Rab is renowned for its excellent down products and the Microlight Vest is no exception – this is a cracking little jacket from the Derbyshire-based company. The Microlight Vest uses 750 fill hydrophobic European goose down. Hydrophobic doesn’t mean that it’s waterproof, but that it will perform far better in damp conditions than normal down: it will absorb a lot less water and, if it does wet out, dry much faster. This is great news if you’re planning to wear the jacket in the UK this winter as well as colder, drier climates, which most of us probably are.
The jacket’s outer fabric is Pertex Microlight, which as the name implies is super light, and it’s also wind resistant for added warmth. The gilet weighs in at just 260g in a size 12 – one of the lightest on test – and it packs down small too.
The jacket has a streamlined fit, meaning it can easily be worn as a mid-layer as well as an outer layer – in fact Rab suggests wearing it under a waterproof or windproof shell for hill, mountain or ski use, although I’ve been wearing it regularly as an outer layer as we head into the colder weather here. It fits me nicely and it’s longer at the back to keep draughts out here. It comes up high at the neck with a tab to protect the chin from the main zip, and there’s a easy-to-use drawcord at the hem so you can tighten it for a better fit or in bad weather.
The Microlight Vest has two large, zip up handwarmer pockets with tags on the zips to make them easier to open. Then there’s a large internal pocket that doubles as the stuff sack; unlike the others on test, the zip to get into this pocket is horizontal rather than vertical. Once packed into the pocket there’s a large hook so you can hang it on to a rucksack or similar.
The jacket comes in a choice of three colours: hot pink, dark blue or grey with a turquoise trim – the jacket I had on test is the latter and I really like it. There’s not really anything to fault on the Microlight Vest – a light, warm gilet at a good price.
In a line: Lightweight, warm, hydrophobic down gilet.