Words by Richard Davies
I have been using the Integrity jacket for 4 months now and it has seen a wide range of conditions; from driving wind and freezing temperatures while carrying out night-navigation on top of the Brecon Beacons to taking it down the local climbing spots and commuting every day to and from work in it. I now don’t leave the house without taking it with me as it covers such a wide range of conditions and is super comfortable for every situation that I have been in.
What is the Integrity Jacket?
So what is it? It’s a softshell jacket with the design and purpose of being used in harsh winter conditions; from your quick alpine ascents, your longer days in Scotland or Snowdonia, backcountry skiing or simply kicking around and going to the pub in.
What is it made from?
The Integrity uses a single and double weave fabric to give you a tough outer fabric which makes it resistant to scuffs and scrapes, while a softer lining is created by cutting the end off the weave as it’s made to give you this brushed fleece effect. The brushed fleece is not only super comfortable next to skin, but also provides warmth and wicks sweat away. The Integrity is also highly breathable; I suffer from overheating on steep climbs and found the jacket to be exceptionally comfortable in my layering system. It added the perfect amount of warmth and protection from the elements whilst breathing brilliantly and constantly wicking sweat away.
One of the most unique features you won’t find on most softshells is the pit zips. Although I didn’t make full use of them on the Brecon Beacons over the last few weeks due to the sideways rain and wind, having the ability to dump large amounts of heat when I get my touring skis on or head out for a winter mountain day is something I look forward to being able to utilise.
Another great feature is the hood itself. The stiffened peak helped to keep light rain off my face and the three-point adjustment allowed me to cinch the hood in around the crown of my head. Even with it tightened, it remained comfortable and stopped the majority of the wind from getting in. At this point, people will generally ask “do you really want the hood?”, and my response is that it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. It fits perfectly underneath my shell jacket with both hoods up or tucked away when not in use. Lastly, the wide adjustable cuffs make it super easy to adjust the sleeves even with bulky gloves on.
How does it fit?
The jacket is marked as slim fitting and I found it fit well with a baselayer and an active insulation piece underneath it. With these two layers on, I didn’t feel restricted and the articulation of the jacket meant when the weather gets really cold I still had room for a heavier insulation piece. Having said that, when I’ve been out walking with only a t-shirt on underneath the jacket, it still fits really well with no excess bag or room. Basically, it looks like a well-tailored Rab jacket that wouldn’t look amiss walking down the high street as well as halfway up Ben Nevis.
What could be improved?
The only criticism I could find with the jacket is the factory DWR (durable water repellent). The DWR already applied didn’t last as long as I would have expected; after only a couple of uses light rain was wetting out the fabric quite quickly. This jacket is not waterproof, but with the tough Matrix fabric, I felt it should have lasted longer. The plus side is the jacket is super easy to wash, dries quickly and can be reproofed easily with some Nikwax or Grangers products.
The Integrity is a well-rounded piece with great features that make it brilliant for a wide range of environments, from driving wind and freezing temperatures while carrying out night-navigation, to my everyday commute to work. The great breathability, quick drying fabric and brushed inner shields out the elements whilst keeping you warm and comfortable; you really can’t ask for more.