Home Men's Active Insulation Rab Alpha Direct

Rab Alpha Direct

£180 www.gooutdoors.co.uk/rab

This high mountain specialist is the odd one out in this roundup. It’s not really a ‘just in case’ layer, more a ‘throw on and forget you’re wearing it’ mid’ for snowy climbing and mountaineering. The insulation here is a thick Polartec Alpha and has no backing, which allegedly makes it more breathable, but it also makes for a very cosy fleece liner. Combine that with a pretty stiff and weather resistant Pertex outer and you’ve got a modern take on the Pertex and Pile, ‘Buffalo’ style garment. It’s a bit like a softshell you can wear without a mid’ underneath. Two handwarmer pockets and one chest, all zippered and harness friendly, a big hood which resists getting blown about, despite not being adjustable and sits OK under a helmet, and thumbloop sleeves which work great at keeping the snow out, and instead of gloves in a pinch. The front zip is two-way with a windguard, but very stiff. I find Rab design jackets with tall users in mind – I’m far from plump but my waist isn’t in quite the right place – but regardless, this sheds drizzle, snow and sweat remarkably well without resort to a shell except in the most extreme conditions. It’s way too warm off the mountain when active for me, but just about perfect otherwise. Weight 480g.

VERDICT: Tough, wear all day mid and outer layer. Update on the classic Pertex and Pile design.

BEST FOR: Winter UK climbing and mountaineering, summer Alps.

Review by David Lintern @selfpwrd