor from mid-July (available to pre-order). 
It will be available in other outlets later in the year.

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  1. Helpful review.

    Sounds an ideal jacket for this particular summer.
    I'm often stuck what to wear in the sumner as my
    denim jacket doesn't keep me warm enough when it's windy and my sheepskin jacket is too warm.

    I like the sound of this jacket especially as you say it is soft and light.

    1. Thanks :)
      It is really soft and light - and fab it is so versatile.