Rab Valiance Hoody - Women's Review
Compare to Similar Products
Rab Valiance Hoody - Women's
$308.00 at Backcountry
$385.00 at Amazon
$409.00 at Feathered Friends
$280.00 at REI
$99.95 at REI
|Pros||Excellent weather resistance, very durable exterior, great coverage, superbly adaptable hood, surprisingly great packing system||Very warm, poofy and light, comfortable fit, mobility features, excellent adjustability||Very warm, super lightweight, highly compressible, versatile, great coverage, cozy and fluffy, high quality down, good wind resistance||Durable, weather resistant, athletic cut, good movement, versatile||Uncomplicated and effective design, thickly filled and puffy, layers well over thick fleece|
|Cons||Heavy and bulky, not very breathable, too much for mild climates||May be too warm for mild climates, hood volume adjustment is velcro rather than toggle||Harder to layer under a shell, lacks specific-use features, can see down through light colors||Narrower baffles compress down, slightly lower quality (recycled) 700 fill down||No hood option, hip length lacks coverage, lower quality down, loses feathers readily, when packed has no carabiner loop|
|Bottom Line||An exceptionally weatherproof jacket that eliminates the need for a shell and provides great coverage and warmth||An impressively warm jacket that offers a highly mobile fit, great adjustability, and cloud-like comfort||A very soft, poofy jacket that's filled with high-quality ultra-warm down and offers great everyday warmth in even the coldest climates||A durable, versatile, and very comfortable jacket that can handle many activities, from mountain to town||A pretty decent puffy jacket on a budget, though not without its flaws|
|Rating Categories||Rab Valiance Hoody...||Rab Neutrino Pro -...||Feathered Friends Eos||Rab Microlight Alpine||REI Co-op 650 2.0|
|Weather Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Rab Valiance Hoody...||Rab Neutrino Pro -...||Feathered Friends Eos||Rab Microlight Alpine||REI Co-op 650 2.0|
|Down Fill||700FP Recycled Down, Nikwax hydrophobic||800FP European Goose Down, hydrophobic Nikwax||900+ fill down||Recycled 700 fill power down||650 fill goose down; Responsible Down Standard certified|
|Outer Fabric||30D Pertex Shield 2L, ripstop, fully taped, DWR finish||20D recycled Pertex Quantum Pro, ripstop||Pertex Quantum brushed ripstop nylon with DWR||Recycled 30D nylon Pertex Quantum ripstop, DWR finish||Recycled nylon taffeta, DWR finish|
|Weight, size small (ounces)||21.9 oz||18.5 oz||10.3 oz||13.5 oz||9.9 oz|
|Hem Type||Drop hem (large)||Drop hem (large)||Drop hem (small)||Drop hem (large)||Drop hem (small); hip length|
|Pockets||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 external zippered chest||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 external zippered chest||4; 2 zippered hand, 2 internal slip|
|Cuff Construction||Velcro; longer on backs of hands||Elastic and velcro||Lycra (elastic)||Elastic (overhanging baffle)||Elastic|
|Adjustment Points||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees, single back-of-hood bungee, velcro cuffs||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees, velcro back-of-hood, velcro cuffs||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees||Dual hem bungees|
|Stow Option||Stuff sack (roll-top) + carabiner loop||Stuff sack included (drawstring) + carabiner loop||Stuff sack included (drawstring) + carabiner loop||Stuff sack included (drawstring) + carabiner loop||Packs into hand pocket|
|Other Notable Features||Waterproof exterior, fully-taped seams, first cuff baffle and hood are filled with synthetic insulation, wire-stiffened projected hood brim, water-resistant hand pocket zippers, felt chin guard||Helmet-compatible hood, 2-way zipper, wire-stiffened projected hood brim, twisted sleeve baffles for greater mobility, felt chin guard, large velcro loop at nape of neck||N/A||Felt chin guard, wire-stiffened projected hood brim||N/A|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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