New for next year, lighter eVent and NeoShell waterproof jackets from UK brand Rab.
We popped over to see the guys at Rab the other week primarily for a preview of the new autumn 2012 range, but also for a sneak preview of a couple of neat new waterproof jackets due to launch in early 2013 with a new, lighter-weight eVent fabric and a lighter NeoShell alternative.
New Viper Jacket - 'Cheaper And Lighter'
Up till now the impressively breathable eVent waterproof fabric has been available mostly as a three-layer fabric, but for next spring there's a new 2.5-layer version on the block. That means that instead of having a full weight backer, eVent DVL - Direct Venting Light' - uses a print on the inside of the membrane to protect it from damage.
It's designed to be made into light, fast-moving garments, which is what Rab's Viper Jacket is - it's a full mountain shell complete with a helmet hood, water-resistant zips and pit-zips. And because there's no PU to impede access to the millions of tiny micropores in the fabric, eVent say it breathes incredibly well and, they say, is comfortable against the skin even when you're working hard, which isn't always the case with 2.5-layer stuff.
And the good news is that it's also cheaper as well as being lighter. The mountain-friendly Viper will sell for £200 and weighs a claimed 400g, so not ultra lightweight, but pretty good never the less.
Maverick Jacket And Pants
There's also a more general, outdoors-orientated Maverick Jacket and Pants ensemble for both men and women in the same fabric. Effectively the new jacket replaces the slightly long-in-the-tooth Drillium. It weighs 380g, has a non-helmet, roll-away hood and two chest pockets and will sell for £180.
The half-zip matching Maverick Pants, again in both men's and women's versions, again replace the Drillium alternative and will be priced at £110.
Myriad Jacket - Lighter Neoshell
Polartec's NeoShell was a big critical success in 2012, but ironically, while reviews, including us, loved the fabric for its outstanding breathability and pleasant stretch, it was hard to find as a standard waterproof jacket. In fact Rab's Stretch Neo was one of the few versions out there.
For spring 2013 though, there's a new lighter shell, the Rab Myriad Jacket. Like the Stretch Neo, it's a full-on mountain animal with a helmet hood, but it's slightly lighter than and has a different feel to the fabric than the Neo.
There's a helmet hood and two chest pockets, pretty similar to a Latok Alpine in cut and with normal rather than Napoleon pockets as seen on the Neo. So what is the weight difference? Not huge, think 410g compared to about 500g for the Neo, but we reckon it's a sleeker, more alpine sort of beast compared to the Neo's 'all-mountain' design.
Price for the Myriad will be £240.
A Couple Of Other Bits And Bobs
Also new in the waterproof range is a smock version of the ultra-lightweight Pulse jacket in Pertex Shield + 2.5-layer fabric. Like the jacket, the Pulse Pull-On has a helmet hood, elasticated cuffs, a single drawcord hem and packs into its own pocket.
A neat touch is a single press-stud at the next, so even if you open the deep zip for venting, the top of the opening can be held together for neatness. The crucial numbers are 180g and £130. Not bad for an ultra-light mountain shell that should team well with a soft shell top for summer use.
And that's it for now. All the above should be in the shops for spring 2013, which in the odd world of the outdoors industry means February or March. More Rabism at www.rab.uk.com.