During Outdoor Retailer this winter, I purchased a Rab Microlight Down Jacket at one of the booth sales. I had never worn Rab before, but heard good things about the company's lightweight down gear. Built for high-alpine conditions, the Microlight Down Jacket would prove to be useful in a variety of conditions and activities over the winter season.
Made from a water-resistant Pertex Microlite fabric, the Microlight Down Jacket is highly breathable, ensuring your sweat does not clump up the down insulation. Stuffed with high-loft 750-fill European goose down, the Rab jacket provides plenty of warmth in a variety of cold conditions.
I have been wearing the Microlight Down Jacket pretty much the entire winter season. Not only does the jacket keep you warm and looking stylish around town, but at a mere 13oz., easily stuffs down in the bottom of your climbing pack to be taken out at the belay or thrown on when the weather dips below freezing.
The down jacket is very form fitting, so you don't look like a marshmallow and slides smoothly under a shell jacket. The Rab jacket stuffs into its own inside zippered pocket for easy storage and on drier days, you could easily hang the down jacket off your harness if you don't want to carry a small pack on your multi-pitch climbs.
A high neck and elastic cuffs keep precious heat from escaping and snow or ice out. I prefer the non-hooded version of the Microlight Down Jacket for climbing, as it can function as both an extra midlayer as well as a belay jacket. If you are looking for a pure belay jacket, you might think about the hooded version. I personally shy away from too many hoods when climbing, as it makes it harder to hear my partner.
The Rab Microlight Down Jacket comes in variety of face colors with contrasting liners to add a little pop. A UK company, Rab apparel may run a bit smaller than you would normally wear. I took a large size in this particular down jacket.
Bottom Line: The Rab Microlight Down Jacket provides bang for your buck in terms of warmth to weight ratio. This is the perfect down jacket to have lingering in the bottom of your pack but will also look stylish walking around town as a nice alternative to the Patagonia down jackets everyone else will be wearing.
The men's and women's Rab Microlight Down Jacket normally retails for $200, but Backcountry, EMS, and Moosejaw are currently having a big end of season sale on them right now.