Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $110
Pros: Two generous chest pockets, very light, folds into its own pocket, buckle to stow hood when not in use.
Cons: No way to tighten hood, expensive, hard to find.
Best Uses: Biking, hiking, backpacking, just-in-case rain protection, general outdoor use.
The Rab Cirrus is very similar in both quality and materials to the Patagonia Houdini. Both are among our favorite lightweight wind jackets. The Patagonia Houdini edges just ahead because it packs a little smaller and the hood seals out wind better. That said, the Rab has two hand pockets where the Houdini has none. This makes the Rab a lot better for storing extra gloves and hat on a day hike. It also has a cool buckle to put away the hood. So while we like the Houdini a little better, both jackets are awesome. The Rab Cirrus is a little less expensive.
Compared to the Editors' Choice Arcteryx Squamish, the Rab is lighter but the Squamish is more useful for a wider variety of activities. We prefer the Squamish, but if you are mainly getting this jacket for ultralight hiking and biking, the Rab might be the better call.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
After testing many wind jackets that only had a chest pocket, it was refreshing to test a jacket like this Cirrus that had two generous hand pockets. This let us store extra stuff, and may help ventilate the jacket when the pockets are left open.
The Cirrus is the one jacket that has a buckle to bunch up and secure the hood when not wearing it. This works great when biking because you don't have an extra hood flapping around.
This jacket was about as good as the Houdini at sealing out rain and wind. Both handled light rain well for about an hour before dampness started to seep in at the shoulders. Both jackets used 15 denier fabric with DWR coatings and feel very similar (even though they are two different fabrics).
Like a few other light Rab jackets we have tested, there is no drawstring or tightening mechanism for the hood. When the wind kicks up, it's hard to keep it out.
While we like the bigger hand pockets, it does make the Rab less compact than the Houdini when stowed in its own pocket. This would not even be noticeable if it weren't for the fact that the Houdini is so light and compact by comparison.
This jacket and many Rab products are currently hard to find in the US. And unlike the Houdini, it is much harder to find on sale.
As with most Rab jackets, we needed to size up. The Small fit pretty well everywhere except the chest, where it was way too small (our main tester was 5' 10" 155 lb).
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: January 10, 2013
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