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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Rab Zephyr on 05/15/2013 17:21:22 MDT Print View

Finally got ahold of one of these, and I am (predictably) psyched. It feels more fitted than the Boreas, especially in the sleeves. The secondary body/undersleeve/hood fabric is supposedly the same as the Boreas, but feel both lighter and quite a bit stretchier than my 2012 Boreas. Maybe that Boreas lost a bit of give after all the abuse it's had, but I think the fabric has changed. The primary shoulder and top of sleeve fabric is quite a bit burlier, and is a directional knit (i.e. the inner is textured and the outer is smooth). The primary fabric has a DWR, the secondary does not. Pockets are big, high enough to stay off your hipbelt, and lined with a single layer of nice mesh. The hood and cuffs are bound with lycra fabric, which makes the hood snug up very well. The zip ends right under the chin, and the overall sensation is identical to the Cirrus. My only disappointment is the main zip, which is a #3. I'd prefer the #5 on the Boreas and Alpine. Combined with the stretchy main fabric it won't be quite as smooth running.

Men's medium weighs 10.4 oz.

Will update with photos, numbers, and impressions from actual use as I go.

J C
(Joomy) - M
Re: Rab Zephyr on 05/16/2013 08:42:56 MDT Print View

I bought a Boreas and immediately sold it. Fit was weird (tight across the chest and loose in the hips) and the fabric was too plasticky/rubbery for my liking. I bought an Alpine Jacket instead and love it, although not for bush bashing (as we say down here) and not under pack straps for too long.

The Zephyr looks like a better fit, but is the fabric still that kind of gross, too-much-elastane style? I assume you like the Zephyr over the Alpine because it's more durable?

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Re: Rab Zephyr on 05/16/2013 15:49:42 MDT Print View

Looks pretty cool, but out of curiosity David, what exactly is the intended usage of this jacket? It seems somewhere between a fleece and a windshirt. Would a windshirt and fleece not do the same job with more versatility? Perhaps the zephyr is a lot more durable than a windshirt's face fabric.

Also how much insulation would you say it provides. Is is comparable to say an r1 fleece?

Edited by ljamesb on 05/16/2013 15:50:23 MDT.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - F - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: Re: Rab Zephyr on 05/16/2013 16:26:07 MDT Print View

It appears to be like the Boreas, it's a breathable windshirt. The point of it is to be as windproof as it can be (not trying to be entirely windproof) without compromising breathability. It seems a soft shell fabric (Matrix) filled the niche. Oh and it's UVP with anti-odour.

For the windiest English spring in memory my Boreas been de facto windproof and way more breathable than my Cirrus. Insulation is more like a heavy tee shirt than a fleece.

A fleece + Pertex windshirt doesn't do the same thing. That's English winter gear.

Edited by Morte66 on 05/16/2013 16:48:38 MDT.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Re: Re: Rab Zephyr on 05/16/2013 20:12:18 MDT Print View

Basically another lightweight synth hoody with a double knit weave. This one also uses "hybrid" fabric weights. The fabric DWR and wind blocking properties can let you extend comfort range into cooler temps and eliminate the need for other pieces like wind breaker. Can be worn by itself and as a mid/outer layer.

Seems to be most similar the Arc'teryx Gamma SL Hybrid.

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/gear-features/best-lightweight-softshell-jackets-tested/10774-4.html

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Rab Zephyr on 05/22/2013 08:12:14 MDT Print View

If you didn't like the Boreas fabric, I doubt the Zephyr would be any different.

I sold my Alpine mainly because durability was a concern. In theory it works great, but in practice I found myself wanting either more wind protection (i.e. a Cirrus/Houdini/etc) or more breathability (i.e. Boreas). In the end we're splitting hairs w/r/t performance differences so folks should take this with a grain of salt. Individual variations in preference and metabolism will make a bigger difference than "inherent" performance differences in fabrics.

As I've written far too often, the Boreas and comparable garments are more breathable versions of classic lightweight windshirts. They seem to offer a bit more tear resistance as well. The cost is the heavier fabric, and especially the slower dry time. I've found the Boreas fabric suits me more often than anything else, which makes packing simpler.

Edit: I'd put the static warmth of the Boreas fabric on par with a midwieght (~150 g/meter) synthetic baselayer. The wind resistance will up the felt warmth in many circumstances.

Edited by DaveC on 05/22/2013 08:13:37 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Zephyr update on 06/27/2013 10:41:41 MDT Print View

I've worn the Zephyr on every trip I've taken in the last month. For early summer alpine stuff, where warm sun alternates with cold wind minute to minute, it's perfect (for me).

The better fit of the arms and hood are very much appreciated. The addition of a factory DWR on the arm/shoulder fabric extends the usability in rain a bit, and doesn't seem to make it any warmer or less breathable. The thumb loops are well executed. The main zip runs smoothly and well. I have the mineral color and like the light option as its a bit cooler in the sun.

The side pockets need to be just a hair higher to clear hipbelts. The zippers are fine, but the combination of small guage and the stretchy fabric makes them run not so smoothly.

I notice no value in the anti-stink treatment. The Zephyr smells about as much as the Boreas after a few days continuous use.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Boreas compresses billowing on 06/27/2013 14:07:05 MDT Print View

One odd aspect of the Boreas that I like is that, unlike a wind shirt, it compresses the billowing, flapping, whipping, and air-pumping out of my RailRiders BoneFlats sun shirt. I like that billowing when it’s sweltering hot, but I hate it early in the morning when it’s freezing. The Boreas hood turns my cool OR sun hat into a solid blob of nylon that actually adds warmth to my head.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Zephyr update on 06/27/2013 16:19:11 MDT Print View

David, are you wearing the Zephyr next to skin or over something else? Same with the Boreas?