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Staff Review – Rab Vapour-rise Lite Alpine Jacket

By October 3, 2013Gear reviews
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The Rab Vapour-rise Lite Alpine Jacket is a vapour-rise jacket ‘on a diet’ according to Rab.  It is a stripped down version of the new Vapour-rise brought out by Rab this year.  And Rab certainly have trimmed the fat on this one.

At first glance it doesn’t look any different than the full Vapour-rise but on closer inspection there are a few subtle differences.  Gone are the two chest pockets and the pit vents under the arms.  The hood and body are exactly the same but the Vapour-rise lite has an 2 Napoleon pockets instead of the Vapour-rise’s one! Wow!  Now what makes it lite?

Rab have lost a lot of the weight in the outer shell and inner liner.  The Vapour-rise Lite has a Pertex Equilibrium Shell.  This is a layering system that offers windproof, breathable, high wicking and quick drying performance.  Inside is a 100% polyester micro fleece that packs a lot of warmth and keeps you pretty toasty on any winter day.

Where Rab have trimmed, to make it ‘Lite’, is on the Fabrics.  Compared to the Vapour-rise the Lite has shaved 66g/m2 of weight on the pertex outer and 45g/m2 micro fleece inner.  The Wind resistancy of the jackets is rather interesting and Rab measure the ‘Air Permeability’ of their garments in CC or CFM (the amount of wind that can get through the garment in Cubic Feet per Minute).

If you compare the two there isn’t too much in it but that depends if you’re standing on the top of Scafell or in the car park.  The Lite has a rating of 10cc and the Vapour-rise has a rating of 8cc.  The lower the number the more wind resistant the product.  So for 300g less weigh, it’s a small price to pay!

The design is very cool and the cut is great.  Features other than the pockets include Velcro adjustable cuffs, draw cord at the hem and collar and a nice hood with a wire rimmed peak.

I have had my Vapour-rise Lite for a few months now and it has been a great addition to me walking kit.  I’ve worn it all over the hills in the Lake District, punished it hiking in the Paklenica mountains of Croatia and had it shoved in a dry bag in the back of my kayak in the Alps.  It has supplied me with great protection from the wind in the hills and on the river side.

Rain beads on the Pertex Equilibrium outer very nicely and although I haven’t had it out in a complete downpour yet, the water resistancy is very good.  The V-R Lite supplies me with plenty of warmth and does a great job of taking moisture away from my skin.

This is the first time I’ve used a Vapour-rise top.  And that’s not because I dislike them, I just haven’t got around to buying one!  But I can see now why they are a staple bit of kit for any mountaineer.  They are comfortable, light, breathable and water resistant.  They can be wore as an outer shell, windproof, soft-shell and base layer.  The Vapour-rise Lite is light! And can be stuffed quite easily into a small dry bag.

The Rab Vapour-rise Lite Alpine Jacket is a versatile single layer that can be used for a multitude of outdoor sports.  It is breathable and warm enough to be used all year round and light enough to not bog you down.  The style is modern and fresh and the build quality is very good.  All in all a worthy addition to my kit bag!

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