New for spring 2012, all-round Rab mountain waterproof shell jacket in Pertex Shield + stretch fabric.
Just arrived is the new for spring 2012 Rab Volt Jacket, a sort of heavier, more all-round mountain-friendly big brother to the 203-gramme Pulse Jacket we reviewed last month.
Like the Pulse it uses a new, lightweight, 2.5-layer, stretch version of the fully waterproof Pertex Shield + fabric, but it's less of fast and light emergency shell and more of a lightweight all-round mountain jacket. That means more features including pit-zips and a longer cut, plus three pockets along with a helmet-hood with wired peak and it also means an all-up weight of 360g measured for our medium sample.
Classic Rab Features
Water-resistant zips feature all round and the jacket has Rab's classic technical mountain cut, which is to say close enough to be efficient but still handle a lightweight fleece mid-layer, a medium-length sort of cut and generously long sleeves, which reach the end of our finger-tips at full drape, meaning the cuffs absolutely, definitely won't pull up unless you sport the arms of a hyper-extended gibbon.
Those sleeves and cuffs are also loose enough to roll up for extra fore-arm cooling measures while the chest pockets are also mesh lined allowing for additional venting measures. That's no bad thing, as based on our experience with the Pulse, we'd say that the fabric's decent enough in breathability terms, but not on a par with eVent, NeoShell or Gore-Tex Active Shell.
Arguably that's less crucial with the more all-round orientated Volt, which is likely to see more steady use than the fast and light, hot and sweaty action-orientated Pulse. And of course there are pit-zips too, with double-ended zips.
Incidentally, as someone pointed out in many ways, the Volt is a similar spec to the new 2.5-layer Mammut Kento Jacket, which has a similar weight and spec, but lacks the Rab's helmet hood and wired peak. The other main difference is that the Mammut is cut slightly snugger. For the UK we think the Rab has the edge, though the Kento is undeniably a nice jacket.
The price is £150, though you'll be able to find it cheaper, as ever, if you shop around, and we'd tend to view it as a more affordable alternative to Rab's higher-end waterproof shells for mountain use, that's light and packable enough not to weigh you down on fast summer outings.
More details at www.rab.uk.com