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Rab Valiance Hoody - Women's Review

An exceptionally weatherproof jacket that eliminates the need for a shell and provides great coverage and warmth
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Rab Valiance Hoody - Women's Review
Credit: Rab
Price:  $415 List
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Manufacturer:   Rab Equipment
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 6, 2023
  • Warmth - 30% 9.0
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Portability - 20% 4.5
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 9.5
  • Breathability - 10% 3.0

Our Verdict

If you live in a place that's windy, rainy, or experiences heavy snow frequently, a down jacket alone is likely not enough to protect you from the elements. Enter the Rab Valiance. This unique coat has an extended torso with an exaggerated drop hem and additional layers to its warm downy interior that add serious protection from the elements without having to put on a shell. Fully taped seams and water-resistant hand pocket zippers help keep you protected. Its oversized hood fits over any beanie and even some helmets, while still being adjustable enough to wear over your bare head and it sports Rab's signature wire-stiffened brim. It's one of the few models we tested with velcro-adjustable cuffs and sleeves that are longer across the backs of your hands. For heading out to brave the elements, we love the warmth and protection of the all-in-one Valiance. Our best women's down jacket review details how it stacks up versus competing products.
Excellent weather resistance
Very durable exterior
Great coverage
Superbly adaptable hood
Surprisingly great packing system
Heavy and bulky
Not very breathable
Too much for mild climates

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rab Valiance is a unique down jacket that's built into its own weatherproof exterior. It features a 30D ripstop Pertex Shield 2L exterior, a DWR finish, and fully taped seams, and is filled with recycled 700 fill down that's been treated to be hydrophobic. Its larger fit features a longer cut with an exaggerated drop hem. It weighs a whopping 21.9 ounces but packs up easily into its included roll-top stuff sack/dry bag.

Performance Comparison

rab valiance hoody for women - the valiance is a down jacket and hardshell all in one.
The Valiance is a down jacket and hardshell all in one.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


Insulated with 700 fill power recycled down, the Valiance is a medium-thick jacket utilizing medium-quality down. However, its exterior and many of its features propel it to become one of the warmest standalone jackets in our lineup. The 30D exterior is one of the thickest of any we tested and is a 2 layer water and wind shell with fully taped seams. In the face of stiff frigid winds, the Valiance is one of the only down jackets we tested that can truly stop the cold from seeping through the seams — because it has its shell already attached to the jacket.

While previous versions of the Valiance were shorter, hip length jackets, this version is long all over, offering extended coverage where we need it most. Our lead tester is 5'4" and can cinch this coat (in size Small) fully underneath her bum to keep the cold out and the heat in. The sleeves are also longer than nearly every other jacket we tested. This can be overwhelming for those with shorter arms, but our testers with average and longer arms love the extra coverage — especially from the extensions on the backs of our hands. Velcro adjustments allow you to cinch them closed over gloves, as well. We also love the Valiance's hood, which is very versatile and even fits over our ski helmet (though barely!). Its tall chin, adjustable volume, and wire-stiffened brim make it highly adaptable to keep you warm no matter the weather.

rab valiance hoody for women - the valiance is one of very few down jackets to have long...
The Valiance is one of very few down jackets to have long, adjustable cuffs.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


If you're the type of person who wears a lot of layers to stay warm in the winter and then puts on your jacket to go outside, you'll appreciate the extra room inside the Valiance. It's also comfortable against our skin, without such a strong plasticky feeling like some other jackets can have. Though its rather long cut and “regular” spacious fit may not be the most fashionable, it's quite comfortable to wear.

The Valiance doesn't have any mobility-enhancing features, so if you're heading out to climb a mountain, this isn't the easiest option to move in. If you find yourself needing to stretch out to stop the dog from lunging after a squirrel or push your child on the swing set, the additional coverage of this jacket will help keep you protected. It's rather bulky and stiff compared to others, and much better suited to casual wear. The felt chin guard is a much-appreciated feature for those frigid days.

rab valiance hoody for women - a large felt patch inside the chin makes it very comfortable and...
A large felt patch inside the chin makes it very comfortable and cozy to wear the Valiance zipped all the way up.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


This is, by far, the heaviest and bulkiest down jacket we tested, weighing 21.9 ounces. When hanging it in your closet, it's not a huge deal. It's worth noting that while you may not always be counting the ounces, the Valiance also feels like a heavy jacket while we're wearing it. We found that to be a comfort on truly cold days, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. And if you were to add the weight of an “average” down jacket to the weight of your average shell, the heavier weight of the Valiance starts to feel a bit more reasonable.

The Valiance comes with a stuff sack for easy portability. This unique bag is actually a roll-top dry bag, allowing you to compress this heavy jacket into a surprisingly small package for easier transport in a suitcase. We found it easier than expected to cram this bulky coat into its bag. It takes a little patience to wait for the air to be released as you squeeze it, but not a lot of effort to do so. And once the top was rolled down and the Valiance was all packed away, we were very impressed with its small packed size.

rab valiance hoody for women - despite its bulk and weight, the valiance compacts impressively into...
Despite its bulk and weight, the Valiance compacts impressively into its included roll-top dry bag stuff sack.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Weather Resistance

Here, we find where the Valiance shines brightest. Wind and rain and wet, heavy snow proved no match for its 30D Pertex Shield 2 layer exterior complete with fully taped seams, water-resistant (Aquaguard) pocket zips, and a DWR finish. Even the down within is treated with Nikwax to be hydrophobic, helping to keep you warm even if the weather is really sour.

It's hard to compare the weather resistance of the Valiance to any other jacket in our lineup, as none of the others come close to offering this level of protection. It's better compared to the protection you would expect from a hardshell jacket, eliminating the need to layer over this down coat.

rab valiance hoody for women - the valiance even has watertight zippers for the hand pockets.
The Valiance even has watertight zippers for the hand pockets.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


As you might expect, the exceptional warmth and weather resistance of the Valiance come at the expense of breathability. Both the warm down interior and the shell-like exterior do a great job at trapping heat but aren't designed to easily expel it.

The Valiance has no additional features to help vent, either. And since it's a down jacket and a shell all rolled into one coat, it's harder to cool down without just taking the whole thing off. We think this jacket is best suited to low-intensity activities in moderate cold, or medium-intensity activities in freezing conditions. We liked wearing it best to ski on a brisk morning and head to the store in a snowstorm.

rab valiance hoody for women - this jacket is designed to keep heat in; it's far less ideal for...
This jacket is designed to keep heat in; it's far less ideal for letting heat escape when you get sweaty.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Should You Buy the Rab Valiance?

The Valiance is a great purchase for folks living in harsh conditions where a down jacket alone doesn't quite cut it. The rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest or the frigid winds of the Midwest are excellent playgrounds for this seriously protective jacket. If your most-experienced conditions are milder, drier, or less blustery, you may want to consider a regular down jacket without an outer shell instead.

rab valiance hoody for women - the impressive protection and coverage of the valiance make it worth...
The impressive protection and coverage of the Valiance make it worth two jackets for the price of one.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?

When the weather is really acting up, we love the simplicity of throwing on the Rab Valiance without having to layer a shell over top. It provides great protection for casual outings in the elements. For more technical pursuits where mobility and warmth are key, the highly mobile Rab Neutrino Pro is a supremely warm puffy that keeps us covered no matter how hard we play. For a warm, versatile jacket that can easily layer under a shell when needed (but works and feels great on its own), the Arc'teryx Cerium is an excellent choice.

rab valiance hoody for women - cold windy days in the mountains are no match for the rab valiance.
Cold windy days in the mountains are no match for the Rab Valiance.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Maggie Nichols