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Alternatives for Rab Jacket?
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S Long

Locale: Wasatch
Alternatives for Rab Jacket? on 02/14/2012 18:55:08 MST Print View

I am looking to buy a Rab Demand pullover in medium and a Rab Boreas pullover. I can't seem to find them for sale anywhere in my size. Anyone know when or if dealers will be getting any more? Or what alternatives there are stateside that would work well? I like the looks of the Mountain Hardwear Quasar but it is $$$. The Haglofs Ozo is supposed to be nice but it's even more difficult to find for sale than the Rab stuff. The OMM Cypher seems like it might be okay but might be gimmicky or not work so well and nobody seems to have it either. I am looking for a good, light, breathable shell to use for alpine climbing. Also, is there any equivalant to the Boreas on the market?

Tommy Franzen
(Tomlike) - F

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Montane on 02/14/2012 19:22:18 MST Print View

The Montane Spektr is similar to the Rab Demand. 7.5oz 3-layer eVent jacket

Edited by Tomlike on 02/14/2012 19:25:03 MST.

wander lust
rab on 02/14/2012 21:07:41 MST Print View

the boreas was pretty much sold out when I wanted to buy one in December. I bought it from a UK retailer though.

some people said that the spectre was not as durable as the rab pull on.

you might have to buy it from some european retailer instead.

the boreas is a great windshell, breathes really good and has some stretch.

I like mine a lot.

you could also try to get a patagonia m10 instead, should still be on sale for about 200 bucks.
it is a good shell with nice pitzips, breathes as good as event for me and comes in under 11oz (size L).

Edited by sol on 02/14/2012 22:01:26 MST.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: rab on 02/14/2012 21:46:19 MST Print View

Montbell Outpace also reportedly has breathability second only to eVent. Most likely they use some iteration of Entrant for their "Breeze-Tec" membrane.

The jacket is 9.4 oz, just be aware that this company is japanese and why they size up for their american products, it's probably 75% of a full size. In other words if you're on the cusp between two sizes you'll probably be better off sizing up.

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
Re: Alternatives for Rab Jacket? on 02/14/2012 22:04:38 MST Print View

So you're looking really for a light highly breathable shell smock, and a thin insulating smock. I assume you will layer over with Down or Primaloft when stationary? How did you select these? Borrowing from someone you met?

Option 1 - Get your Rab. What is the issue with getting your preferred Rab items from the UK? There are dealers which ship international, turn Google to look only at UK and go through all the dealers and find one which ships international, then compare price. I buy from UK about twice a year for 4 years now and never a problem, takes 1-2 weeks to deliver. The challenge is fit & style if you've not tried on before, so I usually pass through the UK try for fit then months later in a sale buy online and patiently wait. I'm usually thinking 6-12 months ahead.

Option 2 - Montane seems to a limited set of suppliers in USA but they don't carry the full range. As has been mentioned the nearest equivalent in Montane for the shell smock is Spetr but I find it just a weird idea. The equivalent thin wicking close-fitting fleece would be the Fury

Option 3 - Marmot. The equivalent breathability of event in a more commonly available USA make is Marmot's Membrain. I've owned eVent (Rab Drillium) and Membrain and they're very similar breathability. In Marmot the nearest equivalent, I don't see any options in smocks so jackets is the Mica (the least durable), Aegis (more durable). I own both. The Aegis in SMALL fits me, and I'm a medium or sometimes a large in other makes, the Aegis short-cut which I assume you prefer?

When you say "Alpine" are you wanting RAIN protection? Many doing Alpine just want shower-proof water-resistance for any melting snow and combine a windproof with a some pile, like the Montane Krypton (I bought yesterday for $60) or the Rab VR.

Option 4 - Paramo. I used to use shells and fleeces but I moved away from them as a shell can be damaged and lose its waterproofness and any type of modest/high excertion swamps a shell's breathability. I moved to Paramo for winter / cool conditions as it combines insulation with waterproof and high breathabilty, much more breathability than eVent. When its too warm for Paramo its too warm to care about being wet in general.

For Alpine use, some use Paramo such as the Velez Adventure Light (VAL) smock which is short-cut. I have a good experience buying Paramo from within USA from Foothills. I use the Paramo Quito but if you want a smock then the VAL. what you do is buy off their website then email them explaining you're in USA, they'll remove local salestax (20% saving!) and then add postage, usually about $12 to USA.

