S to XXL
1 pound 4 ounces
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I quit eating meat for various reasons yet I wear leather climbing shoes and down-filled jackets. I could climb in synthetic-upper rock shoes, but I haven’t found a pair that fits me or has the right stiffness. A fiberfill jacket would be fine, just heavier, bulkier, and not so soft, so I roll with down. I live in an uneasy balance.
Rab’s new Cubit Stretch Down Hoody ($300; rab.equipment) eases my conscience because it uses recycled down. The 700-fill in this puffy is P.U.R.E. post-consumer waste that is washed, sterilized, and then given a Nikwax hydrophobic treatment to minimize water and perspiration absorption, down’s two arch enemies. The Cubit’s breathable Pertex Quantum exterior is also zapped with DWR (Durable Water Repellent), so inside and out the jacket fights moisture. You wouldn’t want to treat the Cubit as a shell replacement, but in a short-lived sprinkle or drip it does fine especially if you give it a good shake now and then.
The recycled down is packaged in baffles that are laminated rather than stitched through. Except for a few seams attaching the arms and hood, the Cubit is stitch free, meaning there are few places for wind or water to creep in. Also nice: The Cubit, as the name says, stretches. Its trim fit moves with you rather than fighting you, never a bad attribute in a piece of climbing clothing.
I recently relocated from the cold and dry mountains of Colorado to the not-quite-so-cold and damp mountains of western North Carolina. I’m glad I have the Cubit. Its midweight is perfect for temps down to about 25 F (and lower, of course, if you are working hard), and as already stated, the Cubit is a moisture fighter, a plus here in the Southeast where high humidity often makes everything feel damp and clammy. At one pound four ounces, and packing to roughly the size of a football, the Cubit is a no-brainer for toting even on temperate days, “just in case.”
Gripes so far? Rab notes that the hood isn’t compatible with a helmet, a point that rules it out for ice climbing, although in a pinch—an unexpectedly lengthy and frosty belay—you can squeeze the hood over a helmet.