Cross the UK: Rab Continuum Down Jacket Review
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Despite not feeling like I needed a new down jacket I couldn’t really refuse the new Continuum Jacket by Rab. It does fit perfectly between my superlight Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer and my heavyweight
Mont Icicle filling a gap in my ever increasing outdoor kit cupboard. With the updated Continuum, Rab have managed to increase the amount of down in the jacket by 10g with next to no increase, just 2g, in overall weight which is pretty impressive. The change comes with the loss of the chest pocket but very little else and, in reality, I never use that pocket anyway. The jacket has a pretty distinctive design with a shiny outer fabric which comes in black, ink (a weird dark green/blue) and dark horizon (a very unique burnt orange colour).
The jacket has had some pretty general use so far covering daily activities, some colder days and evenings watching football and a couple of trips to the Lakes for hiking. I have a few more trips planned over winter and this jacket will definitely be getting packed for the majority of them. The Continuum uses hydrophobic down which means it works for longer in wetter conditions. Normally when down gets wet it clumps together and loses its insulating properties. When this happens a down item is useless and to make things even worse it takes ages to dry out. So the use of hydrophobic down means that it is able to work effectively in poorer conditions, such as light rain or even your sweat when worn as a layer under a waterproof shell. Due to the changeable nature of weather in the hills and mountains across the UK this is a big plus for the jacket.
The Continuum is definitely the most usable, all round down jacket I have. It has two good sized pockets, elasticated cuffs, an adjustable hem and fully adjustable hood which is particularly important since the hood is big enough to fit over a helmet so you need to tighten it up to keep the weather out. There is also a very good peak to the hood which gives you that added protection from the elements. It comes with a simple stuff sack but if you’re going to be carrying this inside your pack for wearing at camp I would suggest you ditch the Rab stuff sack and get one with compression straps as the jacket will squash down more than the stuff sack would suggest.
The jacket has a soft, comfortable feel and this is down to the outer material which is Pertex Quantum. This is a great fabric as it allows the weight to stay low while giving you a windproof shell that is capable of retaining heat by allowing the down insulation to loft. The warmth comes from the 148g of 850 fill power down, which in anyone’s book is a decent serving of high quality down. This gives you instant warmth when you put the jacket on but you don’t feel like it’s too much and I haven’t got to the point where I feel like I might overheat. When used under a waterproof shell it doesn’t restrict your movement like some of the larger jackets and when worn on its own it provides more warmth and protection than a lot of the super light down jackets. It must be noted that I haven’t worn this jacket under a shell while exerting myself yet as the weather has either been cold and dry or milder whilst raining during the test outings I’ve had. I will update this as and when this changes.
Overall, I have been pleased with the performance of this jacket. It’s much more versatile than either of my other down jackets and the hydrophobic treatment adds to it. I’m not the biggest fan of the style of it but that’s simply personal taste and should not take away from a well designed jacket. The warmth to weight ratio is impressive and will mean that it gets a lot more use over the colder months when I’m heading to the mountains. You need to know how and when to use this jacket to get the most out of it but if you get this right, it’s awesome.