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Price:

£80

Weight: 330 grammes

(medium)

Features:

Lightweight insulated smock with Primaloft 1fill. Pertex

Quantum inner and outer fabrics, 60g Primaloft 1 insulation,

single chest pocket, overlapping kangaroo pocket, Lycra

cuffs and hem, long half-zip neck opening, packs into chest

pocket. Available in black and denim.


What's It For? The new Generator is part of Rab's

ultra-lightweight Quantum range and aimed pretty much at anyone who

wants very light, very packable insulation that's also damp friendly

- unlike down - and windproof. Climbers, runners, trekkers,

lightweight backpackers could all use it.


The Techy Bits There's nothing particularly magical about the

design; the key to the Generator's weight and pack size is the use of

top quality materials, in particular the ultra-lightweight Pertex

Quantum fabric that's used both inside and out and the Primaloft 1

synthetic insulation.


How It Performs Traditionally the warmth without weight thing

has been done using down - Rab has its own take on that with the 400g

Neutrino jacket - but down has one major disadvantage for UK

conditions; it really doesn't like dampness.

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Rab's Neil McAdie has the Generator on his

Christmas list

Sythetic insulation like Primaloft, is far more robust - get it

wet and it will retain far more of its insulating properties than

down, which turns into sludgey porridge when mixed with water...

Generally though, synthetics have usually weighed quite a bit more

and lacked that soft, luxurious down feel.

All that stops with the Generator. Its genuine 330-gramme weight

is in microfleece territory, but it's as warm as a mid-weight fleece

plus the windproofness of the Quantum fabric makes it much more

useable in anything other than still conditions.

As a bonus, the silky Pertex Quantum fabric and soft Primaloft

insulation gives it a great, soft, luxurious feel good factor. It's

not quite as pub-friendly as a traditional fleece, but everywhere

else it blows its fabric cousin into the weeds thanks to a smaller

pack size and windproofing.

Conveniently it compresses into its own chest pocket, though it

will go smaller if forced producing a pack size, oh, about the same

as a small pineapple or maybe a very large grapefruit.

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At any rate, it doesn't take up much room in your pack and sits

there unobtrusively 'til you need instant insulation. You get a loop

to hang it from your harness as well making it an option for climbers

moving light on multi-pitch routes.

Cut is snug - this isn't a belay-type garment - and long enough to

feel protective. You get a single zipped chest pocket that will take

an OS map or guidebook without protesting, plus a non-zipped

'kangaroo' handwarmer pocket with a central divider so although you

get the full width of the pocket on either side, your hands don't

actually touch. Great for keeping cold fingers warm on chilly

days.

The deep chest zip works well for venting and easy donning and

removal and people with normal-sized forearms will be able to roll

sleeves up as well.

The Generator's not particularly water resistant per se, but you

will get a sort of soggy warmth even when it's damp and there are no

care issues with getting it wet.

Verdict

If you're looking for all-condition warmth with minimal weight

and a dose of windproofing thrown in, Rab's Generator will be

bouncing up and down shouting 'Me! Me! Me!'

It doesn't weigh much, travels small and packs a bigger insulation

punch than you'd expect with added wind resistance over traditional

fleeces. It's happy with damp and, as a bonus, it feels lovely and

soft.

If you were being really picky, you might ask for a hood as well

and a full-length zip, but that'd weigh more and minimal weight,

maximum warmth is the name of the game here.

Very, very nice and very effective.


Pros

Light, small-packing, warm, soft and windproof.

Cons

Nothing really.