Rab Microlight Alpine Review
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Rab Microlight Alpine
|Price||$224.00 at Backcountry|
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|$209.99 at Backcountry|
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|$209 List||$46 List|
$38.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Recycled outer and liner, DWR treated outer, zoned lightweight micro and nano baffle for better movement||Light, great compressibility, strong warmth to weight ratio compact||Warm, well-fitting, excellent styling||Inexpensive, lightweight,||Fit allows for layering underneath, soft inner liner, inexpensive|
|Cons||Heavy for the warmth, fair compressibility, could use higher fill down||Limited features, little adjustability||Poor weather resistance, slightly heavy||Sweater weight warmth, moderate adjustability||Thinner outer shell, less durable, not as warm as premium brands, not that compressible|
|Bottom Line||In a battle against the weather, this jacket can withstand the elements more so than other downs||A mountaineering jacket with high quality down and lightweight, this piece stands out for its functional simplicity||This classic down has a comfortable fit, excellent style, and plenty of warmth making it a reliable choice||This 800-fill jacket offers quality down at a reasonable price and little weight||A down jacket alternative that uses synthetic insulation that won't break the bank|
|Rating Categories||Rab Microlight Alpine||Mountain Hardwear G...||Patagonia Down Swea...||MontBell Superior Down||Amazon Essentials L...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Rab Microlight Alpine||Mountain Hardwear G...||Patagonia Down Swea...||MontBell Superior Down||Amazon Essentials L...|
|Down Fill||700-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||100% polyester|
|Total Weight||15.4 oz||8.5 oz||14.9 oz||8.7 oz||11 oz|
|Baffle Construction||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles|
|Main Fabric||30D ripstop nylon||10D ripstop nylon||100% ripstop polyester||10D nylon||Nylon|
|Compression Method||Stuff sack||Zips into pocket||Zips into pocket||Stuff sack||Stuff sack|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest||2 zippered hands, 1 internal||2 zippered hand|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This solid contender in our review features good warmth, excellent weather resistance, fits well, and has good features. Unfortunately, it's a bit heavy and bulky compared to some of the other jackets we reviewed. For a quality down jacket that can fight the weather, the Microlight does a great job.
The Rab Microlight Alpine offers lots of warmth. It uses recycled 700 fill-power down. While this fill power is fairly good, a few of the jackets in our review use 800 fill. The down quality could be a bit higher for this jacket, which would make it lighter for warmth and more compressible.
The jacket utilizes zoned lightweight micro and nano baffle stitch-through construction. On the front of the jacket, where there needs to be more warmth, the jacket employs micro baffles and on the sides, where there needs to be more mobility, the jacket has nano baffles. This feature really helps with the warmth and mobility of the jacket.
Our size men's medium hoody weighed in at 15.4 ounces, making it on the heavier side of the jackets that we reviewed. Rab could have cut this weight down by using 800 fill down or cutting out some of the features. Ultimately, the amount of warmth to the weight of the jacket makes the extra few ounces negligible.
Providing more great options for a great jacket, Rab makes a hoodless version. The Rab Microlight Jacket features a wrap-around collar in place of the hood. This version is slightly lighter and easier to layer over.
The Rab Microlight Alpine shines when the weather doesn't. Rab uses recycled 30D nylon Pertex Quantum for the outer and then treats it with a DWR (durable water repellent). Additionally, the jacket's 700 fill-down has a Nikwax hydrophobic (water-resistant) finish. These two features made it one of the most weather-resistant jackets that we tested.
When rain and hail poured down on our testers during hikes out from the Diamond in Rocky Mountain National Park, the water fell off the jacket. Even after a summer of afternoon thunderstorms, the Microlight's DWR still fought the rain. The brimmed hood also kept the water out of our testers' faces.
Like any down jacket, even one with the best DWR treatment and ideal finish on its down, if the Microlight sees a significant downpour or if the weather lasts for a long time, then a rain jacket will be needed to stay dry.
Unlike many of the boxy fitting down jackets, the Microlight Alpine tapers, allow for a more moveable style fit. Our thinner testers liked the jacket more than our broad-shouldered testers. The collar does come a bit high to the neck, which felt uncomfortable when our testers didn't use the hood. Layering under the jacket felt reasonable and putting a hard shell over the jacket still allowed for some mobility.
The Microlight Alpine does a decent job of packing down due to its 700 fill down. Rab packed a separate stuff sack with a large clip-in loop to easily store the jacket.
Having the stuff sack made putting the Microlight away easier but it's nicer when the jacket can stuff inside of its own pocket. That means there's one less thing to worry about. Even while compressed into the stuff sack, the Microlight was also too big for our testers to hang the jacket on their harnesses.
In terms of overall compressibility, the Microlight did a decent, but not amazing job.
The Microlight comes with quite a few nice features. The YKK zipped hand pockets and large zipped chest pockets are easily accessible and the pull cord closure on them can be grabbed even while wearing thin gloves.
The wire-brimmed hood helped keep precipitation out of our testers' faces, which they greatly appreciated. The hood also has two pull cord adjustments in the fleece-lined inner that cinch the hood tight, helping batten it down in inclement weather. The fleece also made the interior feel nice against our tester's skin.
On the sleeves, Rab used internally elasticated cuffs so the jacket didn't ride up our testers' forearms and the drawcord adjustable hem kept the jacket down and prevented the weather from blowing up into the jacket.
The features of the Microlight make it a pleasant jacket to wear and certainly add to the jacket's appeal.
Should You Buy the Rab Microlight Alpine?
The Rab Microlight Alpine offers a ton of great features, is highly water resistant, is warm, and has a solid fit for easy movement. If you're looking for a jacket to take into wet environments or if you just want an affordable piece for wearing around town, the Microlight Alpine provides.
What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?
This awesome hoody has an average price for a high-end lightweight down hoody. It secures a spot in the middle of our fleet and presents great value, particularly for its price. The Patagonia Down Sweater scores two points higher and can be purchased at a similar price point. If you have a bit more to spend on your new down jacket, theMountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 is our first choice, as it offers the highest level of performance in our fleet.
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