Many of us are familiar with Rab, the UK company that introduced the Top Bag and catalyzed the development of the great lightweight and ultralight backpacking gear that we have today. Up to now, Rab gear has not been readily available in the US. Through an arrangement with an intermediary, Rab will be entering the US market and we can purchase their products in-country at competitive prices.
When we visited the Rab booth at OR, it was like finding gold, along with lots of long-term and friendly expertise to back it up. They had a few surprises for us in the form of two new eVENT jackets, a lightweight PrimaLoft jacket with Pertex Quantum shell, and an updated Quantum Top Bag.
Rab’s lightest eVENT jacket is the new Drillium (photo with front and back views). It weighs 12.4 ounces, which is slightly heavier than Integral Designs’ 10-ounce eVENT Jacket. The Drillium is a shorter cut with a dropped tail, but it’s not as short as the Integral Designs jacket. The 3-layer fabric is basically the same. The extra weight is distributed in the longer length, zippered side pockets, roll-away adjustable hood, and inner pocket. I especially liked the angled side pockets that are mounted high so a hipbelt doesn’t cover them, and the fully adjustable hood. The MSRP will be $275.
The Super Dru is an eVENT mountaineering jacket with a longer cut and abrasion resistant reinforcements in high stress areas. Except for its longer length and a helmet compatible hood, its feature set is similar to the Drillium. The weight is 14.1 ounces and MSRP will be $325.
Rab’s new Generator jacket, smock (worn by Steve Nelson, BPL’s new Winter Systems editor), and vest feature PrimaLoft 1 insulation and a Pertex Quantum shell, with weights of 13.4, 12, and 10.2 ounces respectively. The jacket has 100 gram PrimaLoft 1 in the body and 60 gram in the sleeves, the smock has 60 gram PrimaLoft 1 insulation, and the vest has 100 gram PrimaLoft 1 insulation. Each has two hand warmer pockets, one chest pocket, and hem drawcord. MSRP will be $150, $140, and $100 for the jacket, smock, and vest.
Finally, Rab’s classic Top Bag has been upgraded again. Over the years we have reviewed it on two occasions, each time providing some input for improvements. Rab has embraced our suggestions and invited us to look at it again.
We are pleased to see Rab enter the US marketplace, and look forward to using their products.