Gear Reviews

Rab Nexus Jacket Review

The full jacket from the top of Bobotov Kuk in Montenegro

I have been using the Rab Nexus Jacket for almost a year now, but have held off on writing a review because the conditions were not right. I bought it towards the end of winter from Altitude Sports and didn’t get a chance to put it through its paces until just recently, when I spent some time hiking and climbing in Serbia and Montenegro, in Durmitor National Park, and in the hills surrounding the city of Sarajevo.

The full jacket from the top of Bobotov Kuk in Montenegro
The full Rab Nexus jacket from the top of Bobotov Kuk in Montenegro

Picking up this jacket was an evolutionary step for me. I am a big believer in carrying few things that can be used in more than one situation, and for years I had relied on the one-two punch approach of a very light weight rain jacket, and a soft shell that was simply water resistant when colder temperatures prevailed. The rain shell (a Torrentshell from Patagonia) was awesome, and incredibly light. I could carry it all day and really not notice it, but it did not have any exterior pockets and only had a half zipper which made getting it on a challenge some times.

Enter the Nexus. I’ve been becoming a convert to Rab gear over the last few years, and this jacket seemed to hold the answer of a water repellent shell coupled with a slightly heavier weight Polartec Neoshell® material that would provide me with a bit more warmth, plus pockets, and really great ventilation via pit zips.

The jacket has a lot of little features that make it stand out. First, like the Rab Endurance jacket I reviewed during the winter, the Nexus has fantastic velcro on the cuffs that really stays closed. While maybe less important on a shell like this since you are probably not trying to seal in warmth, having a nice tight cuff means that the sleeve isn’t going to slide down over your hand and keep you from grabbing stuff securely.

Velcro cuffs that actually really hold together
Velcro cuffs that actually really hold together

The hood is awesome. It seals out wind and rain marvellously well, thanks to drawstrings in the front and one in the back, which helps hold it to your head nicely. No loss of visibility when using it.

Hood draw string on the Rab Nexus Jacket
Hood draw string

There are three pockets on the front of the jacket, two massive ones on either side and a smaller one on the left. The bigger ones are large enough to easily hold my toque when things get too hot, or a trail map. The smaller chest pocket is sized for something like a phone. Just be sure to keep things in your pack or in the single internal pocket if the weather turns wet — the membrane that keeps you dry is on the inside of the jacket so the pockets are not guaranteed against moisture.

Zipper pull on external pockets with rain cover on the Rab Nexus Jacket
Zipper pull on external pockets with rain cover
chest and side pocket, along with logo and fabric detail on the Rab Nexus Jacket
chest and side pocket, along with logo and fabric detail
inside pocket detail on the Rab Nexus Jacket
inside pocket detail

So, I did get caught in the rain with this jacket. With past jackets, I either end up soaking wet from my own sweat when going hard, or rain eventually permeates the jacket because of pressure points like the shoulder straps on my pack. I’m happy to say that this did not happen with the Rab Nexus jacket. I was able to dump a lot of body heat with the pit zips, and never really ended up feeling clammy like other jackets do.

Coupled with a mid weight base layer, I didn’t need much else in temperatures down to single digits and strong wind when on exposed ridges. This makes me very happy — one less thing to carry in the pack. It’s heavier than my dedicated rain shell by a small amount, but the weight savings of one jacket over two is huge, and this frees up a lot of room for other things.

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