/ Rab X Xenon Hoodie vs Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoodie

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njstone9 - on 11 Aug 2017

Last December I did the Annapurna base camp trek in Nepal and I was absolutely hooked.

I bought nearly everything I needed but borrowed a jacket from my tour guide operator. I am planning to go again, perhaps do the Thorong La pass.

I've identified three jackets I can a) afford and b) which my research has found to be generally highly recommended. The cost for all three is between £140 and £150. One is down; the other two are synthetic. I have a preference for synthetic but would opt for down if people suggested the synthetics wouldn't be warm enough.

I would be layering with a base layer and the Patagonia R1 hoody fleece. The jacket would be to go on top when things get really cold. I have a Marmot Precip for wind/rain protection.

1. The down jacket is the Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody.

2. The first synthetic jacket is the Rab Xenon-X hoody. From what I've read it's very wind-resistant but less breathable.

3. The other synthetic jacket is the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody. This is more breathable but presumably cooler as a result of the wind getting in.

My preference is for the Rab but I'm open to suggestions if anyone thinks a more breathable jacket (or down) is a better choice.

I'd be very grateful for any suggestions as to which one I should opt for.
jonnie3430 - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

I wouldn't go for the Rab or the Arcteryx, they're both lightweight belay jackets, good for summer use, or as a mid layer.
JayPee630 - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

What kind of temps are you expecting, as was mentioned both the Arc'teryx and Rab are quite lightweight things really, more like thick windproof fleece warmth than thick down jacket warmth.
jonnie3430 - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

Sorry, a bit more time to try to help more. I've got the Rab xenon and my gf has the arcteryx. The latter is more like a mid layer or summer belay jacket, while the former I'd describe as a summer belay jacket, which it's great at, though fragile.

For what you are planning, I'd use my Patagonia DAS parka, (the old type, with colourful choices, don't like the new one,) which I picked up second hand and fits into your price bracket. If it went missing today I'd have no hesitation in replacing it with exactly the same thing immediately. The reviews should be positive too. eBay, or a post on here asking for one may sort your out? Totally agree on synthetic over down for UK use after.
njstone9 - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to JayPee630:

Thank you for your replies. I'll provide some more details.

My trek last year was in the beginning of December. Altitude was around 2000 metres at the start and base camp was at 4130 metres. Generally the temperatures during the day were quite warm, even hot while in the sun. In the shade they dropped markedly and I had to put on extra layers. I was moving quite fast apart from when we had to climb (seemingly endless) flights of steps.

I had a simple Rab DryFlo 120 longsleeve shirt which I wore most of the time - and that was sufficient. In the morning sometimes I added a thermal layer underneath/and or a Patagonia R1 hoody fleece. If it got windy I put on my Marmot Precip.

I didn't need anything else apart from very early morning starts and when we got up beyond 4000 metres. Then I used a (probably fake) down jacket I borrowed from my tour operator. It was quite bulky and generally it made me too hot.

Basically I'd like to replace this item and have my own. I'm aware the Rab and Arc'teryx are midlayers but the reviews and comments I've read indicated they can handle temperatures down to 0 degrees C if accompanied by additional layers (which I have).

I found this info on another website (

"The Patagonia Nano Puff has 60g/m2 of Primaloft Gold insulation. It has a theoretical clo (unit for measuring garment warmth) of 1.5, which means it should keep you warm down to approximately 40 degrees when paired with standard baselayers while sitting around. It would be warm to significantly colder temperatures while hiking/backpacking, though most hikers I know don't wear insulation other than a light fleece while hiking, unless the weather is really frigid (<15 degrees or so for me)."

I know it refers to another jacket but both have the same weight of Primaloft Gold.

I'm *fairly* confident that this jacket, plus my other layers, would be sufficient. The other option would be a 100g one but that might be simply too warm. I might be better off layering two 60g synthetics instead.

nufkin - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

For the sake of thoroughness, it might also be worth considering the Nano Air jacket:

I've not used one, but by repute they are particularly good at providing reasonable insulation while not getting too hot
ModerateMatt - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:


I have the xenon X and the Atom LT. I don't think either are breathable in any meaningful way. The Atom is reasonably wind resistant but the Rab is windproof. I would say that they are comparable in warmth but the Xenon's windproofness makes it more warm in reality. The Arc'teryx has an almost perfect hood whilst wearing a helmet however totally shit without. The Rab has a passable hood in either situation.

