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Down jacket buying guide

Down jacket buying guide

How to choose a down jacket

A quality down jacket makes all the difference, so how do you choose the right one?

Our down jackets are crafted to keep you warm, whatever the elements throw at you. This guide will help you choose the best insulation for your adventure.


Are down jackets the warmest?

Down is made of very fine fibres that provide a light and efficient means of trapping and holding air in position to create an incredibly efficient thermal barrier. Its performance is unrivalled by any other natural or synthetic equivalent. This makes down jackets some of the warmest you can buy.  

There are different levels of fill power, which make it an excellent choice for a variety of temperatures and altitudes.  

Hikers wearing down jackets on a spanish mountain Hikers wearing down jackets on a spanish mountain

Lightweight

Lightweight and packable insulation is perfect for stop-start days, lower altitudes, and cooler summer evenings. Jackets like the Mythic G and the Microlight are go-to systems for rapid warmth when the temperature drops.

Our lightweight down jackets feature:

  • Lightweight micro baffle construction for a good balance of warmth to weight.
  • Water-resistant fabric, giving you time to layer up when the rain comes down.
  • Hand warmer pockets.
  • Adjustable features around the hood to keep the wind out.
Female Mountaineer wearing a down jacket in the AlpsFemale Mountaineer wearing a down jacket in the Alps
Midweight

A midweight down jacket provides excellent warmth whilst still being packable and easy to layer. This makes them perfect for cold conditions and all-rounder layering systems, like the Mythic Alpine.

Our midweight down jackets feature:

  • Midi or full baffle constriction designed to give you an optimal warmth to weight.
  • Durable water-repellent and wind-resistant outer fabric designed for cold conditions.
  • Helmet-compatible hoods to keep your head warm.
Mountaineer in on an alpine ridge wearing an orange down jacketMountaineer in on an alpine ridge wearing an orange down jacket
Heavyweight

Extreme cold demands a different level of down jacket. Jackets heavy with down are perfect for winter belay jackets and embracing icy summit conditions. Choose a jacket like the Mythic Ultra or the Infinity to protect you from the cold.

Our heavyweight down jackets feature:

  • Durable fabrics like GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® are designed to stop the wind in its tracks.

  • High fill power down filling big baffles, giving you confidence in your jacket’s warmth.

  • Advanced stitch-through construction techniques or box wall baffles are designed to eliminate cold spots.

Female skier wearing a blue down jacket over ski layers in snowy mountainsFemale skier wearing a blue down jacket over ski layers in snowy mountains
Water resistant and waterproof

We finish all our down (with 900 fill power or below) with a hydrophobic treatment that enables it to retain its loft in damp conditions so that your gear dries fast and stays warm.  

If you need a down jacket with weather protection, we also have jackets that use Pertex® Shield, such as the Valiance.

Our waterproof down jackets feature:

  • Waterproof YKK® zips.

  • Pertex® Shield fabrics with bonded box wall baffle construction.

  • Rab® Fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax®.


Mountaineers in a tent at high altitude wearing down jackets and climbing equipmentMountaineers in a tent at high altitude wearing down jackets and climbing equipment

How can I use a down jacket?

Our down jackets have consistently represented the pinnacle of innovation in the industry. We use the highest quality down and cutting-edge technologies to offer you exceptional warmth for low weight. We know how to make reliable kit for all types of mountain people.  

Our collection covers a variety of styles for different mountain pursuits and weather conditions. From ultralight coats with optimised movement when climbing to ultra-warm styles for incredible insulation in freezing temperatures. Creating jackets for the specific needs of mountain sports is what we do best.  

Female climbers bouldering at night wearing Rab beanies and down jacketsFemale climbers bouldering at night wearing Rab beanies and down jackets

Climbing

A climber’s down jacket is as essential as their quickdraws. Resting between redpoints or holding ropes for a long lead requires a belay jacket that keeps the warmth in. Our heavyweight down jackets provide excellent protection from the cold to keep you at the crag for longer.  

