Rab Kangri GTX Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Rab Kangri GTX Jacket | Review

James Forrest tests out the new Rab Kangri GTX jacket on a series of demanding Munro-bagging hikes in Scotland

Last year I climbed all 282 Munros in Scotland in just six months, a peak-bagging challenge that was simultaneously awe-inspiring and awful. At times the weather in Scotland was utterly apocalyptic and I lost count of the times I found myself on a remote, rugged mountainside, being battered by torrential rain and raging winds.

I’ve used a variety of waterproof jackets to try and stay dry in these atrocious conditions, with varying degrees of success. But, towards the end of my expedition, I settled on the Rab Kangri GTX Jacket, which had recently been released as part of the brand’s new autumn/winter collection. This is how I got on with it.

My first impressions on the Rab Kangri were that it ran a little large, in terms of sizing and comfort. I initially ordered a medium (I’m usually half-way between small and medium), but quickly changed it for a small. Even with the small version, I found it a little roomy, especially around the arms, but that was less of a problem when worn over mid-layers or a down jacket. Perhaps, after all those Munros, I was just too skinny for the ‘regular fit’ Rab described?

“Despite being relatively heavy-duty, I was able to move freely and comfortably in the Kangri”

Regardless, I found the jacket pretty comfy. I certainly never found it uncomfortable and I was more than happy to reach for it, when the skies started to turn grey. Features that helped to improve the comfort included: the Velcro wrist straps, which enabled me to adequately tighten the jacket’s cuff for my preferred comfort; and the highly adjustable hood, which I could tighten and loosen easily for tailored comfort and shelter around my face.

Buy the Rab Kangri GTX here

I generally found the jacket a little heavier and more cumbersome than I normally prefer. But I was happy to overlook that in return for the effective waterproofing – I’d prefer to be dry in the Rab Kangri than fast, light and comfy (but wet) in a less hard-wearing jacket. Despite being relatively heavy-duty, I was able to move freely and comfortably in the Kangri.

“The jacket is made from a 70-denier fabric, with a three-layer Gore-Tex waterproof membrane”

At £280, the Kangri falls in the mid-range of Rab’s waterproof offerings. It’s not as expensive as the top-end Ladakh (£350), Muztag (£350) or Latok (£440); but it’s way more advanced than cheaper options such as the Downpour jacket (£100) and Kinetic Plus jacket (£180). Like the Ladakh, Muztag and Latok, the Kangri comes with a host of premium design features we’ve come to expect from Rab.

Let’s begin with the materials used. The jacket is made from a 70-denier fabric, with a three-layer Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. That’s a good start, using hard-wearing, durable materials and a premium version of Gore-Tex at the super-waterproof end of the spectrum. Other materials used include a fleece lining in the collar and a softer chin guard, to boost comfort when the hood is up.

In terms of customisable flexibility, the jacket performs well. Drawcords at the hem, waist and in two directions around the hood enable quick adjustments to guarantee a snug fit. The internal waist drawstrings are fiddly to do when you’re wearing the jacket, especially when it’s raining, so it’s best to do these in advance.

The jacket has two harness compatible pockets, which are big enough for anything you’d want to carry in the mountains. The sealed zips protect against leakage and the top of each zip has a little ‘garage’ to seat the zip and avoid water egress into the pocket. There is also a smaller internal pocket for a phone or valuables such as a wallet or car key. I particularly liked the way each zip has a small loop of string and a large-ish toggle, enabling you to open and close the pockets easily while wearing gloves.

“The 70-denier fabric was hard-wearing enough to stand up to the worst of Scotland’s weather”

Other key features include: the wired and laminated peak to the hood; two-way YKK AquaGuard zips under the armpit, with a sufficient opening to guarantee good breathability; the special toggles that enable adjustment with one-hand only (Rab make a big fuss about this but I, ironically, found myself always adjusting them with two hands); and the storm flap on the main zip.

Rab describe the Kangri as a ‘robust and reliable jacket’ for ‘avid adventurers’, providing top-level waterproofing that ‘allows you to get outside whatever the weather’. Is this marketing propaganda or truthful bragging? Well, I certainly found the Kangri to be a high-performing jacket. The 70-denier fabric was hard-wearing enough to stand up to the worst of Scotland’s weather. It deflected rain effectively for me in the Highlands, even during the heaviest of downpours, and the beading of water droplets was excellent from the outset. I didn’t find it the most breathable, despite opening the large pit vents, perhaps because it’s quite heavy and bulky. But that was a small price to pay in favour of staying dry.

“Climbing all 282 Munros in just six months left me with quite a few gear casualties”

Climbing all 282 Munros in just six months left me with quite a few gear casualties. A couple of my older waterproofs were ‘retired’ from active service, while one or two of my lighter, running-style Salomon waterproofs were relegated to ‘walking to the pub’ service only. Scotland’s harsh weather was just too brutal for all of these. But not the Rab Kangri. It became one of my favourite go-to jackets for mountain climbs in inclement weather.

I preferred my Berghaus Changste, with its tight, athletic fit, for lighter and faster hikes, but when the heavens really opened I often reached for the Rab Kangri. It was the durable, hard-wearing and high-performing waterproof I needed for such tough conditions.


Full Specifications

Gore-Tex waterproof technology / 70 Denier fabric / fleece lined chin guard / adjustable mountain hood, with wired and laminated peak / YKK AquaGuard Vislon front zip with internal storm flap / two YKK AquaGuard zipped hand pockets / two-way full venting YKK AquaGuard pit zips / internal secure zip pocket / anti-snag hook and loop adjustable cuffs / elasticated hem and waist drawcord with one hand adjustment system

Buy the Rab Kangri GTX here

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