/ Best all round jacket part 2. Rab Firewall.

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estivoautumnal - on 10 Oct 2017
A few months ago I asked the question "what is the best all round jacket"? What I was looking for was one jacket which I could use for multiple activities when travelling. A jacket that would be good for cycle touring, and would also stand up to a hill walk on rest days, and possibly be smart enough to wear on a wet night to a pub or cafe (which rules out almost every bike jacket I've ever seen). I had some good feedback, and the inevitable smart arse replies that are de riguer for UKC. However I ignored the advice (and the smatr and bought a Rab Firewall jacket. So after 6 months of use cycle touring and walking here are my conclusions.

Overall. Really pleased with this jacket. It's lightweight, breathable and quite adaptable. I'll list the pros and cons.

First the negatives.

The elbows are a little bit tight. Bend your arms more than 90 degrees and the jacket feels tight. This may not be a problem to non climbers but anyone with a bit of muscle on their lower and upper arms could find it a bit restrictive. However, on saying that I have just used it for cycle touring and walking so apart from making phone calls there hasn't been a problem! Thrutching around in a tight Highland gully could be problematic. Saying this I have found almost every cycle specific jacket to be tight around the elbows. They must be designed for skinny arms.

If worn unzipped it feels a bit bag-like. Kind of falls of the shoulders.

Positives.

As an all-round jacket at a reasonable price of £220 or less it's great value.

Pit zips. Reach from cuffs to oxters. Really good feature.

Hood. Almost very good. Clinches down but not quite enough, however it stays on your head when it's windy. Nice roll away design allows cycling without a flapping hood. Even with roll away hoods many hill jackets still flap around.

Fit. Apart from the elbows it's great. Doesn't ride up when you extend your arms or lean forward on a bike. Plenty of shoulder shrugging space. It does't have a tail but is long enough to protect your backside from spray on a bike.

Waterproof zips, and they work. 3 pockets, one big enough for a map.

Finally, it looks good. When zipped up it wears well, black with red highlights on the zips give it a contemporary look. Passes the walking to the pub test with flying colours. And finally a tiny detail that is missing on many waterproof jackets, it has a hanging loop. So no need to hang it up to dry by the hood and distort the hood wire.

I've ridden with it in Patagonia, Scotland, a bit of Africa and if unlucky with the weather will soon test it out in Cuba. So far so good. It's also been to many pubs and cafes.

9/10

Hope that helps someone looking for the same.

Oh, and it hasn't leaked!
tom on 01 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

Currently trying to decide between this, a kinetic plus, and an Alpkit Balance. Thanks for the review - especially glad to hear the breathability appears reasonable and there is a proper method for stowing the hood for cycling etc.. (thats what ruins the kinetic plus for me).
nathan79 - on 01 Nov 2017
In reply to tom:

It's got pit zips. I think that says it all regarding breathability.

Buy an Alpkit balance and then tell me how good or bad it is.

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