By: Blonde Two

When a new jacket arrives for testing just before a winter camp and DofE walk, you can guarantee that it is going to be put through its paces. The blurb about the PrimaLoft® Gold insulation filled women’s Rab Xenon-X (there is a men’s version) mentions belaying several times but I would like to suggest that a January night in a tent followed by a rucksack yomp around some wet and awkward Devon lanes in changeable weather is an equally great way to test a jacket (obviously I will be off belaying very soon!)

At only 301 g the Rab Xenon-X is the lightest jacket I have ever owned (lighter even than my down jacket). When I first picked it up it felt almost ephemeral; this was great news for my ‘pack lighter’ campaign but I was worried about its level of hardiness. I needn’t have been at all, in just one outing the women’s Rab Xenon-X survived tent pitching in the drizzle, a wriggly overnight sleep, lots of brambles and all the mud Devon could throw at it. The inner is ‘PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Active (60/m2 (2oz)’ an alternative to down that I was keen to try and definitely not disappointed with. I have been wondering if there was a man-made fabric that was a good alternative to down and I think I have found it. It even kept me warm when I let it get a bit damp.

The women’s Rab Xenon-X is a jacket for women (clue in the name) so here are a few bits of information that might answer the questions we girls would ask:

  • The women’s Rab Xenon X, despite being described as having a ‘slim fit’ is more generous in its proportions than some other jackets. This means that it fits over an ample bosom and covers a curvy bottom. (This was a size 16 and I would usually go for an 18 in a jacket)
  • Despite being generous in its proportions, the women’s Xenon-X is also contoured cleverly enough to eliminate annoying draughts and keep the torso warm.
  • The women’s Xenon-X comes in three rather lovely colours.
  • It is machine washable at 30 degrees (but I like it too much not to wash it by hand

There is much to like about this jacket but I think I can sum it up best with the word ‘chuckability’ (which obviously isn’t actually a word). You can chuck the Rab women’s Xenon-X over a merino layer for warmth, you can chuck it under a waterproof for comfort, you can chuck it on in your sleeping bag at night and you can squash it up and chuck it into your rucksack and you won’t even notice that you are wearing/carrying/sleeping in it.

This morning I tried the Rab women’s Xenon-X out as my ‘after sea swim’ jacket (the water was 9 degrees and I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit). It did the job admirably, keeping the wind out, my damp head warm and my chilly fingers toasty in the capacious pockets. I think this one is going to be a favourite!

From time to time we Blondes are sent free outdoor products to field test and promote on social media. We will always be honest about our findings and any products we don’t keep for ourselves find their way into our expedition stores. Great for us, great for you and great for our youngsters!