Rab Vapour-rise Lite Alpine Jacket review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Rab Vapour-rise Lite Alpine Jacket review

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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to:

    Rab Vapour-rise Lite Alpine Jacket review

    Adam Klags
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northeast USA

    Dude, I couldn't agree more with all of what was said here. I bought this jacket after originally dismissing it on weight and I'm so glad I did. It has been the best spring/fall/shoulder season jacket. I want to wear it all the Time. I wish the pockets were lower like hand warmer pockets but I guess they chose these for accessing while wearing with a harness?

    Michael Martin
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Idaho

    Hi Dave-

    Nice article! I share your search for the perfect windshirt. I have several Pertex Equilibrium pieces and have been puzzled by one aspect of the fabric for years. I've done a few experiments with it and have come up with a theory:

    A denier gradient (thicker fibers in the interior/thinner fibers on the exterior) works to drive moisture outwards when the fabric is hydrophilic. Moisture is drawn by capillary rise to the smaller voids near the outer surface.

    But when a DWR is applied to the fabric, it becomes hydrophobic and is subject to capillary depression instead. So, moisture is drawn towards the larger voids of the *inner* surface.

    In other words, a DWR ends up fighting the denier gradient. I suspect that the excellent breathability of DWR-treated Equilibrium is due entirely to its high air permeability and not its denier gradient. I've intentionally washed out the DWR on my Rab Alpine Pull-On to see how it affects moisture transport and it appears to increase it even more (at the expense of precipitation protection, of course.)

    I'd be very interested to hear your or others' comments on this subject.



    Chris Townsend
    BPL Member


    Locale: Cairngorms National Park

    Michael, I think you're right. I've also found the Pull-On moves moisture better after the DWR has been washed out. I've also found this with other windshirts that aren't as breathable as I'd like when new. Once the DWR has faded breathability improves. I don't replace the DWR on windshirts as breathability is more important to me than water resistance. If it rains I have a rain jacket.

    Richard Nisley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Denier gradient fabrics wick moisture well when used for a base layer, such as the Cap 4. This is because no DWR is applied to the higher denier outer surface. This allows the moisture from the inside to be transported from thicker fibers by capillary action to the thinner exterior fibers and then spread out on the surface to evaporate quickly.

    Using a denier gradient fabric (Equilibrium) for a windshirt results in the DWR on the jacket exterior trapping the liquid moisture in the smaller denier outer yarn instead of letting it pass through the yarn, spread out on the surface, and then evaporate into the air.

    No commercial DWR, when applied according to the manufacturer's instructions, to non-denier-gradient fabrics, changes the air permeability of any fabric I have tested. My lab tests matched the results from Natick Labs. The Natick Labs summary states, "None of the water-repellent treatments significantly affected the breathability, air flow resistance, or pore size of the BDU fabric (Gibson, 2005). The Natick report can be found Here .

    Steve K
    BPL Member


    Locale: northeastern US

    Now I'm far from Marmot's biggest fan but the Rab Vapor Rise series and the DriClime windshirt family have always looked to me like kissing cousins. They are essentially built on the same concept and both offer lightly insulated wind shedding ability.

    Given that Marmot is more readily available (and already in my possession) I am very curious as to how the two compare in performance. At first blush the Marmot fabric choices seem inferior especially from a durability standpoint, but we all know how things seem and play out can often be wildly different.

    Mike M
    BPL Member


    Locale: Montana

    thanks for the review, looks like a solid pick for winter endeavors :)

    David Chenault
    BPL Member


    Locale: Queen City, MT

    The physics of your theory make sense Mike. Given that the DWR of the VR isn't close to giving out I've yet to try it, obviously.

    The Driclime's liner appears to be very similar to that of the Vapour-rise, indeed Marmot claims it's only 32 g/meter! My question would be about the performance of the shell fabric. I'd assume it'd be less air permeable, which might blunt the quick-dry characteristics, but without using one it's impossible to be sure.

    Roman Vazhnov
    BPL Member


    Locale: Russia

    DriClime shell fabric is much less air permeable than Equilibrium. Would not use it for high aerobic activities.

    Velimir Kemec
    BPL Member



    using both the non lite version of Rab VR top and Driclime windshirt over the past years I noted that Marmot Driclime has much lighter tricot liner to non lite VR and feels much more cooler&lighter… I use them both for high exertion sports like winter trail running and find Driclime to work better in removing needs to be really cold when I take non lite VR for that little extra warmth….wonder how VR lite would cope with sweaty uphill winter run?

    Here's very dry thin poly baselayer T-shirt under Driclime after my recent one hour trail run at ~ 22F Driclime

    The liner was dry but the shell was soaking wet…


    Adam Klags
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northeast USA

    I've compared all of those, although not enough to write a review on them, and I personally found the Vapour Rise Lite jacket from Rab to be the best at wicking and breathing out of all 3 you mention… it even handles light rain and snow for "indefinite" time periods. Honestly I bought the jacket more for style and wearing around town but found it to be one of the most functional jackets I have ever bought. I hate the idea of the extra weight in theory, but in practice the jacket is a gem and a real pleasure to wear in cooler weather. I would NOT recommend it for warm weather athletic use in any way though, it gets hot fast in the summer – its really a prime shoulder season and winter piece. I stick with my boreas-style wind shirt when its warmer out.

    David Chenault
    BPL Member


    Locale: Queen City, MT

    I recently gave into temptation and cut the liner out of my Vapour-rise. This winter in Montana was very mild, and the Lite Alpine was just too warm to get much use.

    Removing the liner is easy with careful scissor work. Aside from the edges all around there are a half dozen or so bits of grosgrain around the neck seams which connect the liner. It gives good insight into just how labour intensive it must be to make this thing. You loose the interior pocket, and a few lines of stitching to tack down the zipper seam on both sides, as well as the far edges of the napolean pockets. I also shortened the napolean pockets by about an inch, which makes them a bit less floppy when they're filled with just a few bars or a phone.

    The result is a fantastic windshirt with a big temperature range. Rab brought back several of their heavier Vapour-rise jackets this spring, perhaps they'll do the same with an unlined Equilibrium shell. I really like the feature set on the Lite Alpine, and don't find it overkill for warmer weather.

    Inaki Diaz de Etura
    BPL Member


    Locale: Iberia highlands

    What happened to the Alpine jacket (unlined Equilibrium)? I got one last year but it doesn't seem to show up on Rab's website.

    I've been using it this winter and found it too air permeable for cold, windy winter days but too full-featured and heavy for general 3 season backpacking. Not a good compromise.

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