Some of Rab's new and updated product for the summer includes the Aeon Tee, Men's Vertex Short and Pant, Women's Helix Capri and Pant, the Men's Boreas Pull-On and Women's Aurora Pull-On. All are ideally suited for most spring/summer/fall adventures, however, the tees and pull ons in particular could also be used for spring backcountry skiing and/or mountaineering as well as touring baselayers all-year round.
We have been reviewing Rab gear for the last three years now and the gear that they manufacture has consistantly demonstrated quality and durability. The bombproof Latok Hardshell still looks great and performs after two solid seasons and the Exodus Soft Shell Pant is still my go-to touring pant. Last year we tested the waters with some of Rab's summer or 'off-season' clothing which also turned out to be keepers.
Matrix SWS fabric
Each year Rab updates their product with new technologies to improve performance, below you will find the pants and shorts are constructed using the Matrix SWS fabric, a 93% nylon and 7% spandex mix designed to be lightweight, fast drying, durable and comfortable with added sun protection (UPF 35). A wicking treatment is applied to the fabric. Bluesign accredition confirms the Matrix SWS was manufactured in consideration to consumer safety, water and air emissions as well as occupational health.
Here's the run down on the clothing we have tried out for this year ...
Rab Aeon Tee
Prices: $37.00 CAD
Weight: 95g / 3oz (men's) 65g / 2oz (women's)
Colors: Spring Green, Narwhal, Lemongrass, Beluga, Lake, Mushroom, Solaris (men's); Orchid, Turquoise, Majestic, Anenome (women's).
Sizes: S - XXL (men's) 8 - 16 (women's)
Rab describe the fabric in the Aeon Tee as a luxurious silkweight fabric and this isn't a stretch of the truth. The articulated cut and flat lock seams are support high activity movement and comfort. More importantly it's fabric is engineered for performance. Hydrophobic polyester makes it quick drying and the hi-guage knit gives sun protection of UPF 30+. A Polygiene® STAY FRESH odour control treatment has been applied to keep it smelling fresh. Reflective trim details have been added for enhanced visibility.
Men's Rab Vertex Shorts
Price: $65.00 CAD
Weight: 210g/7oz (size large)
Colors: Hemp, Seal
New for 2013 the Rab Vertex Shorts features the Matrix SWS fabric (see intro). Designed for versatility the Vertex Short is well suited to hiking and trekking but includes some features that optimise it for climbing activity well. These include longer length to avoid scrapes as well as articulated knees and stretchy fabric for ease of movement. A double snap waistband closure will keep you from getting caught with your shorts down.
Other features include: 2 YKK zipped hand warmer pockets and 1 YKK zipped thigh pocket, belt loops, inside leg length 35cm/14inch (L)
Men's Rab Vertex Pants
Price: $90.00 CAD
Weight: 285g/10oz (size large)
Colors: Ebony, Hemp and Seal
New for 2013 the Rab Vertex Pants are constructed using the Matrix SWS fabric (see intro). The light weight, stretch and durability of the Matrix SWS make this pant ideal for climbing and hiking adventures. A hem drawcord can be cinched to reduce catching if you are on wall or boulder. As with the Vertex short the cut, fabric and articulated knees allow freedom of movement. The double snap waistband closure will keep you from getting caught with your pants down. Other features include: 2 YKK zipped hand warmer pockets, 1 YKK zipped thigh pocket, belt loops, different leg lengths available.
Women's Rab Helix Capris
Price: $70.00 CAD
Weight: 185g / 7oz
Colors: Ebony and Whale
New for 2013 the Women's Helix Capri are constructed using the Matrix SWS fabric (see intro), making them super lightweight, quick drying and easy to move in. With 3/4 length and a woman's specific cut the Helix is ideal for climbing and hiking in summer conditions. A double snap waist closure keeps them secure at the waist. Other features include: 2 open hand warmer pockets and 2 open rear pockets, 1 YKK zipped thigh pocket, belt loops, inside leg length 47cm/ 181⁄2inch (size 12)
Women's Rab Helix Pants
Price: $90.00 CAD
Weight: 235g / 8oz (size 12)
Colors: Ebony, Camo, Whale
New for 2013 the Women's Helix Pants are constructed using the Matrix SWS fabric (see intro). Ideally suited to summer hiking as well as climbing activities, the pant is designed to be cool and lightweight with a cut, knee articulation and stretch that allows for ease of movement. Roll-up legs with hidden button closures make these pants adaptable for crossing streams or for added venting on hot days. A double snap waist closure keeps them secure at the waist. Other features include: 2 open hand warmer pockets and 2 open rear pockets, 1 YKK zipped thigh pocket, belt loops, different leg lengths available.
