One of my guilty pleasures as well as photography is outdoor pursuit clothing as I spend so much time doing landscape photography or simply out walking I like to be protected from the elements as best as I can as it can be the crucial difference between getting the shot or not.
The trouble is you get almost as addicted to clothing as you do photography gear and you end up with lots of jackets that all do specific things, and of course the king of all jackets is a Gore-Tex variety, it really is for all seasons, but lets be clear, lightweight it isnt.
Why I Chose The Rab Downpour Jacket ?
So why do I need this ? Well ideally I like to have an outer shell waterproof jacket to stick in the bottom of my rucksack for emergencies, or being caught out in summer when a sudden rain storm comes along for example.
The criteria for the jacket was it had to be waterproof, breathable, super light weight and be able to fold down to a very small size.
Gore-Tex was out as the outer shell material is generally of a heavier weave and is less compact even if it is better for keeping you dry, I also wanted it to be very flexible and easy to move around in and not cost the earth, Enter the Rab Downpour jacket.
I had been searching around for jackets to match this criteria for a while when I came across the Rab Downpour jacket and started to look at it as a serious contender.
The jacket was made with a Pertex shield outer shell which is waterproof and windproof, but there's waterproof and there's 100% waterproof !
This jacket is not a true 100% waterproof jacket in the way that a Gore-Tex jacket would keep you dry all day no matter what but its designed to stop a shower getting through but not really torrential, its rated up to 2.5L of the rain table.
The jacket has some really nice touches like the under pit vent zips which you can undo to allow some heat out and and moisture that may build up, these are quality YKK zips as are the pockets and the main zip.
The jacket can actually be folded up neatly into the left pocket which can then be zipped down to give a super compact package to neatly sit in your ruck sack.
The pockets are all fitted with storm flaps too to keep out the rain.
The cuffs of the jacket are fully adjustable with velcro closure to fit snuggly and can easily incorporate gloves underneath them and be tightened to a good level to keep things rain & wind free.
The jacket comes with a fully adjustable hood that is large enough to use with a helmet if you happen to be climbing, but can be tightened down with several drawcords to completely contour to your head.
A flexible polymer peak completes the hood design which stops it from being too far down the forehead and again keeps the rain away.
There is also another drawcord on the hem so you can tighten the jacket down around your waist to keep the wind out and the elements too.
The jacket retails at £99 but if you search around you can find it a bit cheaper and is available in 6 different colours, I went for the firecracker orange one which is unlike me but I figured it would be a good safety option if I needed to be seen.
How Did It Perform ?
I've used this jacket for around a year now as my emergency light weight waterproof and I have to say its done very well.
I've been caught in quite a few downpours where I didnt have my Gore-Tex with me and the Rab Downpour hasn't let me down, its been waterproof to a very good level and is exceptionally good in the wind to add an extra layer of protection.
The quality is decent on this but you would expect that from a company with Rab's pedigree and track record.
The pit vent zips are a really handy feature but the zips can be a little tricky to do up or undo while wearing the jacket, equally the front zip can sometimes rub on the storm flap when you are trying to do it up which makes it a little cumbersome.
The arms on the jacket seem quite long but I guess this is for climbing so you can reach up and still have full coverage of the jacket, but it doesn't detract from the jacket in any way.
The material is very good quality and doesn't seem like it would snag or tear on anything and for the whole time I've owned it I've not managed to inflict any damage on it despite being pretty clumsy.
The breathability of the jacket is pretty good but I wouldn't say 100% breathable but by using the pit zips you can pretty much get around this fairly easily.
Just to be clear this is a light weight over jacket only, its not going to keep you warm as such like a regular jacket, it's designed to work in tandem with a fleece or down jacket underneath for example.
The Rab Downpour has coped with everything I have put it through really well and I have reached for it many times just to keep the chill off me while wearing a synthetic down jacket underneath.
Its so light weight you wont even notice you have it in the bag and it's not noisy like some over jackets that rustle constantly, you barely notice you have it on and that for me is a major plus point.
Waterproof is a fairly good description on this one as so far nothing has got through it but in all fairness I've not used it in torrential all day rain yet, instead switching to Gore-Tex to cope with that .
I purchased this as a light weight emergency waterproof jacket and it has done that perfectly and has even evolved into my spring/summer jacket to wear when you don't really need a jacket but its not quite warm enough to be without one.
If you're looking for something to match that criteria then I highly recommend the Rab Downpour, its never let me down.
TOTAL 41/50 82%
As always, Happy shooting
As with all my reviews this was purchased with my own hard earned cash and these are my honest unbiased thoughts about it, I am in no way affiliated with Rab Clothing
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