Rab Altus Jacket Review

Testing conditions

I have had the jacket for a month spanning across December and January so have used it as my ‘go to’ jacket so I could test it in a few different conditions.

The first outing was during a night running event I organise, which turned out to be a very wet and wild night. The Altus lived up to its reputation and kept me warm and dry for the two hours I was standing on the finish line. I was recording runner finish times in an exposed position high on Exmoor with no let up from the 25mph winds and constant drizzle.

I was surprised to be dry on the inside when I took the jacket off, a win for Rab here. The drop tail kept my backside warm while stationary and the high collar added to the insulating properties of the garment. After removing the jacket, it was hung on the back of my car seat for the 45-minute drive home with the car’s heater on 20 degrees centigrade. The outer Pertex Quantum was dry and the inner cirrus 3M synthetic insulation was only slightly damp. The whole garment was bone dry by the morning after simply being hung up on a coat hook in my porch, I was impressed. For me this was a good test of the garment’s insulation, its water repellent finish and fit.

The jacket has also been worn on short winter walks where it provides warmth but not too much. Personally, I don’t feel the cold so like most insulating jackets I personally would struggle to wear it if the intensity of the activity was increased.

Over the period of the test the most regular use of this jacket has been pre and post running events. I can’t rate it highly enough for this use. It’s insulates to a nice comfortable temperature pre-race and then due to the fabrics used and the quick drying properties you’re not scared to just pop it on when sweaty post-race. A perfect pre and post high intensity activity jacket.

The Altus jacket is light and packs down to a good size. In my honest opinion, just packing the jacket into your bag around your other items works better than the additional effort required to pack it into its own pocket. When packing the garment into its own pocket the zip is fiddly to do up due to the lack of an extended zip pull like the outer zips and would be worse in cold conditions or with gloves on. This wouldn’t stop me buying the jacket, I just wouldn’t use this feature.

Rab Altus Jacket Pockets

The two hand warmer pockets are a good size and easy to access in cold conditions due to the added pull tabs. Personally, I prefer jackets to have the hand warmer pockets higher up toward the chest rather than across the stomach. For me this is more comfortable and also makes the pockets accessible when wearing a pack or a climbing harness. The internal security pocket is useful for those items you need to keep safe and warm such as your mobile phone or GPS device.

Being 5 feet 7 inches and a 38-inch chest, I often find small garments to snug and medium garments far to big. The increased volume around the shoulders produces a better fit for those with a body shape like mine. The arm length was spot on with a little extra length to pull the sleeves over the upper hand if necessary and the high collar keep the heat in.

On a constructive note and this may be due to my personal physique a little more room around the hem would be beneficial especially as the jacket has a draw cord which can reduce the volume if required.

Rab Altus Jacket - Overview

A really good jacket that will remain my ‘go to’ jacket for pre and post racing, as a packable insulating layer for climbing activities and hill walking. Also, a great garment to throw on over a t-shirt as a casual jacket during the cooler months.

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Quick drying
  • A good range of colours to choose from
  • Great fitting jacket
  • Good warmth to weight ratio
  • Water repellent
  • Small pack size

Cons:

  • Not easy to pack into its own pocket
  • Could have more volume around the hem
  • Pockets could be positioned higher to make them accessible while wearing a pack or wearing a harness

Dan Brice heads up Channel Events and organises 8 engaging and accessible lifestyle events that drive lifelong, self led participation in physical activity in the outdoors. He is a keen runner and mountain biker and regularly participates in running events.

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