The Vault Regulars

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Softshell, RAb Boreas.

A few weeks ago, i was reading Alan Sloman’s blog about his recently acquired Rab Exodus softshell jacket. Here.
I already have the Rab Cioch jacket which is very similar apart from the hood.
I admit that i have never been a big fan of Soft shells for backpacking as they are just to big and bulky and most of the time they are in the pack and not worn.
But a comment from Gibson, AKA Afootinthehills, about the Mountain Equipment Astron had me scurrying into Manchester to have a look at one for my pending trip to New Zealand.
Mountain Equipment Astron.
 Just as luck would have it. Nobody in Manchester had one in stock so apart from taking the odd mm off my Inov-8’s, tramping around the streets, i came away empty handed.
 But what i did notice and was very tempted by was the Rab Boreas pull on. Completely different spec to the Astron but i liked it.
The Rab Boreas Pull On  
The next week after reading some very good reviews on it, i went back and purchased one. So i have been wearing it in and i like it very much. Ideal for what i want for this trip.
 The Boreas is not a jacket, it is not waterproof and has no DWR finish. However that can be resolved somewhat with a washing in Nikwax. (To be reviewed later).
Rab market this as a Mid Layer for both warm and cold conditions and has good sun block qualities and good wind resistance.

  I think, conditions depending of course, that you could wear this in all 3 guises, base layer, mid or outer as it breathes very well even directly next to the skin.

  The top is lightweight at 250gr for this medium size.
It’s very stretchy, 86% Polyamide and 14% Spandex. It has a Lycra feel.
The cut is generous rather than athletic.

  The arm length is longer than std and ideal for the walker/climber or visa versa where quite a bit of stretching is called for. It’s also easy to roll the sleeves up with the material being so stretchy. It doesn’t have thumb loops.

  The 2 zips are YKK, the main central zip being a good length for ventilation and the other closing a small chest pocket. There is no depth to this pocket but width wise it is reasonable, going across to the sleeve seam. The top will pack away into this pocket when not needed.
All the seams are flatlock.

 The hood is close fitting low profile with the zip coming well up the chin. Surrounding the collar area is a soft fleecy material that feels really nice when it’s fully zipped up.

  The tail length is slightly longer, so it should stay in place when worn with a hip belt or harness.

  So far i am very pleased with it, it has become my must wear item this last couple of weeks. I am certainly going to enjoy it in the warmer climate down under.

  To complement this top i purchased a pair of Rohan Fuzion trousers. 100% Polyamide. 385gr weight and only 3 hours drying time. I have not had time to do a first review as yet. (To come later).


afootinthehills said...

Sounds and looks good. I'll do a review of the Astron next year but so far I haven't found anything to dislike about it.

Apologies to Sheila for mis-spelling her name in a comment on my blog!

afootinthehills said...

Meant to say 'thanks' for the mention. Too much haste this morning...

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson,
No problems at all.
Yes the Astron looked good from what i have seen and read. I think it might have been a bit too warm for NZ though, in hindsight. But without yours and Alan’s post and comments i wouldn’t have even given a soft shell a 2nd thought, so thanks for that.

Trenthamwalker said...

Hi Alan,I took a Boreas on a walking holiday along the Cleveland Way earlier in the year and it was superb.Nice and light and just enough to provide a little bit of extra insulation for the time of the year.I was in Manchester a couple of weeks ago and had a look at the Astron in the Ellis Brigham Mountain Equipment shop but they were full price at £160.I eventually purchased one online from the Outdoor Shop in Milton Keynes at £120.They are now selling them online at £99!!! but not sure whether they would have your size in stock.Worth a look-nice bit of Kit.

Trenthamwalker said...

BTW If you look at the website for The Outdoor shop,select the Brand Mountain equipment and the Astron shows up on page 6 of 10.

AlanR said...

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for info but because i now have the Boreas and the Cioch i think i have enough to cover all eventualities on this trip.
I had a look in EB’s in Manchester and they didn’t have one in at the time.

I definitely wasn’t going to pay £160 but i did want to see one in the flesh and then i may have got one on line.

Hope the jobs going well and maybe see you on Martins mud skiing bash next year if not before.

Lightweight Rob said...

Hi Alan - what size did you get (Boreas)? I am in between L and M - I am just on 185cm (6ft) but trim. I want to be able to slip it over a merino t-shirt. Yours look quite roomy/large? It does look a more "relaxed" fit and coupled with stretch fabric, maybe a M for me will work? What are your thoughts - Rob

AlanR said...

Hi Rob,
My Boreas is size large (UK) . I was 40 chest when i bought it. (Now 39” after loosing 2 stone). They are a good length which covers the extremities well and i like it because it doesn’t ride up over the rucksack hip belt. I did try a medium on but i found it a bit tight across the shoulders. The large was just on the roomy side but i didn’t mind that.
I have shortened the sleeve length by about 2 inch as well.
Hope this helps.

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