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Rab Xenon 2.0 Review

This impressively wind-resistant layer fights the elements, provides functional warmth, and easily fits into its own pocket
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Rab Xenon 2.0 Review (This jacket's wind resistance and solid DWR make it ideal as an outer layer during cold, windy, days with some...)
This jacket's wind resistance and solid DWR make it ideal as an outer layer during cold, windy, days with some precipitation.
Credit: James Lucas
Price:  $190 List
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Manufacturer:   Rab Equipment
By James Lucas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 2, 2023

Our Verdict

With a lower price tag than many premium jackets, the budget-conscious Rab Xenon 2.0 offers high wind resistance and impressive warmth retention in a lightweight, compressible package. An optimal choice for throwing on during windy days or windy sports, especially when the temperatures begin to drop, this jacket can be effectively layered over for use as a mid-layer. However, its poor breathability makes it a better choice as a lightweight insulated shell and an outer layer.
Weather resistant
Poor breathability
Unathletic fit

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rab Xenon 2.0 performed well as the outermost layer in our clothing system thanks to the lightweight recycled Primaloft Silver insulation and the Pertex Quantum windproof fabric outer that kept the jacket warm and windproof. We found the fit to be slightly tight on the back, which caused the sleeves to ride up a bit. We appreciate the jacket's ability to pack into its internal pocket as well as the unperforated (read: seam-free) sheet insulation over the arms and chest, which added to its weather resistance. Though it's not very breathable, this piece works great as a lightweight outer layer.

Performance Comparison

rab xenon 2.0 - the low cost of this jacket and the solid features make it a great...
The low cost of this jacket and the solid features make it a great value.
Credit: James Lucas


Though relatively light, the Xenon 2.0 uses 60g/m2 of PrimaLoft Silver insulation, which does a good job of retaining heat and boasts one of the better warmth-to-weight ratios of the jackets we tested. The addition of the elasticized, well-fitting hood and the adjustable hem further help trap heat.

While it does a great job of retaining heat, it's designed more as a lightweight piece than as a thick winter parka. Think of the Xenon as a spring or fall jacket or active outer layer for days when the wind is ripping or there's a chance of precipitation. We enjoyed it most often over a base layer and even used it quite a bit in conjunction with a more breathable active mid-layer for a very versatile layering setup.

rab xenon 2.0 - our testers liked the thin insulation of the piece and the jacket's...
Our testers liked the thin insulation of the piece and the jacket's ability to cut out the wind, which helped make it feel warmer.
Credit: James Lucas

Weight and Compressibility

If lightweight is one of your favorite attributes, then you will love the Xenon 2.0. The size medium weighed in at a mere 12.56 ounces, which was very nice given how warm the jacket is.

This jacket easily stuffs into its interior zippered chest pocket, which many of the other compressible jackets did not. Its ease of compression coupled with the small packed size helped its ranking here. There is a large and durable clip-in loop designed to hang from a climbing harness for when you need something more than a light wind shell.

rab xenon 2.0 - the jacket compresses easily into its left chest pocket and the clip...
The jacket compresses easily into its left chest pocket and the clip in loop allowed us to attach it to a harness, the outside of a pack, or just hang it in our tents.
Credit: James Lucas


When it comes to comfort and mobility, this jacket fared decently. We tested in while out bouldering in the Flatirons outside of Boulder, Colorado. However, we noticed that the sleeves felt a bit short, and the shoulders felt tight. We'd recommend going a size up if you're on the cusp. Our testers would have liked some slightly stretchier material in the jacket though the articulated elbows helped somewhat with the jacket's range of motion. Even without adjustment, the hood felt fairly comfortable and insulated well. You won't be able to fit a helmet underneath, though.

The slightly slippery 20D recycled Atmos ripstop lining lacks softness and the movement of some of the stretchier materials found in other active mid-layers. Reminiscent of the inside of a sleeping bag, the material crinkles and makes some noise while wearing it. These minor complaints affected some of the testers, while others weren't bothered by the difference in fabric.

rab xenon 2.0 - though the hood lacks adjustment, our testers liked the insulated...
Though the hood lacks adjustment, our testers liked the insulated feel and the elasticized rim felt comfortable.
Credit: James Lucas

Weather Resistance

The Xenon 2.0 thrives when it comes to weather resistance. Lightweight and packable recycled 30D Pertex Quantum ripstop fabric with fluorocarbon-free DWR makes up the outer fabric. We found it to be the most wind-resistant fabric in our comparative testing, making the jacket act like a well-insulated windbreaker. Since wind tends to attack us on ridges, on the slopes, and in the other areas we often play, we enjoyed the jacket's wind resistance as it positively contributed to its warmth, especially compared to jackets that use stretch fabrics.

While companies typically don't design insulated jackets to be waterproof, many are treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) application that causes water to bead up and run off rather than soaking into the jacket upon contact. Even after multiple uses, the fluorocarbon-free DWR on the Xenon 2.0 performed better than many competitors, with light rain and snow sliding off the jacket. While hiking in the cold and wet Flatirons of Colorado, our testers stayed fairly dry when the weather was a light sprinkle. When heavier precipitation fell, we needed a rain shell for more protection. Furthermore, this jacket dries out very quickly in the sun or a light breeze.

rab xenon 2.0 - water beading off the shoulder of the xenon 2.0. the dwr on this...
Water beading off the shoulder of the Xenon 2.0. The DWR on this jacket exceeded our expectations.
Credit: James Lucas


Designed more to be wind resistant than breathable, the Atmos fabric did poorly with letting out hot, moist air when our testers charged up hills around the foothills of Colorado. Expectedly, this jacket didn't do as well in terms of its breathability.

Some lighter, more air-permeable material would have allowed our testers to wear the piece while exercising, but that also would have cut down on the jacket's wind resistance. Ultimately, this piece works better as an outer layer and should be taken off when skinning, when hiking fast uphill, or when you need more airflow.

rab xenon 2.0 - shown here with the nebula pro (right), the xenon 2.0 acted more as...
Shown here with the Nebula Pro (right), the Xenon 2.0 acted more as a warmth piece than a breathable one, and we needed to remove it while charging uphill.
Credit: James Lucas

Should You Buy the Rab Xenon 2.0?

The Rab Xenon 2.0 ranks as one of the best insulated outer layers you can buy. Its impressive warmth, light weight, and wind resistance make it ideal as a decently warm option that will keep the wind from chilling you on cold mountain days. While the jacket could perform better in terms of its fit and breathability, the approachable price helps make it a great value and a solid choice in outerwear. We highly recommend this piece for adventurers on a budget.

What Other Insulated Jackets Should You Consider?

The Rab Xenon 2.0 did well across the board. If you want a similar version of this jacket, try the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, which weighs a bit less. For something more endurance-oriented, check out the Arc'teryx Atom Hoody.

rab xenon 2.0 - lightweight, packable, weather resistant, and inexpensive, this...
Lightweight, packable, weather resistant, and inexpensive, this jacket comes at a great value. Despite some minor flaws in fit and breathability, it ranked as one of the best.
Credit: James Lucas

James Lucas