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The Rab Downpour Eco is a Serious Rain Jacket for the Rest of Us

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No one wants to hike or backpack in the rain. At least, no one I know. But occasionally, that’s just what happens. Sometimes it can’t be avoided. And when that happens, especially if you’re deep in the backcountry, it’s important that you stay dry and warm so you don’t succumb to hypothermia or some such nonsense. Fortunately, the Rab Downpour Eco Jacket is just the thing: a quality, robust rain jacket that’s sustainable but won’t break the bank.

Because listen, we’ll be the first to admit that prices for rain gear can get pretty crazy pretty fast. But the truth is, unless you’re donning one of those classic slickers made of straight up plastic, price is more or less directly related to quality when it comes to rain jackets that are supposed to keep you dry and protected from the elements.

Now, we’re not saying a $35 or $60 rain jacket isn’t going to do the trick. Indeed, we wrote about a whole bunch of sustainable rain jackets in this post at all manner of price points that are both effective and eco-friendly. But as we tested more rain jackets, we realized as price went up, so, usually, did quality.

A $400 rain shell, for example, is that expensive because it’s designed for extreme environments like alpine backpacking and mountaineering when your life literally depends on staying dry and sub-standard waterproofing and delicate materials just won’t do. But since most of us aren’t regularly embarking upon mountaineering expeditions, but do often find ourselves deep in the backcountry when the clouds decide to dump several inches of water, we do need a rain shell that will keep us dry.

Enter the Rab Downpour Eco: a rain jacket that sits pretty dang comfortably at the intersection of affordability (it’s just over $100) and efficacy.

The Deets

What makes this jacket so great? For starters, it’s made with recycled 2.5 layer Pertex® Revolve fabric, which isn’t just made OUT OF old rain jackets, it can be recycled to create NEW rain jackets. Which means it’s a circular product. And circularity is the gold standard when it comes to sustainable manufacturing because it means little to nothing ends up in a landfill after just one use. It’s even made in a Fair Trade Certified factory.

But sustainability aside, It features an adjustable hem and cuffs, plus a two-way adjustable hood with a polymer peak to keep it rigid, hand pockets and large pit zips, a must for high-output activities like hiking or backpacking.

It packs down small into its own pocket, is highly windproof, and also extremely waterproof. We’re talking a hydrostatic head (HH) rating of 20,000. And if you’re not familiar, the HH rating tells you how much water pressure a material can withstand before it is breached. So in this case, there could be a twenty thousand millimeter (or in imperial measurements, a 65-foot) column of water sitting on top of this jacket without any leakage problems. So yeah, it’s pretty dang waterproof.

It weighs in at 11.2 ounces and feels sturdy without being stiff or crinkly.

The DWR coating is even PFC-free. Not sure what that means? Check out this article if you want to learn more about PFCs and DWR coatings.

The Review

So what did we think of the Rab Downpour Eco? Right away we could tell some quality craftsmanship went into this jacket. For starters, the interior features a sort of 3-D texture that makes the synthetic fabric way more comfortable against your skin than a smooth, plasticy nylon, especially when you’re in a hot and humid environment. 

The whole jacket feels rugged and dependable, like it’s not gonna crap out on us mid-adventure. Plus It comes in a slew of really nice colors for men and women. We tested the Nightfall blue option.

The only downside? It’s a bit on the heavy side, so not the most ultra-ultralight jacket on the market if you’ll be using it for backpacking. But it’ll definitely be more durable than most ultralight jackets and is still pliable enough to be packable.

Personally, We dig this jacket. We put it through its paces during a very wet backpacking trip in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and between the large hood, pit zips, textured interior, and sustainable materials, this is a jacket you can feel good about hanging in your closet that’ll keep you comfortable and dry in the wettest of conditions.

Want one for yourself? Find the Rab Downpour Eco for men here and women here. Then don’t let a little rain stop you from adventuring! Get out there and wander on (even when wet).

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