The nano air is very good as a layer whilst moving, definitely the best of the bunch. But not so good as a belay jacket as it's a wind sieve. I also have a gilet version of this.

I haven't used the nano puff but have encountered it. I would probably recommend the Xenon as a good all around synthetic layer. But the nano air is probably the best synthetic jacket ever but a bit more niche. Oh and the Rab isn't that durable but I've climbed alot in it and it's still going, not such a problem when walking.
njstone9 - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

I've been looking further online, and I'm considering a soft shell jacket as well to pair with the insulated one to go over the top.

My preference is for the Rab Vapour Rise Alpine (very breathable) with the Rab Xenon (more wind resistant).

However... I've just found that the online shop Banana Fingers, whom I've bought from before, are selling the Patagonia Air Hoody for just £110.

I'm based outside the UK so I can get VAT off which means I can get the Patagonia and the Alpine Vapour Rise for just £160 in total, which I think sounds like a great deal.

Banana Fingers don't offer the Rab Xenon unfortunately. So I'd have to pay £50 more for that than the Patagonia Air if I opted for that one.

So before I pull the trigger, is there any reason I should hold out for the Rab Xenon? I know the Patagonia Air is less wind-resistant but I do have a rain jacket which should help.

Thanks again!
ModerateMatt - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

That sounds like a pretty good deal on the nano air, I would go for that if it fits.

But I would take a second guess on the "softshell" unless it is extremely cheap. If you are going to be carrying your waterproof in my opinion a soft shell is a waste of weight, I only take my softshell (and omit my waterproof) when I know it might rain intermittently so I don't have to stop and change frequently as I try to avoid wearing a hardshell as much as I can. I would suggest a hooded windproof, they are super light and packable, and great for everything until it starts raining, then you can get your shell out.

The nano air coupled with a windproof will be a far more versatile softshell system.

One more thing, in the wet put your nano air under your waterproof.
njstone9 - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

I have a marmot precip raincoat. Is this insufficient as a windbreaker?

I'm happy to skip the softshell if it means saving weight!
JayPee630 - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

It's 100% windproof.
ModerateMatt - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

Your precip will be very windproof. But a windproof layer is only that, they tend to have great breathability as they don't have a membrane. In windy situations especially when not cold (you might sweat more) and when dry is the time a windproof can be more comfy.

Softshell jackets can be good and may be worth your while trying in the future. But for me taking two bits of kit that do a very similar job is wasted of space. But your mileage may vary.
ModerateMatt - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to JayPee630:

Actually after reasearch It turns out that the precip fabric has some air permeability (NOT 100% WINDPROOF) that is advertised to improve breathability.

I know that GoreTex is windproof up to a certain wind speed. I would imagine that lots of other PTFE fabrics also have similar atributes.
JayPee630 - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

Ok, in the lab, but in the hills it's going to be effectively windproof enough for what we're talking about here. Same as a pertex windproof.
ModerateMatt - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to JayPee630:
Have you used a pretex wind shirt?

A waterproof is windproof for most purposes and probably more so than dedicated windproofs. However windproofs are great as a stand alone product due to being lightweight and very breathable which I think makes it a much more comfortable layer.
Post edited at 23:01
JayPee630 - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

For many years!

It was a bad turn of phrase, I meant that it's a windproof as needs to be rather than being 100% windproof.
ModerateMatt - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to JayPee630:

OK, so can we agree they are a good bit of kit?
neuromancer - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

Get a hyper 100? Lighter than most windproofs and 3l waterproof?
JayPee630 - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

Yes, brilliant!
jonnie3430 - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to njstone9:

From what you're saying, I'd go for an extra mid layer (atom Lt may be good, though a medium weight fleece is too, and cheaper,) as it's warmth when moving that you want. I'd still have a backup 60/80 gsm belay jacket for stops or incidents. As the sun comes up the layers come off, keeping a pertex windproof on the outside.
TobyA on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to JayPee630:

> Ok, in the lab, but in the hills it's going to be effectively windproof enough for what we're talking about here.

Don't know about Precip but looking back at my reviews of various Neoshell jackets I'm always going on about the air permeability! Mostly it's good - better breathability, but in wild weather I think you reach for your belay jacket faster.

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