Rab was one of the first brands on the block to use Polartec’s excellent NeoShell fabric with last year’s impressively breathable Stretch Neo jacket and for this spring 2013, it’s added the new Myriad Jacket using a lighter version of the fabric to cut weight.
The Myriad isn’t ultra-lightweight, our medium weighs in at a real-life 390g, but it’s a handy 100g or so lighter than the Stretch Neo and, we reckon, is cut a little more sleekly as well, along the same lines as Rab’s Latok Alpine in fact.
The fabric feels pleasantly soft and decidedly less gnarly than last year’s heavier version, but then it weighs more than 20g per square metre less and if ultimate toughness is your priority we’d probably suck up the extra weight and go for the original jacket.
In either case, what you’ll get is seriously impressive breathability. It really is the difference between coming home with a dry baselayer after a hard winter day and a somewhat moist one with most waterproof fabrics. Regardless of what various lab tests show or don’t show, in the real world, NeoShell simply works very, very well indeed and would be our first choice waterproof shell fabric for anyone who runs hot.
Interestingly, it’s still a relatively rare beast in conventional waterproof form and in the UK at least, Rab’s two jackets are pretty much the only options you have until Montane releases its new autumn range later this year.
Everything You Need, Not Much You Don’t
Of course it’s not just about fabric choice and the Myriad is a classic Rab mountain shell with pretty much everything you need in a technical waterproof and not much that you don’t. Cut is slim, but with enough room for a lightweight mid-layer top, and medium length with a bit of a drop tail.
There are two, big, harness and pack-friendly, map-friendly, chest pockets, adjustable cuffs and hem, glove-friendly chunky zip-pulls on the water-resistant main-zip and pockets, a micro-velour lined chin-guard and a fully adjustable mountain hood with wired peak that sits nicely over a hat or will also take a full-sized helmet.
The sleeves are classic Rab, being a couple of inches longer than the norm to make sure they stay put in climbing scenarios, but we like that you can also roll them up over (normal) fore-arms for some additional cooling.
There are no venting pockets or pit-zips or core-vents on the basis that the breathable fabric means you don’t need them – just about the only extraneous detail is a neat internal welded security pocket.
Overall first impressions of the Myriad are overwhelmingly good ones. We know from past experience that NeoShell is probably the most breathable conventional 3-layer waterproof fabric out there and the streamlined design of the jacket ticks most of our boxes.
In an ideal world, we’d maybe also spec a slick YKK Vislon zip rather than the water-resistant one fitted and add some strategic heavier-duty fabric at shoulders, hips and forearms, but that would up the weight slightly and we appreciate the relatively lightness of the Myriad for those days when it’s likely to spend time in your pack rather than on your back.
Last observation: our test jacket is very red, but it’s also available in black and a retina-burning shade of blue. The women’s version – yes, there is a women’s version – weighs less again at a claimed 345g and comes in purple, black or red.
The Myriad Jacket carries a suggested retail price tag of £240 and there’s more info at www.rab.uk.com.
- Polartec® NeoShell® 3L fabric
- Helmet compatible hood with wired peak
- 2 YKK Aquaguard® zipped bonded A-line pockets
- YKK Aquaguard® front zip, internal flap, rain drain
- Internal YKK zipped bonded pocket
- Tricot lined collar
- Velcro® cuffs, hem drawcord
- Reflective trim
- Fit: Regular