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REVIEW: Rab’s New Vapour-rise Range (VR)

Words by Mad about Mountains

on 08/01/2021 11:01:27

Reviewed and written by Heidi Dent

I was lucky enough to get my hands on two pieces to test from Rab’s new VR range AW2020/21: the VR Summit jacket and the VR Incline pants. The concept of an all-in-one, multi-sport system is not a new one for Rab. In fact founder of Rab, Rab Carrington created this breakthrough two layer system long before any other brand, when he realised there was a need for garments to be both weather resistant but also super breathable. What he created was revolutionary clothing which can be worn in many climates, temperatures and for the full day regardless of the level of activity.


Let me firstly tell you about my experience with the Summit Jacket. Available in 3 delicious colours for women: Blueprint, Atlantis and Crimson. I chose Crimson, in a size UK10. Rab describe the fit as regular and I would agree. The jacket is tailored but not tight. The idea behind the VR collection is to avoid wearing many layers underneath. From my experience, a decent quality baselayer will suffice; a thicker merino one for colder Winter months.

Don’t be put off when you first try on this will not feel like the heavier ‘static’ insulation pieces (down) you may be familiar with, and you might be concerned the jacket will not be “warm enough”. The VR technology comes into its own when you move. I think I speak for all of us when I say we get out of the warm car, it’s ruddy freezing, so we layer up. After about 10 minutes of walking or 5 minutes of walking on an incline and we are complaining about being “too warm”. At which point comes the difficult decision of shedding layers; exposing the sweaty underneath to the cold and risk catching a chill from the wind. Or persevering with the heavy layering, growing increasingly sweatier and feeling gross. Not to mention the damage the sweat has on the jacket’s composite. This is when the VR jacket comes in awfully handy. Start moving in the VR jacket and reach a comfortable temperature quickly without breaking out into a sweat. The really cool bit is, the jacket doesn’t stop the user from sweating, instead the fluffy, brushed polyester lining quickly wicks moisture away from the skin and pumps it out. Leaving the user comfortable and dry between exertion and rest.

Whilst hiking up The Coniston Old Man, (prior to lockdown 2) it was clear I was perspiring heavily as sweat beads began to form on my brow. Although when I reached the high winds on the summit I was dry and remarkably warm. It must have been in the region of -10 with the wind-chill, but I was warm enough with only a base layer and VR Summit jacket. Pretty incredible!


The fluffy lining is lighter in the sleeves, to allow for the arms to glide in easier if doning in a hurry or in challenging conditions.

The second layer in this two part compilation is the highly breathable Pertex Quantum Airshell with a light DWR waterproof coating. This outer fabric offers fantastic weather protection. The light weave stops the majority of light rain and snow from entering the fabric. It is however important to note that the VR Summit jacket is not waterproof as such, but when your body is kicking out heat I can vouch it really does prevent the weather from permeating through. The Pertex Quantum Air fabric is made with a light ripstop to prevent snags from escalating into awful tears. The fabric also offers protection against abrasion, so it’s safe to carry a rucksack or wear a harness over the top.

The only time I think an additional layer would be needed is if stationary for a long duration, or if there was persistent or heavy rainfall. In which case the VR Summit jacket is thin enough to become a mid layer.

Features include: two good sized hand pockets, and a mobile/compass sized napoleon (chest) pocket. A two way zip, useful if wearing a harness. A helmet compatible hood to which the size can be reduced through the tightening of a Velcro tab.


All that is left to say is I love the style, shape and incredible weightlessness of this jacket. I wear it for technical purposes on the hill, low level walks and commuting. An extremely versatile piece.

Now for the Incline VR pant. An identical concept to the Summit jacket, although made from a slightly different shell fabric. The shell is made from a double weave matrix fabric, which offers the same weather-resistant, breathable properties but also a little extra stretch thanks to the elastane. The soft brushed lining is a pleasure to wear next to the skin unlike other tight, itchy fabrics. These trousers should come with a warning-once on, you won’t actually want to take them off!

When working hard, hiking uphill the trousers keep you dry and comfortable. Strong icy summit winds are no match against the shell fabric, not a whisper of wind is felt against the leg.

The fit is true to size, and the shape is well fitted to the female figure, although one observation I would make is after a few wears the trousers loose their shape slightly. A small price to pay for ultimate comfort, warmth and breathability. I especially like the position the waistband sits, high enough to provide back warmth without being uncomfortable in the crotch,

The VR Incline pants feature three zip pockets; 2 x hand and 1 x rear. There are also drawcord cuffs to adjust the trouser hems, although I haven’t used this feature yet. The trousers are articulated at the knee which prevents ‘riding up’ on walking.

Similar to the VR Summit jacket the shell layer offers a fair bit of weather resistance, however in heavy or persistent rain, waterproof over trousers should be worn.

If you’ve never owned a piece from Rab’s Vapour-rise collection before, you will not be disappointed. If this is a second, third, fourth (and so on) time you have purchased a Rab VR piece, I think you’ll be impressed at the advancements in technology.

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