Combining a weather-resisting outer with a wicking/insulating lining, for many years Rab's Vapour-Rise system has been one of the most effective and versatile softshell options available. Dan Bailey checks out the three new jackets in the fully revamped 2020 VR range.
Thanks for this review Dan, interesting reading.
I've been trail running in the vr light since the summer has ended. By way of comparison I've used driclime and old vr alpine in the past. For me I like the design of the new vr light - even the cuff and hood which I see you are not keen on - however I'm yet to be convinced about the new wicking and air flow lining. I'm finding it hangs on to sweat close to the skin giving a cool clammy feel. With the old vr driclime style lining I find this wicks better and gives a drier microclimate next to the skin. I've yet to try the summit as I've not been out on cold enough conditions 👍
I don't have experience of the new VR range but I agree with Dan over the fit. Baggy at the front, but tight in the arms and shoulders, with quite a baggy lining. I've ended up shortening the lining in the arms of my original VR as it kept poking out of the cuff when I put it on. My old Marmot Driclime both fits better and wicks better.
I see even the ether driclime out of stock everywhere at the moment, I wonder if marmot have ditched it or not
Whilst not very fashionable I really think the pertex micro fleece i.e. vr, driclime, ultratherm, etc performs it's socks off to maintain a dry ish next to skin microclimate, dries in a jiffy and keeps the wind off perfect for damp windy humid British weather
Good review, thanks. Does the new VR stuff manage the same trick the previous generations had of somehow seeming to “out-breathe" the incoming moisture? Hard to explain but I found with my 2016 VR alpine it could be worn in pretty torrential rain as long as I was working hard and generating heat... The pertex equilibrium shell could be saturated but the lining seemed to hold the water away from skin, never feeling more than slightly damp and drying incredibly fast. Great for Scottish conditions! I'm curious as to whether the pertex quantum air can do the same - I believe it lacks the dernier gradient that was supposedly the key selling point of equilibrium. If Dan/anyone else knows please let me know.
Ive got a VR smock that is still going strong. Have replaced elastic and repaired bits, but still use it on regular basis. Must be 15 years old, probably first generation?
Also have a later version, but the early one seems better cut and lining is more comfortable, and I think wicks better.
Re the old vr alpine lining equilibrium combination Vs the quantum air flow lining... Jury is out for me at the moment, I'm just not convinced it moves moisture quick enough nor dries as fast...a shame I like the design of the new vr but it's possible the lining material let's it down
Hmmm that is a shame, thanks for the heads up. I'm definitely interested in trying the new Summit VR, but it kills me that it doesn't have the pocket layout of the Alpine... As far as I'm concerned the 2 massive chest pockets are amazing. Super practical, great for stuffing gloves/skins/soft flasks/maps/lunch (basically anything!) into. Agree with the review, they're so big that phones just flop around in there but adding in a little internal pouch - which Decathlon manages to do on many of their trousers so it can't be prohibitively expensive to manufacture - would basically solve pockets as far as I'm concerned.
I've not tried the summit in anger, I'm hoping it let's the sweat out a bit more efficiently
I also used to have the old design VR Lite Alpine which eventually died after many years service. I replaced it with the new version reviewed here and had originally thought exactly the same as you - that it held onto sweat more.
It seems to be getting better the more I use it, maybe the DWR coating was stopping things venting properly? I have washed it a few times now. I was out at the weekend up some local boggy mounds for a wander and it worked perfectly. Never thought about the jacket once and had it on all day!
Fit wise, it must be horses for courses because the medium in the new version fits me perfectly. I used to wear a small in the old version and it was a bit tight across the chest but the medium would have been far too baggy.
I really like the fact the new hood is of the under helmet variety too - the old one couldn't do that due to the adjusters.