The Rab Endurance Neutrino (rrp £220)
The other day I was sitting having lunch at the crag, wearing this jacket, and a lady came up to me.
“I want your jacket,” she said, narrowing her eyes with blatant gear-envy. “Where did you get it? You look so warm in it, and it’s such a beautiful colour.” She then reached out a hand towards the jacket’s fluffy baffles. For a minute, I really thought she was going to try and pinch it.
For me, Rab’s main work of genius is their down jackets. If any of your friends own a Rab down jacket or vest then I bet, outside in the winter, they are always wearing it. This jacket is one is one of the top end women’s down jackets on the market, so it’s no wonder it causes such gear-envy.
The Pertex 'Endurance' outer is water resistant, which means that you can wear it in snow and light showers. The fabric has a soft, shiny, tactile appearance. Inside, the Pertex Quantum inner is super lightweight and soft. Put it on when you’re freezing outside, close your eyes and you’ll think you just got back into bed. The jacket is also remarkably breathable considering how warm it is.
The Neutrino Endurance is incredibly light and fluffy, and that’s because the down inside is the best quality that Rab use: 750+ fill power European goose down. It’s incredibly light, incredibly fluffy and very easy to pack. It packs down into its own little stuff sac for travelling but Rab recommend you don’t store it like this.
All the little details make a big difference, too: firstly – it’s a bit longer than similar jackets I’ve tried, so it keeps you a bit warmer. Then it’s got fleece inside the hip pockets to keep your hands toasty, and the same fleece around the collar (which extends high enough to keep your neck warm) so it is soft around your neck/chin. There are, of course, the necessary toggles, elastic and Velcro around the cuffs/hem to keep the cold out.
The hood is my favourite addition, though – it is generously peaked and is the perfect shape for a helmet worn under it; or, you can pull the toggles so that it wraps around your face, becoming a sort of mega-balaclava.
Verdict: A brilliant jacket for cold weather rock-climbing, winter mountaineering and for keeping in your bag for when walking in case of emergencies. Downside: you might want to insure it in case it gets nicked.
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