Men's Rab Boreas Pull-On
Price: $95.00 CAD
Weight: 260g / 9oz
Colors: Breaker, Beluga, Burnt Umber
On it's launch in 2011, the Boreas Pull-on was awarded Backpacking Magazine Editor's Choice Award, a good sign of things to come. Two years on and it's a Rab classic. In 2012, Rab enhanced the Boreas with Polygiene® STAY FRESH odour control treatment to keep it smelling fresh on multi-day trips and long wear situations. The slim fitting Boreas Pull-on is designed to offer wind resistance and sun protection (UPF: 50+) without compromising breathability. It's stretch allows for easy movement. An under helmet hood is on hand if the weather picks up making it an ideal mid-layer for warm and cool weather conditions. Other features include: deep venting YKK chest zip, 1 YKK zipped chest stash pocket, flatlock low bulk stretch seams, open cuffs.
Women's Rab Aurora Pull-On
Price: $95.00 CAD
Weight: 240g / 8oz
Colors: Majestic, Fuschia, turquoise, beluga
The Women's version of the Men's Boreas Pull-on the Aurora offers a women's specific fit with the same light weight, stretch, sun (UPF 50+) protection and wind protection. Breathability is not compromised and extra venting can found with the chest zip. Sun and wind protection as well as single concealed pocket for small items and a hood that fits neatly under a helmet makes it ideal for a day on the crag. This year Rab enhanced the Aurora with Polygiene® STAY FRESH odour control treatment for freshness on multi-day trips and long wear situations. Like it's male-specific counterpart the Rab Aurora Pull-on was awarded a coveted Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award on it's launch in 2011. Other features include: 1 YKK conceal® zipped pocket, flatlock low bulk stretch seams, open cuffs.
The Aeon Tee is a feel good lightweight baselayer that I would use all year round as well as a technical tee that I would use for summer acivity. The articulated cut is spot on, that combined with the colors and feel make it flattering and super comfortable. I am looking forward to using this on multi-day summer hiking trips, knowing that it will dry quickly and not smell. Have read other comments online that it holds up well to long-term backpack wear as well, time will tell.
Men's Rab Vertex Shorts, Men's Rab Vertex Pants, Women's Rab Helix Pants, Women's Rab Helix Capris are all construcuted using the Matrix SWS fabric which truly is a summer weight fabric that is comfortable, cool and stretchy. It's high denier weave has me convinced that the pants and shorts will be durable and it's quick drying ability is something I would appreciate on multi-day cragging and hiking trips where I would want to rinse the dust out where I had the chance. Overall both reviewers found the cut to be comfortable and well articulated, though the chrotch on the Women's Rab Helix Capris was on the shorter side of things, especially in camparison to Women's Rab Helix Pants which were a perfect fit. The roll-up legs with hidden button closures on the Women's Rab Helix Pants was a notable feature as were the double snap closures and zip pockets. Our hiking reviewer felt the Men's Rab Vertex Shorts were a little on the long side for him and therefore better suited to climbing activity where the extra knee protection can be appreciated. Over all consistancy in quality and attention to detail is a common theme in all of the pants and shorts.
Men's Rab Boreas Pull-On and Women's Rab Aurora Pull-On are interesting pieces in that I am not sure that everyone would appreciate how versatile they are. I find them both ideal for cragging and hiking though they have proven themselves to be more versatile than that as they could be worn as a mid-layer on ski-touring or glacier trips especially in spring/summer alpine conditions. On snow and ice the high SPF protection would keep you from frying on a bluebird day and it's light weight and breathability wouldn't have you overheating. Wind resistance is offered and will easily clip a breeze but you may want something more in ridge-top winds. For actvities such as running you may find the hood flaps around.
Technical and performance stuff covered the 2013 line-up offers a wide range of bright and neutral colors with attractive contrast zip details on some pieces. The vibrant colors in the tees and pull-ons offer good visibility.
For more reviews of great Rab products check out: Rab Sawtooth Pants, Rab Latok Tour Pants, Rab Exodus Soft Shell Pants, Rab Latok Jacket, Rab Scimitar Soft Shell Pants and Jacket, Rab Alpine Shorts, MeCo 120 Shirt and Orbit Pull-On and finally the Rab Kinetic Jacket and Pants.
The versaility, compactness and visibility of the Aeon Tee and the Aurora and Boreas Pull-Ons. Roll-up legs with hidden button closures on the Women's Rab Helix Pants. The light weight, durability and stretch the Matrx SWS fabric gives the Vertex and Helix Pants and Shorts/Capris. Pants come in different lengths.
The length of the Vertex shorts is not for everyone. The crotch on the Helix Capri is on the shorter side. Some of the lighter colored pants would show the dirt on dusty trails.
Quality / Price 2/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.