This item has been supplied by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors. The jacket being reviewed is the RAB Men’s Exodus Softshell Jacket; the Go Outdoors link is here and the RAB link is here. The Go Outdoors site is also very good if you are looking for waterproof clothing, so well worth a good scout around their site.
I was asked by Adam what I would like to have on test and I plumped for a softshell jacket, for a couple of reasons; I tend to run cold and my present softshell (a TNF Summit Series Apex Zeitgeist – try saying that after coming out of the pub…) is a little thin, even for summer use for my old bones. So, Adam sent me the RAB Exodus, which is mid-weight and so might suit my needs a little better.
First off, Go Outdoors delivered the jacket with remarkable speed; from agreeing to test it to arriving on my doorstep was less than 24 hours – which is impressive by anybody’s standards. The packaging said it had been sent on a 48 hour service – which is still good in my book.
It arrived in sturdy plastic packaging, in good order, with no damage:
Out of the packaging, laying on the floor of Mission Control, the baby looks like this:
CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE
My first impressions are that this jacket has quite a substantial feel to it; far more so than my old TNF Zeitgeist. Walking on my usual circuit from home shows that the jacket is highly breathable and weather resistant; it was a cool day of heavy showers. As it wasn’t too cold (it is summer, after all, albeit an English one) I tried the pit-zips out; they are easy to get at, with double ended zips with cord pulls to help you. It has a really great hood with a wired peak (important if you wear glasses in the rain) and adjustable closure to keep it nice and snug if it gets horrid.
The pockets are nicely positioned not to get in the way of hip belts on your rucksack, which was handy as I was walking to the supermarket with my rucksack on. There is an intriguing little pocket on the left arm – and I just cannot fathom what this is for! Lippy, perhaps, but on a Man’s jacket? Let’s call it a lip-balm pocket. All the pockets and main front fastening are made from YKK zips that have a weather protection cover built in – I wouldn’t say they were watertight, but they are pretty nearly so – but you have to remember that this is not a waterproof jacket.
The cuffs: I really like the cuffs. So you can have a special picture just of the cuffs:.
The Velcro tab seems to be made of something nice and rubbery – easy to grip in cold wet weather and the Velcro loop strip is narrow – not a bulky closure, which I would hate. I think the correct term for the cut of the sleeves is “articulated” which is supposed to give a better fit – it certainly feels comfortable.
All the “tightening cords” have captive ends, so they won’t flail about in the wind and whip you to death. There are others I can think of, who enjoy pain, who might see this as a disadvantage…
The hood can be rolled away when not in use – it has a little nylon strap that secures it in place. However I much prefer not to, as when rolled away the resulting collar becomes a bit unwieldy – slightly lumpen and heavy. Far better just to let the hood lay on your shoulders so the jacket hangs better – and we all want to look our best, don’t we, girls!
Overall, I think this is really a good jacket – its far better for me than my old Zeitgeist as its warmer. Its also more flexible as it has a full length front zip and so coupled with the pit zips you have far more control over temperature. I love the adjustable cuffs and hood, which make this a good jacket for pretty grotty weather too. It is not waterproof but it certainly coped well enough with a few heavy rain showers.
It’s cut well and so is good enough to wander about town in as well. With the price of outdoor gear that is a distinct advantage.
I will let you know how I get on with it after a bit more wear & tear to let you know how it copes with backpacking and general abuse. From what I have seen so far, I am expecting this to be a bit of kit in the “must take” pile. For its price; £90 from Go Outdoors, I think it is really good value too. It can be found a lot more expensively on other outdoor sites.
November 2011 UPDATE: You can find an updated review of this jacket after a few more months living with her HERE