The Vapour-Rise (VR) system has been a mainstay of the Rab range since the 1990s. Developed by brand founder Rab Carrington as the ‘ultimate all-in-one mountain system’, it is essentially a two-layer design consisting of a lightweight, wind and water-resistant Pertex outer combined with a fast-wicking liner. Today, Rab’s VR line-up consists of various different jackets and trousers, including a couple (the Cinder and Ridgeline respectively) designed with mountain biking and trail running in mind. There’s also the lightweight Alpine Light jacket.
However, as we approach the colder months, the Vapour-Rise Summit is the pick of the bunch. It’s the warmest option for all-round hill and mountain use. It’s a wind-resistant softshell and it works very well. In fact, when worn over a baselayer, you can basically leave your fleece and windproof at home, since this does the job of both. Stash a waterproof shell and your favourite down or synthetic puffy in your rucksack and you’re set for pretty much any weather you might encounter.
As we said up top, the foundation of the Vapour-Rise system is its two-layer construction. A lightweight, wind and water-resistant shell keeps out most of the nasty, while a fast-wicking liner keeps you warm, dry and comfortable.
That outer shell is actually a 20D Pertex Quantum Air nylon fabric, finished with a fluorocarbon-free durable water-repellent (DWR) coating. If you want the tech specs, it’s a 47gsm fabric weight with an air permeability rating of 2 cfm. That means it’s very light, yet fairly wind-resistant whilst still allowing some permeability and breathability to help regulate moisture and temperature.
That DWR finish is able to deal with on-off drizzle and general dreich, though it’s no substitute for a proper waterproof in persistent rain. Use this jacket in the same way as you would a regular softshell layer.