Rab Generator Alpine Jacket | Review
Full test of Rab's hooded and very water-resistant lightweight PrimaLoft jacket
What Is It For?
The Generator Alpine is, says Rab, a perfect all-rounder that can be used as a mid-layer for backpacking, climbing and mountaineering and thrown on at rest-stops, belays and overnight camps, the insulated, helmet-compatible hood adds versatility as well.
PrimaLoft is a down-like synthetic insulator with one big plus over down, it's very water resistant and still retains loft and warmth even when it gets damp, so it doesn't need to be mollycoddled in wet conditions in the same way.
Rab has used two grades of the warmest variant, PrimaLoft One - the body has a 100g weight fill for warmth while the arms and hood get lighter 60g insulation to save weight and increase mobility.
The other stand-out feature is the use of Pertex Endurance for the outer, a departure from the standard Generator which uses Pertex Quantum inside and out. Pertex Endurance is mainly used for sleeping bags, it's actually waterproof or possibly 'highly water resistant' with a hydrostatic head of 1000mm. It's not taped, so in heavy rain it will leak, but it should cope better with light rain and snow melt, snow, dripping ice, hit spills and the like.
Because the filling is water resistant anyway, waterproofing isn't that crucial, but it's nice to have a bit of extra protection.
How It Performed
What we really like about Primaloft is that it's a UK-friendly filling. Unlike down, it's not a catastrophe if it gets wet, more of an incovenence. In short, it's a great, knock-about option for our climate.
The Generator Alpine has a long, slim sort of thing going on with the cut. It's more protective than shorter tops we've used like the Paramo Torres or Berghaus Chulu, but without a weight penalty. We found it perfect for throwing on over shell layers for short stops and also good as a stand-alone insulated winter windproof when things got cold and snowy. And if your underlayers are wet? So what, Primaloft doesn't care.
The hood is a real boon in these situations as well, giving instant head protection. It's a whopping great thing too and can happily swallow a climbing helmet making it a credible lightweight belay jacket, though Rab also has a heavier option in their 'Belay Jacket'.
Everything's adjustable and there are some neat touches like the Endurance-lined chest pocket which can swallow the rest of the jacket for stowage or equally, hold wet gloves or hat quite happily. It also eats OS maps with relish. There's a clip loop too, if you want to hang it from a harness.
What else? It's similar in cut and look to Rab's Photon Hoodie, but uses a tougher outer fabric, has that handy chest pocket and also uses PrimaLoft One rather than the Photon's PrimaLoft Sport, which makes it more compressible and more water repellent.
The Generator Alpine's rapidly become a favourite here at OM Towers. It's a perfect compromise between weight, bulk, coverage and warmth and the helmet-compatible hood extends its remit into lightweight belay jacket territory. Bear in mind though, the accent is on the 'lightweight' and most dedicated belay jackets are warmer, but also heavier.
The Primaloft filling works brilliantly in damp UK conditions and the highly water-resistant outer adds reassurance. A top all-round, packable insulated jacket that you can wear under or over other layers or simply as an outer layer in its own right.
Buy if you're looking for a lightweight, windproof, water-resistant belay, come stop, come camping, insulated jacket.
Insulated jacket with Primaloft One 100g filling in body and 60g Primaloft One in arms, Pertex Endurance outer and Pertex Quantum inner, Endurance-lined chest pocket come stuff sac, two zipped hand pockets, one internal zipped security pocket, laminated Velcro cuff tabs, adjustable hem drawcord, adjustable helmet-compatible hood with wired peak
- Pros: Good coverage, decent weight, warmth, water resistance and an excellent hood
- Cons: Nothing really
- Price: £140.00
- Year: 2010
- Weight: 540
- Website: www.rab.uk.com