Rab may not be the biggest name around the United States, but this English company is making some really solid technical gear. Since their founding in 1981, Rab’s mission is to produce gear for “the most extreme conditions in the world.” I’ve been thrashing the Myriad Jacket and have so far been impressed with this jacket’s breathability and its aggressive mountaineering design.
Rab Myriad Jacket Features:
- Polartec® NeoShell® 3L fabric
- Helmet compatible hood with wired peak
- 2 YKK Aquaguard® zipped bonded A-line pockets
- YKK Aquaguard® front zip, internal flap, rain drain
- Internal YKK zipped bonded pocket
- Tricot lined collar
- Velcro® cuffs, hem drawcord
- Reflective trim
- Fit: Regular
- Weight: 410g
- MSRP: $375
The Myriad is built around Polartec’s Neoshell fabric; this is a backless laminate, just like eVent or Gore Active, designed to breathe like an olympian when your body starts to heat up. The key theme to this review will be a technical jacket designed for very demanding activities that can handle all the sweat and perspiration you throw at it.
Rab built the new Myriad off of their successful Latok Alpine jacket, featuring a tall collar, high pockets, fully adjustable hood and hem and completely sealed zippers. The jacket’s sizing is spot on and the trim is moderate, leaning to athletic; medium length with a modest drop tail tie it off for a practical all-mountain fit. The high pockets are ideal for use with a backpack or climbing harness and are fully sealed and taped; they Myriad’s pockets are very tall and shallow rather than your normal deep pockets, but they’re still deep enough to shove cold hands into. I love this design because it makes objects like a compass, GPS or phone sit flat in the pocket. The Myriad also has a sealed interior security pocket.
I particularly appreciated the design of the velcro cuff closures – they have just the right amount of velcro on both sides to avoid overlap or excess fabric. It’s a small detail, but the fact that I mention it really means two things: the Rab design is actually good enough to mention, and this detail was something that I noticed and appreciated while testing. I was able to quickly and securely tighten up the cuffs to control the climate within the jacket.
My appreciation for Rab’s attention to detail became something of a theme while I was testing. I love the collar design, which is especially tall to fend off foul weather; the collar is lined with a fleecy tricot for comfort. The helmet-compatible hood is fully adjustable and has a wire peak so no gust of wind can wrench it out of position. Hem adjustments are easy to make one-handed or with light gloves and the jacket is long enough to pull down over your butt for storm coverage.
Polartec’s Neoshell fabric deserves a lot of credit for the overall performance of the jacket. I’ve tested Gore Active, eVent, and now Neoshell and these three really run the gamut of backless laminates. It’s a very competitive field and they’re all phenomenal fabrics, but I’m prepared to say that Neoshell breathes the best out of the lot. It’s one of the newer competitors and I really think Polartec has benefited from the recent focus on backless laminates in the gear scene.
In the real world, though, everything comes with tradeoffs. To make a laminate more breathable, Neoshell sacrificed a little bit of waterproofing and windproofing. Is that significant enough to make a noticeable difference? Probably not. In reality, Gore Active, eVent and Neoshell (along with other competitors) all perform well, and the differences between them are somewhat subjective and easy to get carried away with.
Passing over breathability, the Myriad’s laminate is far stretchier than any of the other rain jackets I’m currently testing – while doing things like scrambling up scree or retrieving a frisbee from a tree I never once felt restricted. Rab’s signature long sleeves are present in the Myriad, so you won’t be tugging the fabric with long reaches. Absolutely top-notch range of motion from Rab.
The Myriad is built with a lighter fabric than its parent, the Latok jacket, and comes in right around 14oz. That actually places the Rab toward the heavier end of the rain jackets we’ll be looking at this summer, but this jacket wasn’t built to be ultralight – the wire hood peak is proof of that. Moreover, the jacket doesn’t stow into its pocket but requires a separate stuff sack for packing.
Polartec’s Neoshell fabric is advertised as having a softer handle than other fabrics and it does indeed feel smoother next-to-skin. As far as durability goes, I can’t give Rab’s fabric choices the best marks possible. I managed to poke a hole through the fabric while clambering through some dry brush, and that doesn’t say a whole lot about durability. For that matter, it would have been great if Rab had strategically placed some reinforcement for backpack straps or waistbelts, but not every jacket is backpacking-specific.
- Neoshell fabric breathes like a champ, stretches and is soft next-to-skin
- Pockets are thoughtfully placed and plenty deep
- Tall collar and fully adjustable hood offer excellent protection
- Rab’s signature long sleeves enhance range-of-motion
- Sealed zippers pull easily
- Cuff velcro closures denote the jacket’s great overall design
- Neoshell’s durability is questionable
- Neoshell is not as waterproof as Gore Active, but still shines in real-world testing
- Jacket requires a separate stuff sack
The Bottom Line
When you’re wearing the Myriad it’s hard not to like it. The high collar and class-leading range-of-motion make you feel like scaling whatever vertical surface is handy. Rab showed a lot of design expertise and I’m very impressed with the Myriad as a technical piece for demanding alpine adventures. I approve of Polartec’s Neoshell overall, but it does have a few foibles to detract from its top-notch breathability. Overall the Myriad is a great techie jacket from Rab.
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