Tuesday, 27 March 2012

RAB Boreas Pull-on Review

RAB advertise the Boreas pull-on as a lighteight top which offers protection from the sun with some wind resistance. The Backpacker magazine awarded it their Editor's choice for a pull-on softshell. Being lightweight and offering what seems like a good design for warmer weather I had to give it a try.

Last Summer I decided to get myself a Boreas to use through the warmer weather when high up. Due to medical reasons I have to keep the sun off my right arm at all times when damage from burning is possible. So the Boreas seemed like a good choice for a lightweight softshell.

First Impressions

The top is very light and very thin. I had reservations about it's use for backpacking as the material is very soft. The stretch in the material is very slight but overall potentially sufficient. The feel of the material is actually really nice, a sort of silky linen feel.

The Fit

The fit of the Boreas is very relaxed. On myself it has room where it is needed. I'm not a skinny guy, so was pleased with the fit. The hem just reaches down to the upper part of my thighs. The arms are of sufficient length that they don't pull up when reaching out and in fact could possibly have benefited from thumb loops. The great part for me is the hood. Unzipped it sits nicely on the head without coming down around my eyes. When zipped up the hood does fall close to my eyes, there are no means to adjust the hood, but a small tug at the back of the hood pulls it away from my face. The stretch in the material then holds the hood in place on my head and allows me to turn my head from side to side. There are no means to cinch the hem or the sleeves, but given the warmer weather use of the top I cannot see this as a problem.


The main zip is quite deep, around half way down the garment allowing for some significant venting. The action of the zip is smooth and solid. The single Napolean chest pocket is just about large enough to take a hand, so the majority of mobile phones and similar sized items will fit in here. Again, the zip on the pocket is smooth and feels solid.

RAB Boreas zip detail.

In Use

The Boreas top's lightweight feel and good breathibility make it ideal for warmer weather. It doesn't get too clamy and dries very quickly. I have found at higher altitudes in the UK the Boreas and a baselayer are enough to stay at a good temperature and stay dry. I have noticed a little wear on the shoulders where my ruckasack straps go, but this is extremely slight, just noticeable. But I've owned the top for around 10 months and it has had quite a bit of use. There are also some wear marks at the front of the top near the hem, just where my rucksacks waistbelt buckle sits. But again, this is very slight and nothing to prevent the top from being used for some years to come.

Boreas hem with slight material damage.


Would I recommend the Boreas.........yes. But I would be careful with very heavy rucksack loads. It does offer good value for money in my opinion meaning a good buy. I shopped around and picked mine up for a price below the RRP. So. if your after a lightweight top to keep a bit of wind out and protect you in the sun this has got to be a serious consideration.