Option 5 - REI. If you want to absolutely drive down the cost, consider REI's own brand you can get an eVent jacket quite a bit less, but again, patience for their sales. I just checked REI now and none on sale.

Probably from all of the above, the cheapest+fastest is look at Marmot. I personally think if its cool enough, then Paramo is the best quality.

S Long

Locale: Wasatch
Re: Re: Alternatives for Rab Jacket? on 02/15/2012 00:23:30 MST Print View

My alpine climbs typically start at lower elevations where there is a greater chance of actual rain. In the winter time I usually just use an R1 and Arc'teryx Squamish. I have light, mid, and heavy weight primaloft jackets depending on conditions. I really like how Rab fits and the quality. I have tried the Outpace but didn't like it (something just "off" about the design, couldn't put my finger on it). A technical shell is something I am lacking. Maybe I don't really need one, but I'm a incurable gear junkie. Lots of good suggestions. I am going to check out UK suppliers and Paramo. Thanks.

wander lust
paramo on 02/15/2012 03:29:06 MST Print View

read this about paramo and form your own opinion about it:

you have to look after them, if you don't maintain their performance, you will get wet in hevy rain.

I would only use their thicker stuff in winter.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: paramo on 02/15/2012 04:35:37 MST Print View

I'm currently testing a Paramo Vista for review here on BPL. I have yet to use it in freezing rain (which we typically get a lot of here in the SE US), but did use it last weekend on a taxing climb under snowy and windy conditions in the Smokies. It kept me at (what I would consider) a pretty ideal core temp, and had no issues keeping the precip at bay. I've also worn it around town in the colder rain and had no problem staying dry. It's not UL per se (my small is a bit over 19 oz) but when you consider the weight of the lightest fleece plus a lighter eVent shell over top of that to get roughly the same layering, it's comparable. Thus far, I'm pretty impressed. As mentioned above though, it will require a bit more maintenance than a more traditional hard shell.

Edited by simplespirit on 02/15/2012 04:36:36 MST.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Cioch direct and Furtech are same as Paramo! simply fantastic! on 02/15/2012 08:20:04 MST Print View

I have a jacket from Cioch Direct. They use the Paramo fabrics, but make custom sizes and options, like using the lightweight shell fabric on the alpine design, other hoods etc. They have been very helpfull. They also have kid's gear!

I have indeed found it to be similar to wearing a light fleece and uncoated wind-shell as far as breath-ability, vastly superior to even Event. The lining adds weight and warmth, so only good for cooler temps were you would wear an insulating layer as well as wpb. It has been waterproof for me even in a downpour.

The other big benefit for climbing is the supple feel of the fabric, the whole system has a super supple drape giving much more freedom of movement than any coated or laminated fabric, you have to feel it to believe it! The best analogy I can come up with is that it feels like a cashmere sweater.

The drawback for climbing is that they don't offer stretch fabrics.

Furtech reportedly uses a similar construction and their design is very alpine focused and they offer a good deal on the pants and jacket combo.

So, in review:
Cioch Direct will make you a custom Paramo garment, and they are the most comfortable to wear wpb jacket. Furtech and Paramo brand are cheaper but off the shelf.

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
Re: Re: paramo on 02/15/2012 09:27:58 MST Print View

Its a different kind of maintenance. You simply need to keep it clean. Any abrasion type damage does not impact performance. I clean prior to any major dependence. Typical lifespan is about 10x that of a shell. So you're not as concerned about the cost although actually its usually about the same cost as a light shell.

The "Alpine" type shorter ones weigh about 500g which are about the same weight, and slightly smaller packed size, for the same insulation of a thin fleece+shell. The main advantage is one garment to vent, not two, e.g. overheating undo 1 zip and your base is exposed. Hence the venting is magnified. Two layers you're not getting the same venting from a shell opened as the midlayer is blocking, so you're more doing of the adding/removing mid-layer.

I went for the Quito because its pitzips give me more venting in warm rain plus I use a Primaloft gilet and the pitzips not blocked by the gilet. True you'd not be warm and venting whilst weating Primaloft because it simply reduces the times of add/remove insulation.

The reason to NOT go for the insulating softshell waterproof combo is its your waterproof and if its warm rain you're simply too warm, so the system breaks down at higher temps, in my case it becomes too warm active above 50F even with all vents open. For those warmer temps I have a shell (Marmot Mica, Marmot Aegis) which I must say cannot breathe like Paramo, so is more for layering when low-output and in high-output I just let myself get wet under a windproof (rain is cleaner than sweat, pick your poison).

