Liam from our Bristol store was lucky enough to test out the all-new RAB Firewall Light on our recent staff training event! Luckily dartmoor provided some ideal testing conditions!

Rab has long been one of my go-to brands for waterproof and insulated jackets. And a recent staff trip to Dartmoor gave me the opportunity to test one of Rabs newest jackets. The Rab Firewall Light. How did it perform? Surprisingly well!

Preparation for a walk from Ivybridge to Okehampton had me concerned that I may not be able to try out this jacket, But Dartmoor, never failing to provide, gave me the conditions needed to give this jacket a good test. The first hour of the walk had the jacket out of the bag and on for the rest of the day as well as most of the next morning.

The first thing that struck me was how soft the jacket was compared to other waterproofs. This was more like wearing a soft shell as opposed to a hard shell. This is due to a Knitted backer fabric which was comfortable to wear next to the skin whilst I was wearing a t-shirt and did not give me the cold clammy feeling that a waterproof jacket, next to the skin can often feel like.

Let’s talk about fabrics

The Main body of the jacket is the 20 Denier Proflex 3-layer stretch woven waterproof membrane. The outer fabric is a very light nylon which makes the jacket not too heavy (313g) and easily packable in your pack. The waterproof membrane has a hydrostatic head of 20,000mm, which is a bit less than the 28,000mm of Gore-Tex Pro jackets. But the trade-off is how supple and light this jacket is compared to jackets with Gore-Tex Pro membrane. What surprised me most though was how breathable the Firewall light was. I found the jacket to be breathable enough to not have to take it off once the rain had stopped. Keeping it on as a wind-stopper.

So, what makes this jacket so breathable? Well, instead of having a microporous membrane, which is a membrane full of microscopic holes to allow water vapour to pass through. The Firewall light has a hydrophilic membrane. This works by attracting moisture to the inner surface and transporting it to the outer surface through osmosis. Two of the main benefits to having a hydrophilic membrane are, first, the harder you work, the harder the jacket works and the amount of moisture transmission increases in response. Second, Hydrophilic membrane jackets also allow a bit of stretch in the jacket, so I had a full range of motion whilst wearing the jacket and never felt restricted like some hard shells can leave you feeling.

Let’s talk about features

The hood was adjustable and moved with my head, which, combined with the Stiffened peak, always ensured a clear line of sight. The Velcro cuffs were low profile, so did not feel bulky and in the way. A hem adjustment drawcord ensured a comfortable fit around the waist. The pockets are easily large enough for a map and placed higher up so aren’t blocked by a backpack’s Waist belt. Any downsides? There is no chest pocket or pit zips. But neither of those is a dealbreaker for me.

Environmental credentials

Unlike past waterproof jackets. The fabric and DWR of the firewall light is made without using Fluorocarbons (a toxic synthetic chemical that has been used in the manufacture of waterproof jackets). The result being a jacket that is much more environmentally friendly compared to older jackets. Rab is committed to reducing emissions and transparency in the manufacturing process. This can be seen in the materials facts table that Rab has on most of their product’s web pages. The Material facts table breaks down the product’s sustainability credentials, i.e. How much is recycled material and where the product is made. By the end of 2024, they aim to have a material facts table for 99% of their products.

Let’s talk about fit

For me, the size was perfect. I’m a 39-inch chest so a medium would’ve been fine, But it felt slightly tight under the arms. Plus I prefer a slightly more relaxed fit to my clothing so opted for the large. The arm and body length covered the layers underneath without feeling too long and the hood was spacious with enough room for a helmet if needed.

So who is it for?

Who is this jacket aimed at? It’s not a super tough jacket so it’s not ideal for winter hiking and mountaineering. Its lightness, high breathability and freedom of movement would make it a comfortable jacket for climbing. However, it would not be as durable as other more suited hard-shells. Where it’ll really excel though, is a hiker moving quickly over hills and moors who values fast and light clothing, but doesn’t want an ultralight jacket that has too many compromises and doesn’t want a heavy and bulky jacket that takes up too much space in the pack.

The Perfect RAB waterproofs for summer

Here we explore other Rab waterproof jackets including Rab Kinetic Ultra Jacket and the Rab Downpour Light Jacket which includes RAB Firewall Light Jacket. If you haven’t already, please like and subscribe to our YouTube channel, we’d really appreciate it.