Rab Microlight Alpine Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Water resistant hydrophobic down, great DWR coating, well thought-out features
Cons: 700 fill power down is good but not as light or lofty as others
Compare to Similar Products
Rab Microlight Alpine
|Price||$183.55 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$194.99 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$209 List||$100 List|
$69.89 at REI
|Pros||Water resistant hydrophobic down, great DWR coating, well thought-out features||Incredibly light, compact, warm for its size and weight, effective hydrophobic down||Warm, hydrophobic down, comfortable, large pockets||Inexpensive, fully featured adjustability||Inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||700 fill power down is good but not as light or lofty as others||No hood cinch, no chest pocket||Expensive, non-adjustable waist hem, poor compressibility||Moderate warmth, noisy material, no internal zip pockets||Minimal features, boxy fit|
|Bottom Line||Excellent for wet weather because it has all the features to ensure the down stays dry||Offers high versatility, comfort, accommodation of movement, and light weight||This is a top-tier jacket with practical features and incredibly refined details||This down offers the warmth and quality of more premium choices at an approachable price point||This is an inexpensive jacket that is ideal for casual hiking and wearing around town|
|Rating Categories||Rab Microlight Alpine||Mountain Hardwear G...||The North Face Summ...||MontBell Superior Down||REI Co-op 650 Down...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Rab Microlight Alpine||Mountain Hardwear G...||The North Face Summ...||MontBell Superior Down||REI Co-op 650 Down...|
|Down Fill||700 fill power||800 fill RDS certified, down insulation||800 fill goose down||800 fill goose down||650 fill power down|
|Total Weight||15.4 oz||8.5 oz||14.43 oz||8.7 oz||10.44 oz|
|Baffle Construction||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles|
|Main Fabric||Pertex Quantum Fabric||Recycled polyester ripstop, DWR finish||Nylon pertex||10 denier ballistic airlight nylon||Recycled nylon taffeta|
|Compression Method||Stuff sack||Zips into pocket||Stuffs into pocket||Stuff sack||Stuffs into pocket|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest||2 zippered hand||2 hand, 2 internal, 1 chest||2 zippered hand||2 hand|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Microlight Alpine is an excellent pick if you need a packable insulation layer to use in moderately wet weather. It has just about everything we look for in a quality down jacket — warm, decent compressibility, relatively lightweight, and a comfortable fit — while pulling off the best combination of weather-resistant technologies. If you want the best water resistance, you can buy but still want your down jacket to act as a down jacket, look no further than the Microlight Alpine.
When it comes to warmth, we felt that this jacket was on par with other lightweight models in our review, despite using a "lower-quality" 700 fill-power down.
While 700 fill-power down is not the highest lofting down used in the jackets we tested, it is still pretty light. This jacket seemingly uses plenty of down in the moderately sized sewn-through baffles and pairs that with an easily sealable face closure. A few of the higher scoring down jackets are warmer, but this does a great job of combining moderate warmth with a tremendous amount of other worthy features.
Our size men's medium hoody weighed in at 15.4 ounces. This weight is not too shabby, but it could have been more competitive in this metric if they had gone with a higher fill power down and a few weight-saving construction methods. While we enjoy features like a brimmed hood, they ultimately tack on extra weight.
Like many of the hoodies featured in this comparative review, you can also find a hoodless version, the Rab Microlight Jacket. This jacket is essentially the same but has a wrap-around collar in place of the hood, making it easier to layer over.
This jacket combines Nikwax treated hydrophobic down with Pertex Quantum face fabric and a solid DWR coating to provide what is, in our opinion, the best water resistance that we have found in a down jacket.
In our testing, the DWR coating worked well, forcing all of the water we sprayed on it to quickly bead and fall off, even after months of testing had given the coating ample time to wear off, as they are prone to do. The performance of the DWR coating was on par with that found on the best jackets on the market today. While it isn't waterproof, no other contender offered the same combination of water-resistant features; combine these features with the deep wire-brimmed hood that uses the same design as hardshell jackets to keep water from falling into the face, and we were convinced. This was the best down jacket for wet weather that still preserved all the attributes that make down advantageous in the first place.
While this coat is spectacularly water-resistant for a down jacket, you should note, this coat will not replace a true rain layer. If you anticipate staying out in the rain for prolonged periods of time, you'll need to bring a hardshell in addition to this layer.
The Microlight Alpine is considered a slim fit. While we found this jacket to have a nice taper, it was the least restrictive of any of the "slim" fitting jackets we tested.
The coat has a loose enough fit that wearing a layer underneath is no problem, and we love the length of the sleeves and hem. If we have to make one minor complaint, we felt the collar was slightly snug around our neck when we chose not to wear the hood, but we still feel that this jacket has a nearly perfect fit.
This jacket comes with a dedicated stuff sack that has a huge clip-in loop.
The jacket is relatively easy to stuff in its stuff-sack but is a bit bigger and bulkier when fully stuffed due to it only having a 700 fill power and heavier fabrics and zippers. Compared to other jackets meant to be used for climbing, the compressibility was rather poor.
When we are closer to the front country, and packability and weight are less of an issue, we love a feature-laden jacket; this is one of the most well-featured jackets in our test. The hood on this jacket incorporates dual side-of-the-face drawcords that are super easy to cinch up the hood around the face for a great weather seal when it's bitterly cold out; this makes it the most adjustable hood and accomplishes the best seal against the elements. However, the "cord-locks" don't have a button to release tension, and instead, you need to use two hands to manually pull slack back through, which was quite challenging to do with gloved hands.
While the hood uses manual-release cord-locks that require two hands to loosen, the hem uses two standard cord-locks that are much easier to release, even with gloves on. However, they leave a loop of cord dangling down below the waist, which has the potential to get hung up on trailside branches or carabiners/gear when climbing.
This jacket also has a small bit of soft fleece to guard the chin, which does an excellent job of keeping your chin from chaffing. The elastic in the cuffs are great for keeping drafts out, and the zippered exterior chest pocket is colossal. We also love that the zippered handwarmer pockets remain accessible, even with a harness on, should you decide to tuck it in for winter climbing. For using it as a belay jacket, a two-way zipper would have been nice to keep the hem down.
The Pertex quantum is supposed to be wind and down-proof by way of a super tightly woven fabric, but we did find down feathers poking through from time to time, both on the interior and the exterior fabrics.
This awesome hoody has an average price for a high-end lightweight down hoody. Since we found it a high scorer in our comparative rankings, we think this presents a great value.
The Rab Microlight Alpine is one of the best down hoodies in our review, combining outstanding water resistance features with notable warmth in a relatively light package. It fit better than most jackets we tried, offering great freedom of movement combined with the ability to layer over or underneath it. Whether you want the advantages of down insulation in a wet climate or simply want an affordable and high-quality down jacket for use around town, this is one that we highly recommend.
— Buck Yedor & Adam Paashaus
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