Saturday, 20 October 2012

Review: Rab Volt Jacket

Rab promote the Volt Jacket as a mountain jacket which would imply they think it can take some harsh conditions. It's supposed to be light, made from a new material, and has a lot of options for helping keep you cool. So I decided to pick one up for the Summer just gone. If you aren't aware, we sort of had a Summer, but if you blinked, you missed it. A Volt was purchased and went on a holiday to the Lake District at the supposed height of the British Summer.

First Impressions

The Volt jacket is extremely light, maybe not compared to many other jackets, but it's extremely light for it's specification. Rab advertise the Volt as 360g which I assume from other specs is for the large. This does make it very light. The material, Pertex Shield +, is a very nice material. It has an incredibly soft feel to it, almost like a softshell. Pertex Shield + has a little stretch to it that can be felt in the material. But the really nice aspect of the material is the silky feel on the inside that looks like it will be very comfortable against the skin if over a short sleeved shirt. The downside is it does seem like it may be fragile, but at this weight, it would be pretty much expected. The only way to find out is to put it to the test.

The soft interior of Pertex Shield+.


Working from the top down. The hood is a helmet compatible hood with volume and side adjusters. The hood also has a wired cap like peak to help keep rain off your face. The wired peak can be easily adjusted as needed.

The hoods adequate peak.

The volume adjuster draw cord.

The hood has a small strap and buckle system to secure it away when it's not in use.

The hoods clip closure for stowage.

There are three water resistant YKK Aquaguard zipped pockets on the jacket. Two pockets are located on the sides and are situated high enough to keep them above a rucksack hip belt. The inside of these two pockets has a mesh inner which will help with venting. The third pocket is a Napoleon style pocket located on the left side and a little higher than the other two and using a YKK Aquaguard zip. This third pocket is lined with more Pertex Shield+ so wont aid in venting. It has a small nylon loop with a D-ring on the end which would be good for securing keys or any other small items.

Two of the pockets.

The main zip, again a water resistant YKK Aquaguard zip is a little disappointing as it is a single pull zip, so no chance of unzipping from the bottom for venting. It has a small internal storm flap on the inside to channel any water that gets through the zip down and away. As are the other water resistant zips I have used, the zips on the Volt are quite stiff.

There are YKK  pit zips on the Volt, Rab quote them as calendered, so I assume they have some sort of coating on them for water resistance. The pit zips are double zipped, so there is some flexibility here. They are also easier to pull than the other zips on the jacket.

One of the pit zips.

The hem of the jacket is of the double pull type and so nicely adjustable. There is a slight drop at the back to help keep your posterior dry.

Double hem draw cords.

The cuffs are of a minimalist velcro adjustment type. They are quite narrow I assume as a means to reduce weight. The do the job, just.

Cuff hook and loop closure.

There are two small loops on the inside of the jacket with press stud closures which I can only guess are so the jacket can be hung up to dry.

In Use

The Volt, and I don't exaggerate, has the best hood I have ever had on a jacket. I raised an issue with the hood in my Vapour Rise review. In the case of the Vapour Rise, the hood is good, but is over shadowed in my eyes by the hood on the Volt. With the volume and side adjusters the hood can be made to fit nice and snug. Once snug, the hood allows for very easy movement of the head. Turning or tilting your head has no issues at all, the hood moves with your head very much like wearing a cap.

The fit is nice, I'm not a skinny guy, and the jacket has a fit which is just right for me. I think the fit, along with the multitude of venting options and the material mean this jacket is tough to sweat in. As I've said before, I walk ridiculously warm, but the volt has never made me sweaty.

The pockets are in a good spot. High above the hip, but accessible for the hands. The length is also good for a Summer jacket, quite short, but keeps you dry enough. To be honest, long jackets don't interest me. In the Summer, if it showers, I'll dry out any way. In the winter, or a downpour, I'll have waterproof trousers on, so again any issues disappear.

Pertex Shield+ seems like a fairly tough material. It's had a few knocks, and had to cope with a fairly heavy 40+ litre rucksack. Up to now there is no visible wear or damage. That being said, I only wear a waterproof when it rains. I see a lot of people out walking with waterproofs on even in nice weather. Besides the fact that I can't do that as I would always be to warm, I also don't want to have to reproof my jacket regularly. In the last few years I have only had to reproof one jacket. So for me, no rain, no snow, no waterproof. I believe that that approach increases the life of my waterproofs. That way, when it suddenly comes down heavy, I know my jacket will keep the rain out.

Me on Griesdale Pike testing the Rab Volt.


It's light, has a high spec, breaths well and keeps me dry. What can I say. A double main zipper, for the sake of a few grams would be better, but it hasn't really been an issue so far. It's been an ideal Spring/Summer jacket so far. hopefully many more years of use.


  1. Thanks for that. Just bought one today without looking at reviews and am pleased that i have bought well. Cheers

  2. Glad you like the jacket, it's my favourite waterproof. Thanks for stopping by and reading the review.


  3. Worst zipper I've ever had on a jacket. I've had to return it twice. Other than that, It's awesome.

    1. It's my go to summer waterproof and it's still in use 3 years on. I've had no issues with the zipper myself, but can imagine people might, yours being an example.