Clothing Update – Arcteryx and Rab

Along with buying for Winter 2012 comes the first availability of new products for Spring 2012, which prompted me to write a little bit about things I have been testing.

Arcteryx Phase AR Base Layer

The Phase AR Zip neck is now my favourite piece of base layer replacing the Mammut All Year Zip Neck. When I got some Phase AR, my first impression was that it would be too warm as the fabric seemed quite thick. However this is not the case and I have found it’s temperature window to be very similar to the Mammut All Year Fabric (which uses some wool blend and some synthetic panels) although the Mammut fabric is thinner. On the OMM I took both and wore the Mammut to run in and the Arcteryx in the tent, next time I will run in the Phase AR. I think the Phase AR has slightly better durability than the All Year fabric and is more comfortable to wear as it has a little more stretch. The lack of a lighter colour in the Phase AR is a slight drawback for those in high UV environments. I think both Mammut and Arcteryx base layers perform better than any thing else I have tried ( and I’ve tried a lot) but I do find myself leafing through my base layers to find the Phase.

Rab VR Lite Alpine Jacket

The Rab Vapour Rise Lite Alpine Jacket is awesome. Only had it about a week and I love it! Just the right weight outer shell (Pertex Endurance) combined with a really light tricot liner. I have also been using the Marmot Ether Driclime which I also really like, however the Rab VR Alpine Lite suits me better and here’s why.

1. Hood – The Marmot hood is too minimalist with no adjustment so you can’t get it to stay up in the wind. The Rab hood has a full head gripper cord and stiffened peak so is more functional. It is also heavier but it has a better hood tie down strap (although still room for improvement) so actually stays in place better when not in use.

2. Slightly longer cut with hem drawcord for trapping more warmth.

3. 2 larger napoleon pockets rather than single small chest pocket which is better for carrying little bits and pieces.

4. Adjustable rather than fixed cuffs so better for using with a range of heavier gloves.

The Marmot Ether Driclime does have a couple of points in it’s favour

1. Under arm vents which really reduce the amount of vapour that the rest of the fabric has to deal with

2. Lighter weight. 100g lighter, 250g for the Marmot opposed to 350g for the Rab

3. Price. Marmot ether is 30 less than the Rab (80/110).

Much like the base layer I have had a lot of windshirts in my time, (Original Driclime Windshirt, ME Microtherm Jacket, VR Stretch Top, Buffalo etc) but I really do rate the new VR Lite ALpine Jacket. I think it is worth the 30 extra price tag over the Ether Driclime for everyone except the real weight weenies out there. I will post a fuller review with photos when I have some.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *