The Momentum Jacket is the latest addition to Rab's very popular range of eVent hard shells. Conceived as an ultra light alpine climbing jacket, the Momentum also crosses boundaries into the worlds of adventure racing and mountain marathons.
First thing you notice about the Momentum is the weight. By using a very lightweight face fabric Rab have managed to shave over 100g off the Latok Alpine - their ‘classic' eVent shell. At 340g the Momentum doesn't fall into the ‘crazy light' category, but it's not far off. Certainly, when considering the cut and features the Momentum offers, you get a lot of jacket for those 340g's.
Face-fabric of the Rab Momentum jacket.
As the Momentum is, first and foremost, a mountain jacket, the hood easily accommodates a helmet and provides good protection to the user. A rear draw-cord adjusts the volume and two front draw-cords give a good fit around the face. Although I usually prefer a laminated brim to a simple wired one, I must admit that in the Momentum's case, the design worked very well. The hood rolls down and is kept in place by a small tab - a useful feature for running/biking use. The collar also comes up nice and high offering good protection and the micro fleece lined chin guard made for a comfy seal around the face.
The Rab Momentum with Black Diamond Half-Dome Helmet under the hood.
The Momentum's fit is especially good. I had a size large to test which is arguably a little roomy for me - especially in the torso area where I prefer a trim fit for use with a harness. After subsequently trying a medium I found that to be perfect. The sleeves are a good length and offer total freedom of movement. The cuffs are neat and simple and open wide enough to go over gloves in winter, or when rolled up for extra ventilation in warmer conditions. Centre back length on my large is 80cm. I'm not the tallest guy in the world, but I do appreciate at least some rear coverage, which the jacket does provide. The front is fairly short, good when wearing a harness, but the drop tail ensured a little extra protection at the back. Overall the Momentum's fit strikes a good balance between offering decent protection and freedom of movement, without having excess fabric and therefore weight.
Elsewhere, features are pretty minimal - two chest pockets provide reach across access to anything up to and including OS map size. Neat zip tabs make using the water resistant front and pocket zips easy, although a little more stiffening/lamination of the interior flap behind the front zip would make the zipper run a little smoother.
Chest pocket with zipper garage.
Rab use a lightweight 3 layer eVent fabric over the entire jacket. As weight is a primary concern, the Momentum doesn't get any more abrasion resistant materials in higher wear areas. I found the face fabric resisted wear pretty well - although I probably haven't used it extensively enough to really comment on this. Water repellancy of the face fabric is also good.
Where the Momentum (and admittedly any other eVent jacket also) comes up trumps is in the breathability stakes. It's generally accepted that the eVent membrane is the most breathable, waterproof membrane out there and after using the Momentum, along with other eVent jackets, I would have to agree. Without doubt it's still possible to over haul the membrane and experience condensation inside the garment. However I definitely found the Momentum dried very quickly, when this was the case.
It's difficult for me to write too many negative points about the Momentum. I've no doubt that many people would prefer the chest pockets to be conventional ‘hand' pockets and not reach across napoleon style ones. This does, however, reflect on the fact that the Momentum is very much designed for the active user, who is less likely to need/want a pair of hand pockets.
The Momentum's construction is also fairly basic - there is no use of modern lamination techniques or fabric welding. Fairly narrow seam tape has been used in certain areas to improve breathability and flexibility, though there is certainly narrower tape out there. I'd also prefer the hem draw cord to be captured so it can be tightened with one hand - this is a minor gripe though. This basic construction does mean Rab can keep the RRP down to an astonishingly good value for money price at £160.
Overall I've really enjoyed using the Momentum and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a lightweight hard shell. It's ideal for alpine climbing, especially when used as a hard shell in a modern soft shell clothing system. Its low weight means that it will be noticed less in your pack than heavier, more traditional mountain jackets, and you'll appreciate the superior breathability when worn over a soft shell in wet or stormy conditions. I suspect most climbers would prefer something a bit more robust for Scottish winter routes, although those in favour of a ‘fast and light' ethos will love it. Don't expect the face fabrics to last through too many seasons of thrutchy Cairngorm granite chimneys though.
Whilst it's not the absolutely ideal shell for adventure racing or mountain marathons, there being simpler, lighter garments out there, you could certainly do a lot worse. The Momentum would also cut it as a lightweight hill walking or backpacking jacket, or simply as a general purpose summer waterproof as the pack size is so small. At £160 it represents fantastic value for money and there aren't many other hard shells out there offering such good performance for such a reasonable price.
|Rab Momentum Jacket|
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