Follow Jess from Taunton Leisure HQ as she takes on Rab’s lightweight synthetically insulated masterpiece.
Crafting insulated jackets was where it all began for Rab in the early days. Their dedication to insulation is evident through their wide range of down and synthetic jackets designed for specific uses. So, with their understanding of materials and construction ability, I was keen to discover if the Cirrus lives up to the hype.
The Cirrus is very similar to its popular cousin, the Microlight in terms of construction and packability but is, instead, packed with 100% recycled synthetic PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation Luxe, making it more suitable for changeable Scottish weather.
Designed to be a versatile all-rounder, the Cirrus is at home on winter hikes, and cold weather climbs, but also on cooler spring dog walks and strolls around cities. Packing down into a very generous stuff sack, it can very easily be packed into a 2L roll-top dry bag and take up very little room in your pack.
Soft to the touch, the Nylon Pertex Quantum ripstop shell and lining features a tightly woven structure, which helps to keep out the wind and moisture, and is made from 100% recycled materials, which is always a perk. These thin, but mighty materials are not only stronger than they look but are lightweight and compressible, helping to give this jacket its small pack size. Any thicker or heavier, the jacket loses its primary purpose as a lightweight insulated area.
To help shed as much weight as possible, the baffles are stitch-through (where the outer and lining are stitched together), and to help prevent any cold spots, these baffles are ‘micro’ which prevent the insulation from migrating, or clumping together, but also provide enough room for the insulation to fully loft and work as efficiently as possible. PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Luxe is soft, packable, and water-resistant, allowing it to regulate comfort levels during intense activities.
The elasticated bound cuffs are a personal favourite feature of this jacket. Not only are these cuffs soft and comfortable against the skin, but they help to trap in warmth, without having the bulk of an adjustable cuff. This is especially so when wearing it under a shell, and allows you to wear your watch on the outside of your jacket.
Designed to fit under a helmet, the elastic-bound hood sits comfortably on the head without impairing sight. This close-fitting hood also fits comfortably under the hood of a dry shell, offering more warmth on colder days.
Two hand pockets sit higher up to allow for easy access while wearing a climbing harness and the adjustable hem, with two toggles, helps to seal in warmth.
The biggest bonus of this jacket while in Scotland was how much warmth it gives for the pack size. When weight is at a premium, I needed something that would keep me warm in the evenings, without taking up too my weight and space in my pack. I was able to store it inside a 4L dry bag along with a hat, gloves, and a buff, allowing me to keep all my warm layers together in my bag.
After being compressed inside a dry bag all day, I was always impressed with how quick the synthetic insulation regained its loft and that the material never looked creased. This was especially important at the end of every day when I wanted to throw on something warm while setting up camp, specifically on the windy nights, as being someone who suffers from Reynaud’s, it was important I didn’t allow myself to get cold.
When tucked up in my sleeping bag at night, I used this jacket as a pillow. Roughly folded and placed inside my Thermarest pillow case, it made a great pillow that kept my head warm, and also saved me from carrying an extra pillow. Thanks to the loft insulation, it was surprisingly comfortable to sleep on.
When wearing the jacket, I love how the soft lining material allowed the jacket to glide on over my fleece. It made it so quick to put on. The soft chin guard felt comfortable against my face when sat, huddled into it, and the hood didn’t feel restrictive, even over a hat. When reaching or stretching while pitching a tent, the jacket didn’t ride up, or restrict me in any way.
To sum up
Admittedly, I was a little hesitant that this jacket would be warm enough for me. As previously mentioned, as someone who suffers from Reynaud’s, I can get cold very quickly. But I was taken by surprise, and the Cirrus is now my new go-to insulated jacket. It’s like wearing your duvet, but it being socially acceptable. The fit of it is perfect for me and it is so comfortable, it almost feels like you are not wearing it. It doesn’t bunch up at the front when sitting down, and I’m able to pop in and out of shops without overheating.
Would I recommend this jacket? Absolutely! Would I recommend it to someone who is going to spend all day, standing around in it? Absolutely not! As a standalone layer, it is great when moving around and on days when there is no cold wind. But as this jacket is designed to be a layering piece, I would team it up with a dry shell on those colder days.