Rab Phantom Waterproof Pants | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Rab Phantom Waterproof Pants | Review

Race ready waterproof pants designed to be ultralight and highly packable while still providing an effective barrier against the worst weather

Why We Chose the Rab Phantom Pants: featherlight, packable, waterproof

Rab have enjoyed a throne in the upper echelons of British outdoor gear for over four decades and, judging by the use of the word pants rather than trousers, seem to be gunning for a slice of action in the US with their Phantom Pants. And why not? The Phantoms bear all the same hallmarks of quality we’ve come to expect from one of the country’s leading exponents.

Part of their Skyline series, which encompasses a range of ultralight kit designed specifically for mountain running, the Phantom Pants are best utilised as part of a double act with Rab’s popular Phantom Waterproof Pull-On.

The obvious unique selling points are their weight – at 79g they weigh less than your average bar of soap – and their packability – they compress into an integrated stuff sack that’s around the size of your palm.

Who are the Rab Phantom Pants For?

These are waterproof trousers aimed squarely at long-distance trail runners and mountain athletes, though they’d suit anyone who values speed or a light pack on the hill during the warmer months. They’re clearly designed to pack small enough to fit in a tiny hydration pack and to be whipped out when the weather turns foul, however they’re just as handy when buried deep in an expedition backpack for a summer wild camp or long-distance trek.


Speed is of the essence when you suspect a deluge is imminent, particularly so if you’re in the midst of a Sky Race. The Phantom Pants feature lower leg opening gussets with a quick hook and loop mechanism to allow for speedy changes without having to remove footwear. The waist band is part elasticated, which allows for freedom of movement, while it also features a drawcord for precise fitting. Runner’s needs (or perhaps more accurately, runner’s knees) have been catered for with pre-curved knees so that there’s no restriction of motion.

Every conceivable ounce has been shaved off so there are no pockets or zippers here. The Phantoms simply have everything they need to do their job and nothing that’s surplus to requirements.


Usually when it comes to waterproof layers and weight, there’s a payoff, a compromise. Not so here. The Phantoms use featherlight, 7 Denier Pertex Shield fabric with an impressive 20,000mm hydrostatic head rating, which will stand up to all but the most atrocious conditions. Unlike many waterproof layers, the Phantoms don’t suffer from that swishing, crinkling sound with every stride. They are quiet to wear and relatively soft to the touch. As you’d expect, all seams are fully taped to ensure no leakage. A highly effective barrier against the worst of the elements.

Tester’s Verdict

Nic Hardy, Lake District-based long-distance hiker

“These are the perfect ultralight waterproof pants to throw in your bag on days when you’re not expecting heavy rain. They’re practically the weight of a snack bar and they pack down so small that you hardly notice them in your trail running vest or hiking day pack. It’s possible to pull them on over a trail shoe (a single press stud and a small patch of velcro allows the material to expand at the bottom) but that said, the material is so thin I fear ripping it over the sticky lugs of my trail running shoes so I prefer to quickly remove my shoes to put them on.

“The simple elastic waistband is adjustable. One pocket at the back allows for the trousers to be compressed to be stowed – I’d liken it to the size of an avocado! Hold them up to the light and they’re virtually see-through. Pertex Shield ensures a waterproof and windproof layer between you and the elements if you catch a shower. Anything more than that and I’d be reaching for my more substantial waterproofs.”

Rab Phantom Pants

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2022/23
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