Review: Rab Cirrus Flex hoody
I have been very lucky in the last two years to have been part of the team of Association of Mountaineering Instructors who were selected to test clothing and equipment for Rab and Lowe Alpine. This has mainly been long term testing of fabric and designs and feeding directly back to the design team. As part of this process in November 2017 I was given a prototype version of the new Cirrus Flex Hoody, designed as a lightweight outer or warm midlayer. From the off it’s become an essential piece in my wardrobe.
One of the joys of my job is the variety; the past twelve months has seen me work in a dozen countries varying from scrambling courses in Wales, ice climbing in Norway, skiing in Scotland, big peaks in Nepal, Tanzania and Russia, trekking and north faces in the Alps and sports climbing in Thailand. The one constant in these contrasting environments is the presence of this jacket in my rucksack.
What makes this jacket so good is it’s versatility as a garment. The main body of the jacket is Cirrus featherless insulation, synthetic so it works even when slightly damp and I certainly found it the right degree of warmth. Under the arms the fleece fabric allows an excellent degree of movement and of venting. I probably used it most as a active midlayer but in every type of condition, (cold and wet, and cold and dry) it performed brilliantly in keeping me warm and shedding moisture well when you work hard. As a layer it’s been hard to beat.
I am a real fan of hoods; if I am throwing on an insulating layer I probably want something on my head. Therefore I find hoods very useful. This one fits equally well with a hat or under a helmet due to the elastic edge.
The only drawback is because of it’s excellent breathability using it as an outer layer in cold AND windy conditions means it quickly has a limit easily solved by adding a thin wind barrier on top.
I have truly loved this jacket, it features everything that I would put into a dream layering system. Breathability and warmth, good hood and fit, durability and lightness. It’s been put to the test worldwide and in lots of different activities so if you too have varied mountaineering interests, I would strongly recommend this is worth a look.