I've always used fleece jackets for the bulk of my photography with a Gore-Tex over jacket and its been a pretty good combination but I have always understood the benefits of a down jacket, or more to the point a synthetic down jacket.
Down Vs Synthetic Down
The main reason I have never owned a down jacket is because of the torturous process of removing down from birds, it is simply terrible and I couldn't possibly support such a nasty process and I urge you to do the same and boycott them.
That was until synthetic down came along, this made me sit up and take notice.
Synthetic down has a few benefits over regular down, when it gets wet it wont clump together like real down does, meaning washing the jacket was much easier and getting caught in rain would be fine too.
Down jackets while very warm do suffer from clumping when wet, even when the down is treated with waterproofing to the down itself. If you wash down jackets the individual baffles seem to lose their shape as the down all clumps together at the lower end of the baffle and despite shaking it when drying they tend not to go back in the right places.
Down jackets are also a lot more expensive than synthetic down so the benefits in my opinion are actually far better on synthetic down over regular down plus you can keep a clear conscious that no birds were tortured for your jacket.
Synthetic down jackets are exceptionally light weight so you barely feel like you're wearing them, they are also able to be folded down to a really compact size so they are perfect as a jacket to be stored in your ruck sack.
The main benefit is they are warm, really warm because they trap layers of air in the synthetic down and hold it very well, they also offer a very good degree of wind proofing.
The down side, They are rarely waterproof and you will need an outer shell to make them a viable all season option so keep that in mind if you intend to purchase one.
The Rab Nimbus jacket has an RRP price of £150 but can be found by shopping around for as little as £100 which puts it at the lower end of price on down jackets, but synthetic down is cheaper.
The Rab Nimbus jacket is designed to be a multi season jacket but as stated would need a waterproof outer and it can be used as a mid layer jacket in the depths of winter rather than a stand alone jacket.
The outer shell of the jacket is Rabs Pertex Quantum windproof fabric and the insulation is Cirrus which is synthetic but lofts just like down.
The Rab Nimbus comes in four colour ways and I went for the dark blue which I believe is called Beluga which has a grey interior, but there are some brighter colours available if thats your thing all with different colour internal liner.
The Nimbus is a hooded jacket which is elasticated but lacks draw strings on the front of the hood to tighten it around the face.
There are two waist pockets which are a decent size and the left pocket can be used as a stuff sack to fold the jacket up inside itself and be zipped up but if I'm honest I have never been able to get the jacket fully inside it.
There is an internal chest pocket with zip as well which is ideal for a phone or wallet etc.
The sleeves have elasticated cuffs which I felt could have been a little tighter as I do have a gap on them which doesn't cause too much issues but will allow wind to penetrate them.
YKK zips are present all round on the Rab Nexus jacket which are very smooth and work well and can easily be used with gloves on thanks to the addition of string loops on all.
The main front zip also has an internal storm flap to keep out wind.
The hem come with a draw cord too which is really handy to keep the wind out.
How Did The Rab Nimbus Jacket Perform ?
I have used the Rab Nimbus jacket for around 6 months and to say I'm impressed with it would be a huge understatement.
I have been out in 50 mph bitterly cold winds and I didn't even need to use an outer shell as the Nimbus coped with it easily, the wind proofing is absolutely perfect performance and nothing seems to get through this jacket.
Rab never make any claim that this jacket is waterproof and with good reason, it isn't.
If you get caught in a shower with this jacket you WILL get wet, it's as simple as that and quickly too, sometimes in as little as a few minutes even in light rain.
You have to use it in conjunction with a waterproof outer if you want this to be a truly viable option, something I quickly learned.
One thing I would say is that if you get wet you still stay fairly warm in this jacket and it is very quick to dry.
The jacket seems to manage to regulate body temperature superbly well, I never feel cold in it no matter what the conditions but equally never feel like it is too hot either.
The best way to describe the Rab Nimbus is its like wearing an incredibly comfortable sleeping bag but with full movement.
The outer shell isn't as tough as you would like it to be but thats the compromise in having a ultra light weight shell, The fabric will rip quite easily if you snag it on thorns etc and I actually managed to take a tumble while wearing it and put a very small tear in the sleeve which was a bit disappointing but I guess I shouldn't have thrown myself down some slippery stairs !
I would have liked to have seen the addition of pit zips on this jacket but I guess at this price point it wasn't really an option and in all fairness it doesn't overheat anyway.
A draw cord in the hood would also have been very welcome so you could really tighten it down as the pre formed elastic doesn't quite do the job well enough in my opinion.
Overall I have to say this is one of the best jackets I have ever used as long as you understand its limitations and I think it offers real value for money at its price point, while I had a couple of very small minor gripes with it I was super happy with it overall and would absolutely recommend it to anyone, it is now my "go to" jacket for any trip I make and as it is a nicely styled item it has become my every day use jacket as well, it copes with a trip to the shops every bit as well as a full on coastal hike in high winds so a really good allrounder.
Value For Money 10/10
TOTAL 42/50 84%
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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