Rab Women's Flashpoint Jacket | Review
Rab's lightweight, waterproof jacket is a nice balance between being lightness and function making it a brilliant packable all-rounder.
'Brilliantly light, all-round lightweight waterproof that's ideal for carrying just in case, but does the job right when you need it to'
Outdoors Magic: Light, packable and impressively breathable, adjustable too and with a helmet hood.
Outdoors Tragic: Not cheap and thin fabric feels less protective and cooler.
Outdoors Grabbit? The lightest jacket we tested, but not at the expense of functionality or quality. It's brilliant worn over a soft shell when the weather closes in, but also trim and breathable enough for running or cycling use. Finally it's surprisingly tough for its weight.
Lightweight women's-specific waterproof jacket / Pertex 3-layer+ waterproof fabric / helmet-compatible hood with polymer peak / YKK® AquaGuard® zipped chest pocket / YKK Vislon® AquaGuard® front zip with overlapping internal storm flaps / Micro velcro cuff adjustment / Half hem drawcord / Light-weight stuff sack / Rab slim fit.
Full Review Below
Rab Women's Flashpoint Jacket The Tech
What makes the Flashpoint special is the ultra-lightweight Pertex Shield+ fabric. It's fully waterproof but also very breathable. And because it's a full 'three-layer fabric', made from a sandwich of materials, it's more comfortable against the skin than other lightweight materials we've tried.
'It's the one jacket we've tried that I'd actually consider using for running - the rest are just too heavy' - Lynn, OM Review Crew member
To keep weight low, the jacket has special narrow seam tape, just one large chest pocket and pared-back features like the super-thin Velcro-type cuff adjusters. But it does have adjusters for the hem, cuffs and the helmet hood, unlike a lot of very light jackets.
Other components are state of the art, like the main YKK Aquaguard zip that uses interlocking plastic teeth which do a good job of keeping the rain out, while being really smooth and easy to use. It's also backed up with two interlocking storm-flaps to intercept any water that does squeeze past.
Finally, that hood uses a cunning new peak design with a stiffener made from flexible polymer to hold it stiff and give more rain protection to your face. The big picture is that Rab has kept the jacket useable, by not cutting back too much on adjustability and cut.
Rab Women's Flashpoint - Performance
When the first Flashpoint launched a year or so back, Rab described it as 'an alpine retreat jacket', something to throw on and run away in when the weather crapped out in the mountains. In reality though, it's more versatile than that and we've used the original men's jacket for walking, running and cycling as well.
The new women's-specific version earned Review Crew plaudits for being 'super lightweight and soft' in feel. That makes it a little disconcerting if you prefer a more robust feel to your waterproofs, but but at 150 grammes on our digital scale, it's something you can throw in your pack and forget about until it's needed.
'Reaching up for that overhang in the jacket showed there were no restrictions on movement at all'
Outdoors instructor Caroline loved it for just this reason. She prefers to use a soft-shell most of the time, but needs a reliably waterproof back-up in case things get properly wet. We just about managed to get it back from her...
Cut is a good combination of trim-fitted, female-friendliness and non-restrictive, alpine savvy and went down well with all our testers. There's plenty of hip room at the adjustable hem, no tightness around the chest or shoulders and the climbing-friendly Rab sleeves fitted everyone fine. It's also reasonably long, something that's not always the case with lightweight shells.
The minimalist Velcro cuff fasteners meant they stayed in place too, though it seemed odd that the loop part of the strip was in two parts rather than a continuous one. They also fit fine over gloves.
'I quite liked the colour, a sort of burnt umber but found the pink zip detail combination a little startling'
Waterproofing is good, despite the thin, almost translucent fabric, and it also scores well for breathability making it comfortable on the move. One point that came up was that thin jacket simply don't feel as 'warm' as thicker alternatives, particularly when the outside surface gets damp.
Last but not least, the hood is helmet compatible and works reasonably well with a climbing lid, though best with lower profile ones. Worn over a bare head or beanie, it's a little compromised, though still moves with the head. Two of our three testers found that the top-cord adjuster sat uncomfortably over their ears, the third found it just fine. We'd definitely try before buying as it seems to come down to ear position.
Rab Women's Flashpoint - Verdict
The lightest of ten women's jackets we've just tested, the Flashpoint is super lightweight and packable, but not overly compromised by minimalist design. The trim-fitting cut works well, isn't restrictive and isn't pointlessly short like some lightweight designs.
The fabric scored well too. It may be light and shimmery, but its also waterproof and impressively breathable, so it stays comfortable for longer. It's not really, however, an all-day jacket, more one that you'd carry 'just in case' but knowing that if you do need it, it'll do a good, protective job.
'A brilliant, functional, lightweight shell that's an ideal counterpoint to a full-weight mountain waterproof for occasional hill use or faster-moving stuff'
And while it's primarily a mountain shell, it can also happily do double duty for running, biking and lightweight walking. The only downsides are the relatively high price-tag, too rich for our fell-runner who wrote it off for that reason and the vagaries of the hood/ear interface.
Those points aside, it's a brilliant, functional, lightweight shell that's an ideal counterpoint to a full-weight mountain waterproof for occasional hill use or faster-moving stuff.