7.4 oz. of 850 fill down (Men's L) — this only tell part of the story in terms of warmth. For starters, that amount of down puts the Infinity in the category of "light parka" along with the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios
, the Brooks Range Mojave
, and the Outdoor Research Incandescent
. The features and cut of the Rab Infinity, however, also play a part in overall warmth. The cut of this jacket is relatively short, falling higher on the hip than many other parkas, and covering less of the butt. Some of the other light parkas in this review are cut similarly (the Feathered Friends hooded Helios
for example) because less material means less overall weight. The result, however, is less warmth as the parka covers a smaller portion of your body. This is something to keep in mind when considering a lighter weight parka.
A winter jacket is designed to keep someone warm in cold conditions even if they are not moving. It is a basic warmth layer, regardless of activity level.
Hoods also play a role in the retention of warmth, keeping you more or less protected from cold and inclement weather depending on the degree of coverage they offer your head, face, and neck. The Rab Infinity, like the other lighter weight parkas in this review (mentioned above) and the heavier Patagonia Fitz Roy offers only moderate face coverage when the hood is up and jacket fully zipped. Additionally, the hood of the Infinity is non-adjustable - instead of an adjust cinch, the hood is lined around the face with elastic piping that holds it snug to your face. The elastic of the hood does a great job of keeping the hood on your head, but the lack of an adjust cord means it isn't possible to cinch the hood tight and hide away inside the hood during bad weather. Essentially, the primary advantage to this type of hood is simplicity. You'll likely find it quite nice, until the weather gets horrible, but of course the Infinity is not a parka designed for truly horrible weather in the first place. While this style of hood is common on lightweight parkas, and on many down jackets (see our Men's Down Jacket Review), there are still very light and warm for their weight garments that have fully featured hoods. The MontBell Mirage was our Down Jacket ReviewTop Pick and is a great example.
If you're in the market for a lightweight parka it is worth your time to peek at the MontBell Mirage from our Men's Down Jacket Review. We awarded the Mirage our Top Pick among down jackets for, among other things, its incredible warmth-to-weight ratio. The lightest parkas in this review are all about 16 oz. and indeed worth comparing to the Mirage if weight is a concern.
Compactness and Weight
The Rab Infinity weighs in at 16 oz. and contains 7.4 oz. of 850 fill down (Men's large). It is on the lighter end of the total-weight spectrum among jackets in this review along with the Brooks Range Mojave, the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios, and the Outdoor Research Incandescent. These jackets all weigh close to a pound and intend to deliver warmth at a low weight.
One of the benefits of lighter weight parkas is that they pack down so well — or "disappear into your pack" so to speak. The Infinity weighs one pound and has a very packable outer fabric and a minimum of features. If you're looking for a parka that takes up a minimum of space in your bag, the Infinity is a good choice. Rab offers warmer, more durable, more featured, and thus generally heavier parkas, if you so desire The Infinity is intended to be a light parka that you won't hesitate to bring along due to weight or size. It occupies a middle ground, offering significantly more warmth than a standard light down jacket (see our Men's Down Jacket Review), but noticeably less warmth and weather protection relative to the bigger, heavier parkas in this review.
Style and Construction
This jacket features sewn-through construction. This style of construction is generally cheaper, due to simplicity, and saves a bit of weight, but it is less warm than box-baffle construction due to heat leakage from the baffle seams. The sewn-through baffles on the chest of Infinity are smaller than normally seen and are square. This works well to keep the down from migrating around, but the end result is more individual baffles and thus more seams for heat to escape and for water to seep in if you're in wet weather (for a complete discussion of parka construction see our Men's Down Parka Buying Advice
article) This general design, of using smaller individual baffles is more common on lighter down jackets. The square shaped baffles certainly give this jacket a unique look however, especially in conjunction with the sheen of the Pertex Quantum GL fabric.
Rab Infinity and the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ice Pack.
The Infinity is light on features and thus has the Zen of simplicity. There are no hood adjustments (it is lined with elastic around the face to give a snug fit) and no wrist cuff adjustments. The cut is relatively short for a parka, coming down to the hip and not over the butt (see the above discussion under Warmth concerning this). The shorter cut allows for easy harness access if you're a climber, and the waist has two cinches, one on each side. The two zippered hand pockets are large and unlined. One of the comforts we like on the Infinity is the very large fleece patch that protects the face from the zipper when you zip the jacket up all the way. On the inside of the Infinity there is a medium sized zippered stash pocket for your small items. There is no external chest pocket.
It is worth noting that the Infinity competes closely with the Outdoor Research Incandescent. Overall the Infinity is a lighter weight jacket. However, the OR Incandescent has a longer more parka-style cut, and, perhaps of great concern to ice climbers, is designed to be packable into its own hand pocket and clippable to your harness. Both feature non-adjustable hoods and have very similar fabrics.
By using super-light 10 denier Pertex Quantum GL fabric Rab has kept the weight down and the packability high. That's the good news The bad news is that it isn't as weather resistant as some of the other fabrics found on jackets in this review. Another Pertex brand series fabrics for example, the Pertex Endurance fabrics, found on the Rab Neutrino Endurance, and the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios have a thin polyurethane coating that adds wind and water resistance. We've been impressed with the performance of both of these fabrics but the Endurance certainly adds more weather resistance. If you're concerned about weather resistance but like the design of the Infinity, be sure to check out the Rab Infinity Endurance, which though not specifically reviewed here, takes the Infinity design and beefs up the outer Pertex Quantum GL fabric with a Pertex Endurance coating.
The Infinity is light parka due in part to its very light outer fabric (Pertex Quantum GL). It is designed to be as light as possible, and durability is commonly a sacrifice made in the saving of weight. As a result, the Infinity is less durable than the beefier, and yes heavier, parkas in this review like the Mountain Hardwear Chillwave Jacket, or the North Face Nuptse 2, both of which feature very durable (and heavier) fabric.
Because of it's weight and packability the Rab Infinity is a great lightweight down parka for people looking to save space and weight in their pack. Great for climbing when you need a packable and simple belay jacket. If you're going to be using your parka in more severe weather conditions, consider the similar but more weather-resistant, and warmer Rab Neutrino Endurance
The Rab Infinity used as a belay jacket layered over a Arcteryx Atom LT and a Mountain Hardware Quasar, Hyalite Canyon, MT.
The Infinity is a good value if you're looking for a lightweight parka. If, however, you want the most warmth or more features your money will go further somewhere else. What you pay for here is high quality down and super-light outer fabric in a minimalist yet quality parka.