We break down this season’s lightweight Rab insulative jackets and give you our opinion on which is best.

As Summer soon comes to a close, it is time to be thinking all about your cold weather gear. With shorter, colder days ahead it may be time to consider something new and what better way of upgrading your collection than with a new insulative jacket. The masters of insulation themselves, Rab are of course back with two of their most popular jackets. Both lightweight and packable, the Microlight and Cirrus jackets represent superb options at each end of the down and synthetic insulation debate. Each jacket is very well received and highly praised for its versatility, both being great for countless activities including hiking, camping, climbing, alpine mountaineering, and many more. They also make great jackets for just every day with both being smart enough to wear to and from the workplace or if you work outdoors in general.
Today we’re going to be breaking down each jacket to their materials and talking about just what makes each so good at what they do. We’ll start with the Microlight.

The Rab Microlight Jackets

One of the most popular items in our range, the Rab Microlight is an incredibly well praised jacket. Available in several forms including the hooded alpine version as well as a vest, the Microlight is also available in a great range of colours to suit you. Last year in a decent effort to be better on the planet, Rab made the decision to source only 100% recycled down for their new range of Microlights and this year is no exception. Rab source their recycled down from P.U.R.E, a manufacturer based in Italy who gather down from high-quality, discarded down products such as duvets and pillows. They wash and treat this down and revitalise it, recreating a recycled product which performs as if it was brand new. The Microlight jacket uses 700FP Recycled down which has been treated with a Nikwax solution, ensuring that the down can repel more water than a standard down cluster, this gives you enough time during sudden downpours to quickly get into your pack and pull out a waterproof. Down which gets soaked through simply will not insulate.
The jackets for their weight have proven to be superbly durable and surprisingly tough for insulated jackets with windproof, recycled 30D Pertex Quantum outers, ripstop patterns in the material ensure that cuts in the outer won’t tear easily allowing easy repair in dire conditions. The outer is also greatly water-resistant. The microlights inner is a 100% recycled polyamide which is soft and smooth on the skin as well as being very lightweight. The Microlight comes with a stuff sack and thanks to its down insulation, packs down very nice and small fitting into any pack or bag with ease.

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The Rab Cirrus Jackets

On the other side of the argument, we have the Cirrus jacket. Very similar to the Microlight in many ways, the obvious difference of course is the Cirrus’ synthetic insulation. Though not quite as breathable, synthetic insulation is of course far superior in wet conditions with the Cirrus’ recycled Primaloft Silver Luxe insulation performing upwards of 90% of its effectiveness even when soggy. The Cirrus comes in several different options including a hooded version, the Cirrus flex which uses non insulated, highly breathable side panels for fast moving activity as well as an Alpine version optimised for mountain use.
The Cirrus utilises the same outer material as the microlight, 30D recycled Pertex Quantum meaning excellent water-resistance, wind proofing and good protection against scuffs and scrapes. The Cirrus inner is made up of a 20D nylon ensuring good strength and durability, this is important as the jacket stuffs into its own pocket and is sealed nicely with the zip, for this a strong material is required.

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Our Verdict

Both jackets make use of full length, high-quality YKK Vislon zips and each include two hand pockets, a chest pocket and one inner. The question is however, despite a lot in common … Which option would we take out on the hill come the chilly season?
In truth, this is of course an answer swayed by our conditions and intended activity and we simply cannot give a jacket for every situation. If we are in cold and dry conditions, the answer for us would undoubtedly be the Microlight jacket, the down is more breathable and efficient and the inner just a little more comfortable against the skin (though that is just us being pernickety). However if we are in damper, cold conditions (as is often the way in the UK) we cannot go against the Cirrus’ ability to work even while wet, even with the Microlight’s Nikwax down treatment, i cannot compare to the water-resistance of the Primaloft option. All in all and to conclude, it is safe to say that it is up to you and your needs. Think about what you’re doing and where you’re taking your jacket. To conclude, if you’re looking for supreme comfort and breathability and have an easily accessible waterproof then the Microlight hands down but if you are looking for versatility in a climate similar to our own then the Cirrus is your best bet. At the end of the day however, both are fantastic jackets which with proper use will not let you down!

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