OverviewThe Rab Xenon X used to be the best all-purpose lightweight synthetic insulated jacket on the market. Over the last seven years, the author has used the Xenon and Xenon X for some fantastic outdoor adventures: a 35-day traverse of Alaska's Brooks Range, climbing Denali, Half Dome, and El Cap, and other things. Though the Xenon X performs above average in our tests, a variety of other jackets now offer superior performance. The first jacket I found to beat the Xenon X was the Arcteryx Nuclei FL, released in 2015. Now our favorite is the Nunatak Skaha Apex, which was released in Spring 2017.
Features & Specifications
- 11.9 oz (336 g) in men's medium;
- 1.8 oz/yd (60 g/m) Primaloft Gold Active insulation;
- Low air permeable fabrics are best for stationary use or high exertion use in very cold weather;
- Non-adjustable hood, two handwarmer pockets, one interior zippered pocket.
Review ContextWe tested this jacket as part of our Synthetic Insulated Jacket State of the Market Report (to be released on 3/25/2018), which compared fifteen of the best jackets over two years of hiking, climbing, mountaineering, packrafting, backcountry skiing, and ski mountaineering. Our testing sought to answer the following questions: 1. What’s the best all-purpose synthetic insulated jacket? 2. What’s the best lightweight windproof synthetic insulated jacket? 3. What’s the best active insulation jacket? 4. What’s the best synthetic insulated parka?
Description of Field TestingThe author and other contributing testers have more experience with this jacket than any other synthetic insulated jacket we've tested. We began using it in early 2012 and have at least five friends who have owned and either worn out or sold their jackets. We have used the Xenon X for many different types of outdoor adventures including:
- Desert and Yosemite rock climbs
- Ultralight multi-sport Arctic expedition
- Climbing a technical route on North America's tallest peak
- Two mountaineering-packraft traverses of the Olympic Peninsula
Member's Only Content
- Performance Assessment
- Fabric Durability
- Strengths & Limitations
Word Count: 2,634
Compared ToA comprehensive Synthetic Insulated Jacket State of the Market Report will be released on March 25, 2018. When that report is published, we’ll update this review with a comparison summary of this product with other notable products in the review.
Review Rating: Above AverageThe Xenon X scores above average in our ratings.
Where to Buy
- The Rab Xenon X may be a good deal if you can find it on sale. There is still plenty of inventory floating around at Amazon, and keep an eye out on closeout inventory at REI Garage and Sierra Trading Post.
This review is part of a comprehensive State of the Market survey of synthetic insulated jackets that has been ongoing for the past two years. Included in this survey:
- Arc'teryx Kappa Hoody Review
- Patagonia Nano Air Hoody Review
- Outdoor Research Uberlayer Review
- Rab Xenon X Review
- Montbell Thermawrap Guide Review
- Rab Nimbus Review
- Patagonia Nano Air Light Review
- LLBean Primaloft Packaway Review
- Arc'teryx Proton LT Review
- Black Diamond Heat Treat Hoody Review
- Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Review
- Arc'teryx Nuclei FL Jacket Review
- Nunatak Skaha Apex Review
- Montane Spitfire Parka Review
- Arc'teryx Nuclei AR Parka Review
- Patagonia DAS Parka Review (TBA March 25)
- Synthetic Insulated Jackets State of the Market Report (TBA March 25)