Lightweight NeoShell, new 2.5-layer eVent and the Peak-based brand's lightest ever waterproof top.
Time for a quick run through the new stuff from Rab for spring 2013, straight out of the recent OutDoor trade show in sunny, sausage-crazy Deutschland and there was a lot to take in, notably a new, ligher NeoShell jacket, new 2.5-layer eVent fabric and the brand's lightest ever waterproof shell.
Presumably not inspired by a Siouxie and the Banshees classic, the Myriad Jacket is a lighter alternative to the Stretch Neo jacket made from Polartec's acclaimed NeoShell waterproof fabric. In fact it's not that much lighter - think 410g for the new jacket versus 500g for the original, but every ounce counts when your counting ounces. Or something like that.
It uses a lighter weight version of the fabric, some 22g per sq/m lighter in fact, has no stretch, which means less heavy elastane content and features a full helmet hood and YKK Aquaguard zips, the ones with mechanically sealing teeth. It is, says Rab's Dan Thompson, a NeoShell take on the classic Latok Alpine shell. Price will be £240 and it stands out as one of the few NeoShell jackets that's an all-round mountain shell without an insulating backer.
Up Your Viper...
Also new on the waterproof front is the Viper Jacket made from a new 2.5-layer version of the highly breathable eVent fabric. The 2.5 layer bit means that on the inside, the membrane is protected by a partial print rather than a full layer of backing material (which is how three-layer fabrics work).
It should be as waterproof and breathable as full-weight eVent but significantly lighter. The Viper itself is a lightweight alpine-style mountain jacket with three chest pockets, pit-zips and a helmet hood. We managed not to write down the weight - we'll go digging in a minute - but price will be £200. That's premium for a 2.5-layer shell, but we'd expect very good breathability from eVent.
Does It Have A Pulse?
The lightweight, 2.5-layer Pertex Shield + range gets an addition too, in the shape of the Pulse Pull-On, unsurprisingly a pull-over version of the current Pulse Jacket complete with a proper hood and, at a claimed 180g, the lightest waterproof top Rab has ever produced. It'll sell for £130.
There's also a jaket called the Spark, effectively a Pertex Shield take on the eVent Momentum. Price £150.
The new Zephyr Jacket is another zoned soft shell jacket. It uses double weave stretch woven fabrics with a combination of lightweight stretch material for the main body - like the Boreas Pull-On - with a tougher, double-weave fabric in the arms. It has thumb-loops too and a very decent looking price of £65.
Also in the soft-shellish zone, there are new VapourRise Lite Pull-On and Vest options. We're dead impressed with the new VR-Lite Alpine we've been using and these take things a stage further again by combining the lightweight liner and shell with lightweight soft shell fabric at the sides and under the arms for more stretch and mobility. Interesting.
Finally, the Torque Pants are good-looking, rugged, mountain pants which come in bright colours for the Europeans and dull blacks, greys and charcoals for us lot over here. There's rip-stop fabric knee and hem reinforcement, a zip-fly, hand-warmer pockets, kick patches and knee articulation too. Not revolutionary exactly, but they look thoroughly competent and well thought out and, according to our notes, will sell for £80, which ain't at all bad really.
All the above are due out in early 2013. Details of the current Rab range can be found at www.rab.uk.com.