We really wanted to love this thin essentialist jacket from Rab but found it to be a little lacking in some critical areas. It has excellent waterproof zippers all around, is a surprisingly good wind block, and sports one of our favorite hoods of any model we tested. However, the zipper gets caught absurdly easily, the crinkly plasticky fabric collects condensation inside, and it seems to soak up water under trying conditions. We think this jacket could stand some serious usability improvements to make it a truly exceptional piece of gear.
Rab Downpour - Women's Review
Cons: Will collect condensation, zipper catches storm flap, fabric soaked up water, difficult to fit into its pocket
Manufacturer: Rab Equipment
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Downpour is a thin raincoat made of 100% polyamide with polyurethane laminate on ripstop fabric with fully taped seams. It has two hand pockets that are located a little higher up for a backpack waist belt, and packs into its own left pocket, though it's a pretty tight squeeze.
We were rather concerned when we saw the texture of the Downpour's fabric change after letting water sit on it for 40 minutes, but it didn't seem to soak through to the inside. All of our rain and pressure testing proved this thin jacket has what it takes to keep you dry inside. However, it won't keep you very warm but fortunately fits over other layers just fine. This jacket has one of our favorite hoods among all the models we've tested over the years.
A flexible polymer in the brim acts like a flattened wire and can be easily shaped to stop rain from going into your eyes. With dual adjustments to the hood, this coat has no problem keeping glasses-wearers from taking on much precipitation. The Downpour also has dual storm flaps to help keep you dry. We were at first worried that they wouldn't be very effective, with just a top and bottom snap and no velcro in between, but it stays in place remarkably well against the wind and weather.
Because it's so thin and plasticky, the Rab isn't the best-feeling against your skin. The hood tightening toggles also aren't attached to the hood, so you need two hands to tighten or loosen each side. This is pretty inconvenient if it's already raining, as drops can roll right up your sleeve while you're busy messing with the hood toggles. The dual adjustment spots on the hem are attached to the jacket, though, which makes them much easier to use. This jacket also has one of the most impressive drop hems we tested, dropping a full 6.5 inches from front to back (on the size small). It also has some of the longest arms we tested. While this could be annoying if you aren't a fan of sleeves covering your hands, the cuffs can easily be velcroed smaller to prevent them from falling down too far. And when you need to reach your hands up in the air, you'll appreciate the extra length that helps keep your wrists from being exposed.
The Downpour is a great wind-blocking jacket, though it loses out a little bit when it comes to breathability. It does have pit zips that are a decent 11 inches long, but if you're out working up a sweat, expect some condensation build-up inside this crisp jacket. If you're after a raincoat that you can wear during high output activities and still stay dry inside, this is not one we would recommend.
It features ripstop material and decent construction and seams. While we think it's adequate for everyday use and some light adventuring, it doesn't appear to be up for rough and tumble use. It's quite thin and doesn't exude durability like some other models we tested. Typically, we see Rab selling burlier raincoats and hardshells that are more likely to withstand that kind of abuse than this simple, light jacket.
Weight and Packability
At 10.4 ounces, the Downpour is above average weight among contenders, though not by much. It does pack into its left pocket, but it's a pretty darn tight squeeze, and that stiff brim we like so much for its protection becomes a hindrance here. If you want a jacket to stuff in the bottom of your pack for emergencies, this one isn't our first choice by far.
The Downpour is among the cheaper jackets we tested, which we appreciate. It's a pretty decent performing jacket for its price. However, we feel that some of its usability features are a bit lacking. Other raincoats we tested cost about the same that we think they provided better performance. The Rab isn't an overrated item, and with a few upgrades, it could be an impressive contender in this category.
As much as we love the hood on this jacket and its bold color options, it leaves a little to be desired when it comes to actual usability. From challenging toggles and annoying zippers to its crinkly, sweat-condensing propensity, the Downpour has a ways to go before it becomes a favorite option for our team.
— Maggie Brandenburg