The Rab Nucleus Hoody was redesigned in 2018, and we love the changes. The new material is stretchy and comfortable, with a high range of motion in the arms and shoulders. The full-length zipper lets you take it on and off easily, and the zippered hand pockets help you secure your valuables. It functions as both a technical and casual layer. It can be used with a climbing harness or belt, but the zippers aren't high enough to be accessed while doing so. It breathes well and will get you from point a to point b, thermoregulating all the way. We love the price, making it a high-value technical fleece option.
Rab Nucleus Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, breathable, full-length zipper and a hood
Cons: Not very warm, no weather resistance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Nucleus is made with a "Thermic" stretch fleece. Rab calls it a mid-weight fleece, but it feels more like a lightweight option. It's light, breathable, and will get you from your car, high into the mountains without a problem. It's a great option if you're looking for a technical fleece that is inexpensive relative to the competition.
The Nucleus sacrifices warmth for breathability and easy layering. It's one of the thinnest pieces in our test group, and it's made for moving fast in the mountains and not hanging out at camp in cold weather. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as we often need something that will keep us warm on cool days without overheating our bodies.
The Nucleus is a fairly comfortable layer for several reasons. The interior gridded fleece is soft, and it feels nice against your bare skin — not scratchy at all! The hood is form-fitting but not too tight, and the cut is tapered but not too constricting. We like that the hood fits easily underneath a helmet. It's not quite as plush as other hi-loft models, but we don't mind wearing it all day long. It also features two handwarmer pockets that you can access with a backpack or harness on.
This jacket is highly breathable thanks to the gridded fleece. It feels on par with other technical fleeces that are featured as top picks and award winners in this review. We took it hiking, climbing, and running, and it performed well in all seasons, thanks to its fantastic thermoregulation. The fabric features Grid technology that allows moisture to easily vent from the cracks between the islands of insulation. This, in addition to the pockets, offers some level of ventilation, making it a perfect pick for aerobic sports.
Layering Ability & Ease of Movement
The Nucleus is super easy to layer. It works over a thin underlayer, like a sweat-wicking t-shirt or tank top, and then it also layers well under a thicker soft-shell jacket or a windbreaker jacket. The material is stretchy, and there is ample room in the shoulders for climbing or other active pursuits. The full-length zipper is not our favorite option for wearing under a pack or harness, as it can cause pressure points, but the length is long enough so that it doesn't ride up.
Fleece jackets are not known for their weather resistance, and this one scored about how you might expect a thin fleece would — not very well! Water absorbs straight into the material, and the wind rips right through it.
This jacket retails for less than our Editors Choice, making it an attractive pick for the price.
The Rab Nucleus is a lightweight technical fleece that stands out for its great breathability and features. Consider it as a low-priced technical fleece that'll perform for all winter, fall, and spring days. Even wear it on cooler nights in the Summer.
— Amber King & Cam McKenzie Ring