The Vault Regulars

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Rab Downpour Eco waterproof jacket review. (First Outing)

 Saturday 1st June.

 Having being totally underwhelmed with my Marmot Pre-Cip I scanned the internet, reading reviews on other jackets and also armed with some knowledgeable info provided by fellow blogger Afoot in the hills, we went to Manchester shopping.

I was disappointed with Cotswold, which is very unusual. I asked the guy, "what is the specification difference between the Eco and the Downpour Light jackets". The answer, "one's heavier than the other".  That was it. I think after 60yrs of hiking I can tell if one jacket is heavier than the other without asking. 

I used my phone and scanned the card attached to the jackets. Easy.

Anyway cutting my buying story short I plucked up the courage, walked through the minefield and bought the Rab Downpour Eco at £125. I could have got it from Go Outdoors for £112.50 or Taunton for £100, but I didn't realise until the deal had been done, or I had been done.

So what is the Downpour Eco.

It is a lightweight, packable, no frills jacket for everyday use and day hiking. Manufactured in good old Bangladesh.

I say day hiking rather than backpacking as the material would not stand the rigours of long days carrying a heavy rucksack. Day sack, ok.

Mine is size large and it weighs in at 362grams.

Size L is a std UK sizing. Fits well.

Material. 100% re-cycled face fabric. Fluorocarbons are only present in the zips. Total recyclable content of the whole jacket 77%.

Material is Pertex revolve fabric. 2.5 layer. 50 denier.

Membrane is polyester.

Waterproof rating----20,000mm/MVTR


The hood is not helmet compatible. Applause all round, we have a hiking jacket with a hood made for walkers. And its a good one, fits well and adjustable front and back. It moves with the head so vision is not obstructed. In the photo below I am wearing a peaked cap under the hood, which I always do as it supports the jacket peak which although it does have a polymer support is not good enough to actually be useful. This point goes for many jackets not just this one.

Length of the jacket is excellent and has a slightly lower tail.

All the zips, 5 in total, made by YKK are water resistant and are all covered with rain guards. The main zip has a press stud top and bottom. I really wished that they had put another press stud just where the colour change happens in the top picture. Simply because I don't always have the zip fully closed and this then allows the guard to blow open. Cost wise --would be negligible. Considering the cost saving made by not having fully waterproof zips.

Pockets. Only 2 zipped waist pockets. No chest pocket, no internal pocket. The actual pocket is not mesh which surprised me but is the same material as the rest of the jacket.  Do I think this is a good idea? I am swaying towards no as there is no means for water both condensation and rain to escape.

I like the fact that an OS map will fit inside the pockets but make sure it is in a waterproof bag just in case.

Pit zips are included as is waist hem tensioner.

Sleeves. I liked the sleeve length as the bottom of the sleeve covers to the end of my fingers. Closure is by hook and loop as std. Sleeve width at the cuff is a little tighter than I would like but it's ok as long as you don't want to get a thick pair of winter insulated gloves under the cuff.

DWR is fluorocarbon free.

The jacket is easily packable into its own pocket.

That's the jacket then, so how do the first testing go:-

I didn't have to wait long for a rainy day and I decided to do the exact same route as I did wearing the Marmot Pre-Cip so that I had a direct comparison.

The ambient temp was 13C today so 5 degrees warmer than previous test. Humidy was high at 88% and barometric pressure was 1007.

It rained most of the walk which was 2.5 hours in time and I purposely kept all the zips closed. 

The problem with waterproof and breathable jackets is that they don't work together very well. If the jacket is dry then breathability will be good but as the jacket wets then breathability reduces. This is science and goes for all jackets whatever the price, name or material.

The inside of the jacket creates its own micro climate, it warms up as body heat increases and the membrane allows moisture vapour (not moisture) to escape. But as said above, this only happens until the jacket face fabric wets out. DWR what ever it is made from will eventually allow wet out to happen.

