Even during the highest-output activities (running and biking), our testers were singing the praises of the incredibly breathable Vapour-Rise Flex, thanks in part to the Matrix SWS side panels that extended to the wrist on the undersides of the arms. “The stretchy panels channeled all the hot air I was producing straight out of the jacket,” one tester said after humid outings in Oregon and dry but hot adventures in Utah, “then the front and back material cut wind like a champ.” The Pertex Equilibrium outer also repelled light rain, and the inner layer of lightweight fleece wicked sweat off the body while offering a small amount of insulation; testers never felt damp inside the jacket. Because of the two-layer design, this full-zip piece does provide more warmth than the other jackets in the test, so one tester ditched his old two-piece combo (lightweight puffy and wind shirt) and just carried this. “Think wick, warm, wind, as this piece has found the sweet spot on all three.” Microfleece on the collar and snug but not too tight elastic cuffs significantly upped comfort factor.
Unlike the other jackets that can be worn over multiple layers, the Vapour-Rise Flex performs best next to skin or over a tight baselayer. Increased warmth makes it ideal for high output in cold environments.
$165; 9.2 oz.; rab.equipment/us/
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