Words by Alex Haseldine
The Rab Electron has quickly become the jacket I daren’t leave the house without. A midweight, breathable and versatile jacket that is packable and weather resistant, it manages to be impressive in its specification but also casual enough where I do not look out of place wandering around town or going for a casual stroll that ends with a quick visit to the pub.
A jacket that is suited to year-round use (depending on where in the world you are – and what you are doing!), it manages to protect you from the elements with its robust nature without crossing into the cumbersome or clumsy bracket.
It is probably worth noting I am someone who feels the cold easily and have been spotted (and ridiculed) for wearing this jacket indoors with the radiators set to a toasty 22°C.
What is it made from?
The jacket has a Pertex Quantum Pro outer which is a tightly woven light and soft fabric that allows insulation to fully loft - which is also windproof. The ‘Pro’ element adds a lightweight PU coating to the fabric which is incredibly water resistant – it may not be waterproof but it certainly stands it’s ground when you’re running with your tail between your legs to get out of a shower!
It has a Nylon Ripstop inner which aids with durability and which is smooth when layering the jacket on top of midlayers/fleeces on particularly chilly days.
The Electron contains 170G of 800FP ethical, responsibly sourced down from the European Union which has been treated with a Nikwax hydrophobic solution, which is added to each cluster before being added to the jacket. This aids the down to not absorb as much moisture as it would untreated, to loft and perform better when damp and to dry quicker if/when this happens.
The down fills a mixture of mini and midi baffles which has stitch through construction which really helps with breathability. The baffles are strategically placed with larger baffles covering the torso, back and hood and the mini baffles being used on the sides and the arms. These means there is maximum insulation in the areas you really need it and smaller baffles in less temperature affected areas, which help this jacket be as effective as it is for its weight (470g).
The construction of this jacket has made it incredibly versatile and has meant I have been able to use it in the evenings just over a base layer when hiking in rural Japan in late October and now over many layers when out and about in the nippy British countryside.
The Electron has a few features which I have really fallen in love with, and one of them is something incredibly simple and also a little strange to pick as a favourite – the cuffs!
The cuff material is incredibly soft and cuts away from the baffle in a smooth and subtle design which then holds close to the wrist without being uncomfortable or awkward. I had never really noticed how comfortable (or uncomfortable as it turns out) cuffs were until I used this jacket which was so comfortable it has me now being incredibly picky and potentially slightly unreasonable about cuffs on other pieces of clothing. They have an elasticity which makes them work well when wearing gloves and manages to accommodate the extra bulk while still being able to return and retain its original size so you are not left with baggy wrists after using with a hefty set of gloves.
The hood is also a great feature, there are toggle features to bring it in close, but is also helmet compatible. It is comfortable and warm; it’s snugness supported by the fact that over the top of the main zip, there is a 14cm length of very soft material – no uncomfortably cold chin or lips sticking to cold metal here! Another small detail but one which really adds to the comfort and general cosy feel of the jacket.
The pockets are a great size, roomy to the point of being able to stuff large gloves in one, a small bottle in the other. They are relatively high on the jacket meaning there is great potential for this to be a good choice when belaying as will work fine with a harness. I am yet to take it climbing, however, I know with its helmet compatibility, warmth and comfort, it is going to be an excellent fit for the job.
How does it fit?
Rab describes the jacket as a ‘regular fit’ however, I would describe this as more of a relaxed slim fit. It’s not Alpine by any means, but, as a woman with wide hips, I definitely felt it fit on the snug side.
For reference, I am just under 5’10 and fit a size 12-14 on bottom and a 10-12 on top (‘pear’ shape) depending on what brands I go for. I usually find Rab to be fairly true to size and found the 12 worked well with fitting in the hips and not leaving too much dead space around the chest area (an issue I have often with insulated pieces). Due to the closer fit, I have found the jacket not to be very forgiving after the Christmas festivities!
The length is fantastic, as stated, I am a fairly tall woman and can struggle with jacket body and arm lengths, yet this jacket has ticked this box superbly.
The Electron manages to fit well and comfortably regardless of the layers I am wearing, having a drawstring in the hem to draw it in if only wearing a base layer and wanting to keep that chill from creeping up my back. It manages never to feel bulky or incommodious; a jacket which has genuinely been a pleasure to wear over the last 3 months.
What could be improved?
The pockets may be large and well placed, but I have found their actual shape to be awkward and a little uncomfortable. They seem to taper to a very small angular point meaning your hands have to fit finlike when in the pockets. I felt this was such a shame as the insulation is fantastic, so the pockets keep your hands warm without the need for gloves, however, because of their (in my opinion) odd shape, I have used them mainly for storage and relied on wearing gloves for warmth when out and about instead.
The only other thing would be the listing of the fit as regular. As mentioned, I felt the jacket was slimmer fitting than a standard ‘regular fit’. In general, I actually found the fit very comfortable, so it is definitely more the terminology rather than the actual shape of the jacket.
The Electron has become the jacket I am never seen without. It’s versatile, breathable and most of all comfortable, with tech specs that demand respect. There may be a niggly thing or two but at the end of the day, it really is a people pleaser of a jacket which works hard while remaining relaxed and understated. Definitely a cosy thumbs up from me!