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Rab Microlight Down Vest review: a toasty gilet that’s designed to help you regulate the warmth

Packed with a generous weight of recycled down, the Rab Microlight Down Vest delivers warmth with a clear conscience, even when wet

Rab Microlight Down Vest
(Image: © Rab)

Our Verdict

An extremely comfortable body warmer that performs well, and is stuffed with recycled down to avoid any ethical discomfort.

For

  • Warm, recycled down
  • Quality materials
  • YKK zips
  • Stuff sack

Against

  • Only two colors

Rab Microlight Down Vest: first impressions

The Rab Microlight Down Vest – being made from recycled 700 fill-power down, treated with Nikwax hydrophobic (water-resistant) finish to retain its loft when damp – offers all the warmth and luxury of a down gilet without any of the potential guilt. 

The baffles are designed and shaped to avoid cold spots, and a drawcord hem traps or spills heat according to your wishes. The 30D Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon outer should ensure great longevity, and Rab operate an excellent repair facility, too, although with YKK zips for the hand pockets and large chest pocket this vest should last and last.

The Microlight Down comes with its own neat stuff sack to stow it in your pack when not in use – a better solution than trying to squeeze a gilet into one of its pockets and breaking the zip

Specifications

• RRP: $180 (US) / £130 (UK)
• Fill: Recycled 700 fill-power down
• Gender availability: Men’s / Women’s
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / XXL
• Colors: Beluga / Black

Rab Microlight Down Vest: on the trails

When it’s in use, every little detail of the Rab Microlight Down Vest indicates designers who understand completely what makes the very best gilets. The arm holes are close fitting to trap heat, the neck line is tall and close fitting to stop heat escaping, and the drawcord hem does the same at the waist.

Few gilets have chest pockets, yet this has proved to be a really useful feature in the Rab for carrying a phone, especially when rucksack straps tend to block the hand pockets of most gilets. 

The gilet is close-fitting, which is ideal for warmth and for wearing under an outer shell, but more generously upholstered walkers might want to consider the size up to secure a better fit (see also: Hiking layers: everything you need to know to keep yourself warm in all conditions).

Personally, I’ve found it so warm, comfortable and unobtrusive to wear that I’ve got back from walks, taken off my waterproof and found myself several hours later still wearing the Microlight Down indoors.

After spending a decade as editor of Country Walking, the UK’s biggest-selling walking magazine, Jonathan moved to edit Outdoor Fitness magazine, adding adrenaline to his adventures and expeditions. He has hiked stages or completed all of the UK's national trails, but was once overtaken by three Smurfs, a cross-dressing Little Bo Peep, and a pair of Teletubbies on an ascent of Snowdon. (Turns out they were soldiers on a fundraising mission.)