What makes a great down jacket for climbing?

  • Spacious fit to allow for underlayers.
  • Helmet-compatible hood.
  • Tough outer fabric, designed to withstand a day at the crag.
  • Made with hydrophobic down and using recycled fabrics where possible to reduce the impact of the jacket.
Male free ride skier putting on a shell jacket over a down mid layerMale free ride skier putting on a shell jacket over a down mid layer

Skiing

Whether on or off-piste, you need a jacket that protects you from snow and high winds. Minus temperatures mean your lightweight down jacket can be part of your layering system underneath a shell. Read our guide on how to layer for ski mountaineering.

What should I look for in a down jacket for skiing?

  • Hardwearing outer fabric design to survive a bail.
  • A hood designed to fit over a ski helmet.
  • Chunky zip pulls that are easy to use when wearing bulky gloves.
  • Wind-proof fabrics to protect internal layers on fast descents.
Male mountaineer wearing a black down jacket and white helmet holding climbing ropesMale mountaineer wearing a black down jacket and white helmet holding climbing ropes

Mountaineering

The relentless and changeable nature of mountaineering demands a down jacket that’s lightweight but warm. Terrains and climates change quickly on mountaineering days, and self-sufficiency means every gram counts. Our mountaineering-specific jackets provide warmth and packability you can rely on.  

What features do I need for mountaineering?

  • Lightweight yet durable fabric designed to keep harsh winds from biting through your layers.
  • Helmet-compatible hood to offer maximum protection.
  • Two-way zip that works seamlessly with a harness.
  • Adjustable cuffs for a close fit to your gloves.
  • 800 fill power down, offering some of the best warmth to weight.
Female hiker wearing a Rab down jacket with a hiking backpack and bobble hatFemale hiker wearing a Rab down jacket with a hiking backpack and bobble hat

Hiking

From thru-hiking the PCT to Munro bagging, you’ll need a versatile down jacket that is packable and warm. A light to medium-weight jacket is great for setting off in the cold and is easy to put on when you take a break.  

What are the features of a down jacket for hiking?

  • Adjustable hoods and waist cords to keep the wind out.
  • A selection of pockets for keeping your hands warm and gadgets easily accessible.
  • Durable fabric designed to resist snow and rain while you layer up.
  • Small pack size to easily stash away.




Can I wash my down jacket?

Washing down gear can be a daunting task, but it is a great way to maintain its loft and performance and prolong its life. Our Service Centre team have created this ten-step guide to show you how to wash your down jacket at home on our YouTube Channel.

You should use a specialist wash and proofer, following the instructions to get the best results and avoid damage to your garment. Alternatively, you can send your Rab item back to us to wash professionally. Find out more about our wash services and products at the Service Centre



Can I repair my down jacket?

In the field, you can make temporary mends to rips, tears, and holes in your down jacket. This patch fix will keep you on the move until you can send your jacket to the experts at our repair service.

Our Rab Repairs service is here to help you extend the life of your kit. We offer an expert repair service for all Rab and Lowe Alpine gear. From near-invisible baffle replacements and colourful patch-ups to panel replacements, new zips, straps, or toggles, there’s virtually no rip, tear, or damage our team can’t handle. Visit the service centre to find out more.



Responsible down

Is your down responsibly sourced?

All of our virgin down is certified to the Responsible Down Standard. We have more information on how we work to achieve this on our responsibility section. 

Can I buy a recycled down jacket?

We have a range of down jackets using recycled materials within parts of their construction. Often, the garment is not made entirely from recycled materials but features a 100% recycled face fabric, lining or down.


Down Jackets

Know your MVTR, from your hydrostatic head? Your boxwall baffle, from your stitch-through?

Know your MVTR, from your hydrostatic head? Your boxwall baffle, from your stitch-through?