What Rab say:
The Microlight Alpine Jacket is a light-weight, weather-resistant down jacket, designed for use in situations where warmth, weight and packability are prime concerns. A mini stitch-through baffle construction and a minimal, uncluttered design make the Microlight Alpine Jacket a perfect layering piece for alpine climbers, or an adaptable stand-alone jacket for day-to-day use.
143g (large) of 750FP Hydrophobic Goose Down provides exceptional levels of warmth without compromising on weight. A Pertex® Microlight outer fabric helps to keep the warmth in and is both breathable and windproof. Key technical features include a down-filled hood and YKK® zipped pockets throughout.
Weight: 430g (large)
Pertex® Microlight outer fabric
100% Nylon ripstop inner
750FP European Goose Down (143g/5oz in size L)Rab® fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax®
Mini-stitch through baffle construction
Down-filled helmet-compatible hood with polymer peaked hood
YKK front zip and internal insulated zip baffle with chin guard
2 YKK zipped hand pockets
1 YKK zipped chest pocket
Separate stuff sack
Lycra® bound cuffs
On Test with My Outdoors
Along with other insulated jackets on test, I've been using the Microlight since the beginning of autumn 2017. Rab down jackets feel like they need no introduction due to their perennial quality and mass availability. They are ubiquitous on every high street, crag and mountain top. The Microlight is a tried and tested piece of insulation and I've enjoyed the opportunity to check one out.
The main feature I like on the Microlight is the generous peaked hood which is also helmet compatible. It offers excellent coverage and the peak keeps out the weather well. The hood has a decent amount of fill and is really warm. There is a hoodless version of the Microlight if you wish to save more weight or that is a preference, coming in at 370g for the large jacket.
The hood cinches down easily, with elastic threaded in the inner of the collar, meaning you can do this with thick gloves on, with no need to pinch a toggle. There is no rear cinch on the hood, which I like, because I often rate up my sleep system in winter with a down jacket. This means you can sleep comfortably with the hood on and no annoyance from a rear toggle.
The down is Nikwax hydrophobic treated. I spend a lot of my time in single skin tents and at night condensation is often an issue when brushing against the flysheet. I found the hydrophobic down does stand this. However, the Microlight is a standard stitch through baffle design, so if caught out in rain I find it difficult to discern between this and other types of non-treated jackets. If it rains on down, it stops working and you get wet through the baffles. In this sense the Microlight doesn’t differ.
Where the Rab Microlight really does stand up well is on overall tough construction. The Pertex Microlight outer is tough to abrasion. The jacket is also excellently priced. The lower fill power of 750 fill reflects this, but as an all-round jacket for night time insulation, or more extreme winter layering, I find it hard to knock the Microlight; at £145 being the lowest I’ve seen online. I have washed the jacket twice in Nikwax downwash and it has fluffed back up nicely. I have seen no down loss through the seams.
The fit of Rab down jackets is generous and if you are looking to layer the jacket under a shell for winter, I would usually go as small as I can manage. The medium jacket I’ve been using is pretty baggy in this respect, so I’d always recommend trying one on if you’re unsure. The only real negative thing I have to say about the jacket is it could be a more tailored fit around the waist, chest and shoulders.
Overall, the Microlight is the usual reliable Rab quality, no real frills but excellent value and small and packable enough to use in lightweight backpacking and mountaineering.