Also, the warm air between your clothes and the jacket membrane will condensate as soon as you start to vent the jacket. The internal cooling air is no longer water vapour. It is now moisture and cannot evacuate the jacket. This now causes the inside of the jacket to become damp. And where does that damp go? Of course onto your immediate layer of clothing. 

Is there a way around this problem? I don't think so. You have to choose the correct layering system which will allow your first layer to wick sweat away and another layer on top which is not moisture absorbent even when damp.

When I completed the walk I took off the jacket to find my polyester fleece was damp just around the top of the shoulders and a little around my back bones. My capilene base layer was totally dry.

The jacket had wetted out in just a couple of small areas. See attached photo's below. And also there was visible condensation too. However there was no comparison to the Marmot pre-cip which wetted me right though, and considering the Marmot test was 5C lower temperature.

The photos below can be clicked on for a larger view.

The water beading was good but you can see some patches of wetting out.

Patches of condensation on the sleeve top.

Condensation on the area of the shoulder blades. I wasn't sporting a rucksack.

2 photos where there was slight wetting through on the sleeves.

So that is my first outing review of the Downpour Eco. 

I think it went well, I wasn't wet through but just a little damp. I definitely like the design of the jacket itself and the feel of it too. I'm not sure about the pockets and the front zip protector. As I have mentioned earlier, I think a lower press stud would be beneficial.

All in all I'm much happier than I was with the Pre-Cip.

Also, have a look at jackets made with Gore Infinium if you are looking for this type of waterproof.

PS. Waterproof jackets are a minefield. Ignore marketing bumf.


  1. An impressive thorough review. My method these ays is to only select weather forecast days where rain is unlikely and I'm not too bothered if I get a bit damp on a day walk. Backpacking is altogether different and in my opinion a good waterproof, even if a tad heavier than some of its competitors is a must.

    1. Thanks Conrad. I may be old school but I find most water ingress in a jacket is hood and shoulders so a jacket for backpacking has to be 3 layer and around 70 denier. The body and part of the back can be 50 denier. I have a jacket from Decathlon for backpacking which I hope to use in the near future. I also still have a 3 layer Berghaus xtrem jacket from the 1980’s which I have just repaired. When I wear it now I think omg how heavy is this coat. But it still works.

  2. Time to look at a Paramo jacket....

    1. Hi Alistair, long time hearing from you. Paramo! The big debate. I have a Paramo adventure light but I find it too warm and one sleeve leaks badly. I wear it in the winter but never any other time. We could go on for ever about Paramo.

  3. I get on well with my Paramo but have ended up wet in very heavy rain . It is comfortable and warm, but also HEAVY.

    1. My neighbour has the Paramo Bentu which looks really good. He says it’s waterproof. I would like to try one before I buy.

  4. Good review Alan. It’s a pity Rab left off a press stud in a place where it’s blatently obvious it’s needed. I was an early adopter of Paramo but only use my Velez now (the early one with a detachable hood, which I don't like at all). I always do complete waterproofing more regularly than the instructions and never just the wash which 'restores’ waterproofness. Maybe that's why l've never been wet in heavy rain except on the shoulders and I just don't see how that can be avoided while wearing a pack. All that said, my jacket of choice is still my Mountain Equipment Lhotse in Gore-Tex Pro.

  5. Hi Gibson. Yes the press stud omission makes you wonder if it was ever tested in the field because as you rightly say, it is blatantly obvious that it is required.
    As we both know with waterproofs, if you put pressure on the jacket from rucksacks etc then that will allow water ingress or condensation. There is nothing you can do to stop it. I wish they would start doing breathability testing with a wetted out jacket and see what the results are because to do them individually is meaningless drivel.
    We are currently in Tyndrum btw doing some odds and sods walking before moving on Friday for a short backpack. Then onto Fort Bill for a few days. Midges are not a problem here yet thankfully. ME Lhotse, now you’re talking.


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