Edited by nigelhealy on 02/15/2012 09:30:31 MST.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Alternatives for Rab Jacket? on 02/15/2012 12:30:46 MST Print View

Try contacting ProLite Gear directly. They've hooked me up with some out-of-stock Rab pieces in the past. The Demand is a perfect piece of gear for me - great for UL backpacking and for those light alpine trips (while others pull out their GoreTex pieces, I stay far more comfortable). Some Gore Active Shell pieces are around this weight as well, and I'm sure there are some pull-overs with this membrane, if you're interested in that route.

I haven't seen an equivalent to the Boreas in the outdoors industry, but I suspect it's much like many running "soft shells." I haven't seen one in person, though. If you have a wind shirt, what are you looking for the Boreas to do? Honestly, I've seen a lot of good reviews of it (probably like you have), but I haven't been able to comprehend where it would fit into my clothing systems.

wander lust
boreas on 02/15/2012 15:17:20 MST Print View

the boreas comes without a DWR, is not as windproof as most other windshells (it is just a tight woven fabric), which leads to way better breathability.

therefore it also feels better under a hardshell in cold rain.

the fabric has a nice feel, some stretch and I don't have to worry about it when I bushwhack. not having to take care of a DWR is good too imho

it weighs more though

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
a lot of Boreas owner experience in outdoorsmagic on 02/15/2012 20:51:12 MST Print View

An issue with it picking up odour rather quickly, but otherwise a "just right" type garment for Alpine (cool, dry).

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Boreas on 02/15/2012 20:59:41 MST Print View

I picked up the Boreas for winter running, have been using it since last December.

It breathes great, better than a windshell.
Makes for a good layering garment (under a shell).
Great fitting hood, nice stretch. Never feels restrictive. Pretty tough material.

It stinks like living hell after a few good workouts.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Boreas on 02/15/2012 21:03:56 MST Print View

I'm not aware of anything like a Boreas that also has a hood. A few things like the Patagonia Traverse come close (Traverse is heavier, a wee bit less breathable and more wind resistant IME).

I've had one for a few months I find it fantastic for aerobic stuff in cool to cold weather, when you don't need the protection of a hard shell windshirt and want more breathability.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Alternatives for Rab Jacket? on 02/15/2012 21:35:02 MST Print View

I regularly buy from Ultralight outdoor gear and have it shipped to New Zealand. They offer great customer service, reasonable shipping costs and remove UK sales tax from the price. It usually gets to me in 5-6 days.

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
Re: Alternatives for Rab Jacket? on 02/15/2012 22:19:19 MST Print View

5-6 days UK to NZ, that's incredible! What's a typical postage price for some example item size/weight.

FYI UK makes tend to do damp cool stuff best, USA tends to do simply wet and simply cold stuff better, like-for-like garments, USA about 20% less than UK, that's mostly due to the higher sales-tax, but its less effort to find a bargain in USA due to a larger market and more folks on the same quasi-language.

wander lust
stink on 02/15/2012 23:18:36 MST Print View

dos the stink factor matter that much?

cause it is mostly worn as a midlayer and that would also mean that your baselayer stinks even more.

unless your a lucky and wear wool.

besides, I have worn my boreas a few times and it didn't stink. it has to be pretty windy or cold for me to wear it though.

back to topic, if you want the rab pull on buy it from a uk retailer

Aaron Nall
(jcide) - F
Email from Rab on 02/16/2012 15:33:25 MST Print View

The following is a response to an email that I sent to Rab inquiring about The Demand.

Good morning,

The Demand pull-on is set to return for SS12 in three new colours. At the moment the current colours are almost completely sold out, this is probably the reason as to why finding one online is proving difficult. The new season products will be available from March/April.

Kind regards,


Pete McLennan
Sales Administrator

Stephan Doyle
Re: Boreas on 02/16/2012 22:49:01 MST Print View

@Craig: I know you do a lot of running. How is the Boreas similar to and different from the "soft-shell" type of running garments that are out there today? Seems like every major running brand has several of these, and I'm just wondering if it's accurate to classify the Boreas with them somewhere.

@The OP: How has the Squamish held up for you in the Alpine? I've always been too weary to wear my wind shirt anytime I'm planning on rubbing against rock (then again, between the eVent membrane and tricot lining, how heavy is the shell of my 9oz Rab jacket anyway?), and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Edited by StephanCal on 02/16/2012 22:51:20 MST.