The down vest is the unsung hero of the backcountry.  It seems like ultralight puffies or the latest hardshells always snag all of the glamor, but behind all of that pizazz is the humble down vest that keeps you going in cold weather.  It’s an essential and highly versatile piece of outdoor kit and Rab’s Neutrino is a very warm, lightweight option.

Rab Neutrino Vest Features:

  • 120g 800 fill power Hydrophobic European goose down (Large)
  • Stitch-through baffle construction
  • YKK front zip with internal insulated zip baffle
  • 2 YKK zipped hand warmer pockets
  • 1 YKK zipped internal security pocket
  • Elasticated arm holes
  • Hem drawcord
  • Stuff sack
  • Fit: Regular
  • MSRP: $179.95

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Neutrino is Poofy.  ‘Nuff Said

The Rab Neutrino is a class mountain vest with big baffles, a straightforward design and warmth to spare.  I’ve tested the Neutrino in the dry, sparkling frigidity of Nevada’s high desert, wet snowshoeing near Pend Oreille and some solid pow days around the Inland Northwest.

The Neutrino is built with quite large baffles, an insulated internal zipper baffle, two zippered hand pockets, one interior security pocket and a lovely fleecy chin guard.  Rab chose to line the front of the pockets with a soft fleece, making them warm and cozy on cold days.  The zippers pull easily, but remember that Rab’s an English brand so the zipper is on the opposite side from what US climbers are used to.  The arm holes are lightly elasticized, but I felt as if they could be more comfortable since they tended to dig into my armpits a tad.

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Rab designed the Neutrino to be particularly warm; it’s stuffed with poof 800-fill hydrophobic down and features a hung liner on the front of the jacket to boost warmth.  The hydrophobic down is a great touch for this piece; I frequently wear vests on aerobic trips in the cold weather so it’s wonderful that the down will keep its loft even as I start to sweat.  The Pertex Quantum isn’t water resistant but it does block wind and feather leakage well.

My only substantial qualm with the vest is its fit.  I’m 5’11”, 180lbs and the size Medium I tested fits closely throughout the torso.  That’s fine, but I found that the drop tail would never stay put when I adjusted the hem.  I think the problem stems from the fact that the drop tail is a very dramatic swoop down compared to the rest of them; when you tighten up the drop hem, the drop tail likes to draw upwards to ride annoyingly high on your rear.

The included stuff sack includes a vent to handle moisture, but it hardly compresses the jacket

The included stuff sack includes a vent to handle moisture, but it hardly compresses the jacket

The Good

  • Lightweight, high-quality hydrophobic down
  • Very warm overall piece
  • Rab’s top-notch build quality and overall design
  • Warm, fleecy pockets
  • Virtually no down leakage

The Bad

  • Pertex Quantum isn’t water resistant
  • Drop tail doesn’t stay put
  • Included stuff sack could be smaller

The Bottom Line

Vests are the bomb, and the Neutrino is a particularly bomber vest.  It’s very warm for its weight and exceptionally puffy, and the only performance drawbacks are fairly minor and depend on personal fit.  I like the Neutrino for it’s great warmth/weight ratio and the high quality construction.

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About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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