Sunday, 25 September 2011

Gear review - Rab Generator Vest

I’ve had my Generator Vest for just over 6 months now so thought it was due a review. I’d been lusting after some sort of insulating jacket or gilet since I’d started climbing and joined SusSAR, I wanted something I could throw on when standing around at the end of a search or exercise to take the chill of inactivity off or when standing at the bottom of a crag as the sun went down. Whatever I chose needed to be light and packable, my experience in Norway has taught me that I’m definitely a layering kind of guy, so I wanted something that was going to sit in the bottom of my rucksack and not get in the way until needed. I decided I wanted a vest style as I wanted to maintain maximum movement in a climbing situation.

I looked at a few different products, from the obvious - The North Face Nuptse, to the obscure - the Keela Titan gilet. I knew I wanted to avoid down fill - perfectly fine in the crisp, dry, brittle cold of the Arctic, not much use in the damp cold of the South of England - oh how I laugh when I see a fashion victim in collapsed down in the middle of a rainy London. Having decided on a synthetic fill, I went to Rab to see what they did, I like Rab kit having used a down pull-on and expedition windsuit in Norway and I already owned a pullover fleece which is bombproof. Mrs W bought me the Generator Vest for my birthday from I’m not sure what she paid at the time but they have them for around £65 at the moment.

I have the XL (Fat git) in Black which weighs in at 285g. It has a Primaloft fill with a Pertex Quantum shell which makes it windproof and water resistant, however even wet the Primaloft remains warm. It has three pockets - two handwarmer just above the hip and a napoleon into which the vest can be packed away. It also has a loop for clipping onto a harness. The vest stays in the bottom of my rucksack and gets regular use mainly as an extra layer on chilly evenings on the way home from work. Despite the constant battering it gets from being dragged in and out of my rucksack and packed and unpacked its still pristine and showing no sign of wear. To be entirely honest it’s a bit of a luxury item but I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s been a welcome extra layer at the end of a search or a long hike. All-in-all it’s a great bit of kit and I’d recommend it.

Fingers crossed for a long, hard winter so it gets properly tested.

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