When it comes to knowing your technical insulated outdoor gear it can all get a bit “baffling” – get it? When it comes to Arc’teryx they explain their lingo quite well with easy Acr’teryx Technology acronyms and The North Face unpack their Thermoball technology quite well too. So with the cheesy jokes put firmly to one side – knowing what activity and exposure your Rab synthetic or down feather insulated jacket is going to get will help you to maximise its performace when in use.
Take a look at the insulated jackets above. They’re all blue, they’re all synthetic or insulated down, they all have a front zip and hood – so what’s the difference? Well it’s all in the baffles and fill power.
Baffles can be a bit Baffling! Construction explained:
Stitch Through – These garments have baffles that are made by stitching the outer fabric to the inner fabric and creating pockets of down. As this method uses the minimal material required it saves on weight however where the seams pinch and gather there can be inconsistencies in the performance of the insulation in different areas of your down jacket.
Box Wall – These baffles form distinctive box-shaped around the body and run horizontally around the garment. These room for down to loft through the whole chamber giving an even distribution and consistent insulation performance. This can mean these down jackets can be heavier and less packable but they do give great performance in sub-zero and extreme weather.
When it comes to the fluffy stuff that actually fills these baffles there is a choice between feather down or synthetic down. Using this type of insulation maximizes performance in garments and ensures that trapped air produces a thermal barrier against the cold outside air.
The more down and better quality that is used the more protection and insulation you are going to get. Down is graded according to clusters – which effectively is the amount of air the down can trap in accordance with its weight. this is called Fill Power. Here’s what it looks like:
What jacket for what Activity?
Rab categorise their jackets into 4 specific groups. Everyday, Active Mountain, Technical Mountain and Expedition. They have worked hard to provide every outdoor enthusiast with something specific for their need.
So where does your jacket fall?
In the Everyday range the Asylum, Andes, Deep Cover Parka, Microlight Parka and Ascent Jacket are made to be the go-to-winter coat. These are slightly baggier jackets that will keep you warm, no need for layers here – the jacket is all you need. They are great outer layers for town jaunts and countryside escapes along with outdoor activity too! As they are packed with warmth they are the heaviest of the range but if you’re spending a lot of time standing around then everyday wear is what you need.
The next step up is the Active Mountain range designed to be lightweight and nimble whilst packing int he warmth when needed. Jacket’s included in this range are the Microlight Range, Electron and Valiance all versatile and weather resistant layers. These jackets are designed for the mover, traveller and activity lover with a minimum pack size for when you’re not wearing but carrying it. They use a smaller baffle size than other jackets in the range to prevent down migration and eliminate cold spots.
Looking for something even more technical? The Technical Mountain range focus on maximum warmth-to-weight ratio and generally have low weight outer materials and high fill power. These are great for high altitude activity and mountaineering activity where durability and full core body warmth are the main need. The Neutrino Pro, Positron Pro and Infinity G all fall into this go-to category for Alpinist and extreme outdoor adventurers.
If you’re a polar explorer then the Expedition range is where you need to start. These advanced jackets use of box wall construction to maintain consistent warmth all day without cold spots. They also use waterproof Pertex® Shield as an outer fabric to keep the weather at bay and have a generous fit to accommodate multiple layers. These jackets are for those visiting the heights of Everest and the depths of the antarctic – or women who get cold in the house when their partner want’s to turn the heating below 20 degrees! They are built for hostile conditions where everything from your toes to your nose may freeze.
Rab Down Jacket FAQ’s Answered
If you still havent found what you are looking for why not head over to our V-LOG review where we answer some more commonly asked question such as “How long will my down jacket take to dry” or “What do the size of the baffles mean” when it comes to down jackets. Click here or the image below to head over to our YouTube channel and watch the video.