Saturday, 12 April 2014
A very lightweight, stretchy, highly breathable softshell sounds too good?
On my recent trip around Kinder I decided to try out the Rab Boreas Pull On.
I wore it over my L/S merino top and under my Dri-Clime Vest.
On one day the rain/sleet/hail was horizontal and I wore my PHD Alpamayo Smock over all three other layers. The wind chill was significant! I remained warm and comfortable with no water ingress and no sweating up inside.
When it stopped raining etc, the wind remained very strong. With the base/Boreas/vest set up I was warm and comfortable, with no overheating.
It remained very windy on this trip.
When it was less windy I kept the same set up on.
When the sun shone, briefly, I kept the same set up on.
I kept the same set up on all day every day and remained comfortable.
On one night I slept in the Boreas and was comfortable.
You can read the technical blurb on Rab's site.
I found the Boreas met a missing requirement - I wanted a very breathable top which was able to keep my comfortable in cold high winds, or, in warmer conditions; with a L/S base layer and my Dri-Clime Vest.
With the PHD windshirt, or with a Montane Litespeed, I wore the base and vest underneath.
With the Boreas, I wore it over the base and under the vest.
The Driclime Vest cut out any wind from my body and the Boreas did not let the wind become an issue - my arms stayed just fine. I could also put my hands in the vest pockets with my pack on; something I couldn't do wearing a normal windshirt.
There were combinations of layering which I didn't even try. But the scope for varying the options with the Boreas was, for me, much better than the options available with a windshirt.
The body of the Boreas is long. I'm 6'2" and it was plenty long (L). The arms are made for a gorilla. They are very, very long. No problems with cold wrists.
The fit is close, the fabric is slightly stretchy, and, I could pull the arms up at a squeeze, but I found that they didn't really suit being pulled up. Just a little too tight.
The hood covered my head easily, but I found it flapped around a lot in high winds and fell over my eyes to become a bit of a pain. It did cut out the wind, but would really need to be worn with a peaked cap to prevent it flapping into my eyes.
I don't like the classic base, fleece, windshirt, waterproof set up.
For me this combination can be just a little too warm.
I do like the base, Driclime Vest and windshirt, waterproof set up.
The Driclime vest has not insulation on the back section and light microfibre to the front and sides and is a great piece of kit.
I've now found, for me, an even better set up:
L/S Merino base + Boreas + Driclime Vest + Waterproof.
This combination kept me warm and comfortable in all the conditions on this trip and I'll wear this set up for future trips.
The Boreas was just right in high winds/cold, not so cold, and warmer conditions and I never felt like I was too cold or too hot. It met the Goldilocks test and I would rate it highly.
Mine's beluga (a dark blue-ish).
Update: 28 April 2014
Following on from the comments below, here's Alan's Blog - pt3 - on the clothing he'll be taking.
I don't, ever, comment on any gear that I haven't bought. I have refused to receive gear for testing and will always do so.