Rab Infinity Microlight jacket. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Rab Infinity Microlight jacket. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Price: £240
Colour: blue
Weight: 432g including stuffsack
Material: Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper
Insulating material: Nikwax hydrophobic recycled down
Country of manufacture: Indonesia
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s 8-16

Rab’s Infinity version of its Microlight insulated jacket combines recycled down filling with a Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper shell.

The 700 fill-power Nikwax hydrophobic down helps retain some of its insulating properties if the down becomes damp, the major drawback of using the natural insulation over some of the available synthetic fillings.

Down’s big selling point is its superior performance for a given fill in insulating the body against outside chill, the main reason for pulling on a jacket like this. It’s also lighter and more compressible, and the Infinity Microlight scores well on both these criteria, with the garment weighing less than 432g. It also packs down small, into the provided stuffsack, taking up less space in the rucksack.

I almost always pack some form of insulating jacket when heading out to the hills during cold periods, and the Rab jacket has been a constant companion, either worn or in my pack, during testing over the past few months.

The 700 fill-power down provided enough warmth on cool days. I’d say it was at its best in conditions around 0C, within a few degrees either side of freezing. It’s not a jacket for the worst mountain winter conditions when a thicker insulated jacket is needed. But on a typical hill day or out on the moors it performed well.

This was partly due to the very good windblocking properties of the Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper fabric. Almost every outing during February and March was accompanied by strong winds, bringing with them a marked windchill, and the Rab jacket came into its own, blocking pretty much all the gales and aiding the warm feel of the Infinity Microlight.

The hood is elasticated at the rear. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The hood is elasticated at the rear. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The fabric provides reasonable durability for its weight, the 13 denier, 40g/m2, material having a subtle ripstop pattern, though it’s not as tough as, say, a heavyweight waterproof shell jacket. The down is contained in narrow baffles, with even narrower ones at the sides, which helps stop it migrating far. Any settlement of the filling was corrected by a quick shake of the garment when removed, to redistribute the down.

The recycled down has Nikwax hydrophobic treatment which does help keep the insulation’s loft though, after a couple of hours of fairly fast movement on the hill and the subsequent perspiration, there was a discernible drop in warmth. The Rab garment is breathable, but inevitably the down will get a little damp when you’re working hard. The jacket isn’t waterproof, though I did keep it on during a few light rain showers and snow flurries without any great problems. Again, if you let the jacket get soaked, you will affect the down’s loft and its ability to insulate, as there’s a limit to the hydrophobic treatment’s water repellency.

The Infinity Microlight has a good full-length zip and the collar keeps the neck warm. There are twin, zipped handwarmer pockets and a small, zipped chest pocket, useful for items such as your smartphone or compass. The hem is dropped at the back and there’s a drawcord for cinching the hem in to help keep out updraughts. The sleeves’ cuffs are elasticated and allowed winter gloves to be tucked into them.

The hood is big enough to accommodate a helmet. There’s no volume adjustment; the rear of the hood has two horizontal elasticated strips, but it still feels quite roomy. At the front are twin shockcords which help pull the hood in around the face, but it was difficult to get the right fit in strong headwinds. The peak is wired, so you can shape it a little to help combat the wind.

The Infinity Microlight was comfortable in use, with soft-feeling fabrics, and wasn’t rustly while on the move. Fit was fairly athletic, so it didn’t flap around in strong winds.

Quality of the jacket was good. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Quality of the jacket was good. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Quality was good, and the jacket has good sustainability credentials, with recycled down and Nikwax eschewing the use of fluorocarbons in its treatments. Down is Global Recycled Standard and Rab uses cardboard and paper packaging for its web orders. Parent company Equip uses renewable energy at its headquarters and warehouse and has set itself targets for global renewables use by 2024, 100 per cent renewable or recycled packaging by the following year, and 50 per cent of its fabrics recycled or renewable by 2030.

The Rab Infinity Microlight is ideal for excursions into the hills and countryside on cool days, when the temperature is hovering around the zero mark. It also makes a good belay jacket if you’re going to be standing around for a while and it’s good to have in the pack for when you’ve summited and need some extra warmth while you admire the view or break out your lunch. It will also keep you warm when the wind is whipping round the urban canyons while you head out for that evening drink. It’s also a good choice for multi-day trips, thanks to its light weight and good packability.

The ability of the jacket to block strong winds obviously helps fight the windchill, at least in your core and head.

Best uses: winter hillwalking, winter country walking; trekking; climbing; mountaineering; urban use.

Warmth 33/40
Windblocking 18/20
Packability 8/10
Quality 7/10
Value for money 7/10
Sustainability 8/10
Total score: 81/100

The jacket was supplied to grough by Rab.

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