The cold calls; Rab Infinity Answers.
Our very own Ian takes on a Swedish winter in the Rab Infinity Jacket, new this Autumn.
Extreme weather calls for extreme kit. Back in March, I had the chance to preview the new Rab Infinity Jacket on a 5 day hiking and camping trip in the pristine Swedish wilderness of Vålådalen Nature Reserve. Daytime temperatures averaged at around -10 degrees C and the night times as low as -23 degrees C. Add to the mix snow and strong icy winds and you’ve got yourself a test!
This trip was a first for me. Yes, I’ve experienced cold weather before but never to this extreme and more importantly never for such a prolonged amount of time. It certainly is an environment where you are completely reliant and dependent on the performance of your kit, not just to provide comfort, but safety as well.
Probably my favourite feature of this jacket is the down filled hood. Deliberately oversized to allow for a climbing helmet and fully adjustable for a really close fit which moves well with the movement of your head. If I’m being honest I’m not a huge fan of the integrated hood toggles. They work ok, I just prefer for things to be kept simple.
Internal and external pockets are numerous and generous and the chunky glove friendly zippers are a nice touch.
The pack size of this jacket is not the smallest, but pretty reasonable considering how much jacket there is (stuff sack included). ----------->>
The Infinity is without doubt a really warm Jacket. Whether the use of Gore-tex Infinium sets this jacket above the rest is not really for me to say. This was the first time I had used a jacket like this so I don’t really have anything to compare against. Without doubt the windproof properties of the fabric should certainly contribute to the overall insulation. Cutting out a wind chill deep in the minuses is only ever going to be a good thing.
The new Infinity Jacket enters the line-up along side the other cold weather heavyweights in the range such as the Positron Pro Jacket and the Neutrino Pro Jacket. It is a jacket for very cold conditions. It utilises a high quality 800 fill power European Goose Down. Not only that, but the jacket is constructed entirely with large box wall baffles (box shaped to give the down maximum space to loft) giving consistent insulation throughout. Where the Infinity differs from those aforementioned models, is in its ability to withstand moisture and damp environments, whilst maintaining all the credentials of a lightweight and compact expedition jacket.
The Rab Autumn / Winter range for 2019 sees the introduction of Gore-tex fabrics in a number of its garments, the Infinity Jacket being one of them.
The use of a Gore-tex Infinium outer fabric (successor to Gore Windstopper) provides additional resistance from the elements whilst maintaining breathability and a low weight. Extra panelling on the torso and upper arms (again using Gore-tex Infinium) adds increased protection to key areas from both the weather and wear. Add to that YKK Aquaguard water repellent zips to the front and chest pocket and a Hydrophobic treatment applied to the down itself and the Infinity Jacket's defences are complete.
Snowshoeing for several kilometres a day, through deep snow, loaded with kit is hot work. However the minute you stop you cool down fast, so really need to wrap up. That’s where the Infinity came in. Lunch breaks, setting up camp, group meetings and during evenings cooking up food and melting snow.
I should stress at this point that I’m not really in a position to comment on just how the Infinity stands up to wet conditions. Swedish winter climate provides cold in abundance. It is however also incredibly dry. At such consistently low temperatures snow displays no moisture at all. In fact it is more characteristic of sand than snow (or at least as we are a custom to it in the UK). So I’m afraid no wet weather review. I guess I’ll leave that to you.
What I do know is that the Infinity is without doubt a very warm and versatile jacket. Probably the greatest praise I can give is that I did not suffer from the cold, even at -20 degrees. The fit is generous and can comfortably accommodate layers beneath it when you just want to throw it on over everything else. The sleeves are articulated for full freedom of movement.
Adding weatherproofing to the exterior of a down jacket is fairly common place in the industry these days. Most companies who specialise in Down insulation will have an offering of some sort. However, the great thing about Infinium is that it is such a hardy and durable fabric for its weight, making the Infinity Jacket not only lightweight, but a more robust and hard wearing choice.
The Rab website describes this jacket as “a specialised jacket designed for Mountaineers operating in cold conditions”, but with its tolerance to moisture I would add that the Infinity is also suited to milder and damper winters such as ours here in the UK(*). For so long wet conditions for Down filled jackets was regarded as its Kryptonite, disabling its ability to loft and insulate, but things have come a long way. It is a lot of insulation for the UK’s climate but if you should feel a bit warm, the Infinity has a 2 way front zipper to help vent it.
Alternatively, if you like the sound of the Infinity jacket but don’t really see yourself heading into the polar regions of the world, there is also the Rab Infinity Light Jacket. The Infinity Light is almost identical in features to the Infinity Jacket but with around 25% less Insulation.
Take a look at the fantastic Infinity Jacket Here
*It should be stressed that the Infinity Jacket is not waterproof. If it is hammering it down outside an additional shell will be needed. (If a waterproof Down jacket is what you’re looking for then you might want to consider the Rab Valiance Jacket.)
Ian is the Warehouse Manager at Taunton Leisure and has been with the Company for over 17 years. He is a keen cyclist, has a lust for travel, and enjoys exploring new places with his wife and 3 girls. He has cycle toured around both islands of New Zealand with his wife Dawn. He has also completed the Devon Coast to Coast cycle route on a tandem with his 11 year old daughter Evie.