Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket | Review

The popular jacket is back and it's now much more eco-friendly, with recycled fabrics and a fully recycled down fill

Why We Chose It: Great use of recycled materials, lightweight, water resistant
Price: £195
Weight: 466g

The Microlight Alpine by Rab has to be one of the Derbyshire-based brands most popular items. It’s one of those mid weight insulators that’ll end up being worn a heck of a lot; that kind of thing that comes on every hike or climb and that you spend virtually the whole of winter in, both on and off the hill.

It’s been around for a good number of years in various iterations, constantly evolving with the new fabric technologies that come out and for 2020 there’s more of a focus on sustainability.

What’s The Rab Microlight Alpine Best Suited To?

Considering the warmth-to-weight ratio of the Microlight Alpine, along with some of the technical details it has, this will be a handy jacket for climbers – particularly those who like to get out all year-round. As is normally the case with these kind of mid-weight insulated jackets, it’ll suit basically all other hill-based activities as well. For me, it’s certainly the kind of thing I’d be happy to carry with me on my next long-distance backpacking trip.

The Eco-Creds

The biggest difference between this Rab Microlight Alpine and the last one is that Rab have switched all of the materials to recycled ones to massively up its credentials in the sustainability department. Not only is it made using a recycled outer shell and lining as well, but all of the down inside it is recycled too. Called P.U.R.E down, it’s a fill that’s gathered from post-consumer duvets and garments from all over Europe – basically stuff that was destined for the landfill. Don’t worry, it’s all washed, sterlised and sorted at P.U.R.E’s Italian HQ.

I especially like the fact that they’ve teamed up with Nikwax, one of the most environmentally conscious outdoor brands out there, to bring hydrophobic properties to their down fill. It’s actually a new version of Nikwax’s Hydrophobic solution that’s specially developed to treat down that has been washed by consumers in its previous life.

The Rab Microlight Alpine now has a shell made from recycled materials and a fill made from regathered down. Photos: Chris Johnson


The recycled down fill Rab have used here has a pretty decent 700 fill power rating, and, in the classic style for lightweight down jackets, it’s housed within narrow stitched-through baffles made from Pertex Quantum Ripstop Nylon. The climber-focussed hood is designed to fit comfortably underneath a helmet and can be cinched in around the head using the dual adjustment toggles around the chin. More adjustments to the jacket can be made via a toggle around the hem, while the cuffs just feature standard elastic rims. 

As for pockets, you have two medium-sized zipped handwarmers and then a large zipped pocket on the inside of the jacket that’ll hold an OS map or a pair of gloves. 

The Microlight Alpine can be stowed away into a little stuff sack that comes with it. Rather handily, this has a little loop on the outside of it, giving you the potential to clip it onto a harness or onto your backpack.


At 466g this isn’t the lightest of down jackets within its category but it’s certainly not the heaviest either. While I’ve found it warm enough for a bunch of wild camps from August through to the start of October, I would say it’s not quite as warm as the last Microlight and that’ll be down to the fact that the down fill has gone from 750 fill power down to 700. Recycled down still has a bit of a way to go before matching the virgin stuff, but positive steps are at least being taken.

One thing that’s been particularly impressive about the Microlight Alpine is the water resistance of its fill. That’s all thanks to its Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ treatment which I mentioned further up. You’re not going to want to wear this right through a really long and heavy downpour, but it’ll get you through some fairly miserable showers, something that’s not usually a possibility with most down jackets. 

As for the fit and cut, it’s the same classic Rab design with an athletic trim and slightly long arms with articulation at the armpits so you can reach up while climbing without the hem rising. I’m normally a size M in jackets and I found this M fitted perfectly.


As you’d expect from a mid weight insulator, the Microlight Alpine isn’t going to be the thing to bank on as your main insulator during a blizzard in Scotland, but it’ll be perfect for hikes or climbs on brisk days or for those three-season wild camps. Stowed away in its stuff sack, it’s smaller than a medium-sized loaf of bread so it’s certainly packable as well – the kind of thing you’ll be glad to be able to reach for when the wind picks up unexpectedly. 

It’s also good to see the steps Rab have taken to make the Microlight an eco-friendlier offering for those conscious of the impact of their product choices. If you’re not into down, even if it is recycled, it’s worth looking into the Rab Cirrus Alpine which is basically a fully synthetic version of this.

One final note to add in after a few more outings in this: I have noticed that the down proofing isn’t great and that’s a surprise considering the quality Pertex fabric that’s featured.

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