Newly alighted at OM Mansions is the Rab Vapour-rise Lite Vest, which as the name suggests, is a new, vest or gilet - depending on how suave and continental you're feeling - made from the lighter weight variant of Rab's Vapour-rise.
Lite Or Light?
Original Vapour-rise used an 'almost windproof' outer shell of Pertex Equilibrium, with an inner layer of fast-wicking tricot. The result was decent weather protection but with more breathability and better wicking than similar garments using fully windproof fabrics.
Next Rab introduced a lighter version, Vapour-rise Lite - not to be confused with Vapor-rise Lite, more consistently trans-Atlantic, or Vapour-rise Light, more British, mutter... - using both lighter outer and inner fabrics, which we really like, particularly in the shape of the Vapor-rise Lite Alpine which scored highly in our recent round-up of lightweight softshells. Like Vapour-rise, but lighter... or liter.
And now, doing an unobtrusive stealth gig in the midst of Rab's new spring 2013 collection, comes the Vapour-rise Lite Vest. Like we said, it's a vest made from the same combination of fabrics as the other VR Lite stuff, namely Petex Equilibrium Lite on the outside and Rab's own liner fabric on the inside.
In addition, the side panels are made from a wind-resistant, unlined stretch fabric for better fit and little more cooling. You also get twin hand-warmer pockets, a full zip and Lycra-bound arm-holes and hem plus a bit of a butt-friendly drop-tail cut to the rear. The end result is a measured weight for our medium of just 170g.
Gilets are odd things, people seem to either get them or not. In theory you get protection and insulation for the core torso area, while retaining freedom of movement for your arms with reduced bulk, particularly if you layer a gilet under or over other layers. In practice, having exposed arms means you lose heat quite fast, so we've always found them best for fast-paced stuff like running and biking where you're kicking out a fair bit of heat.
We're quite intrigued by the VR LIte vest. It's light enough and small enough to sit in a bum-bag, pack lid or even, just, a cycling jersey pocket, but you're getting a handy combination of some weather protection with a little added insulation that we think may be spot on for chilly early spring runs, or bike rides or for climbing. Or you could layer it under a close-fitting shell for a little extra warmth without compromising breathability or wicking.
It has nice slim fit as well, partly thanks to the stretchy side panels, but without being skin-tight for us anyway and in mean matt black-ish charcoal grey, it looks kind of mean and purposeful. Or is that taking things too far?
At any rate, we're rather liking it so far and while we've never been huge vest fans, we reckong the VR Lite could be the one to make us embrace the gilet with both bare arms. Watch this space and we'll let you know how we get on.
More information at www.rab.uk.com.