In October this year I packed the Rab Women's Infinity Down Jacket for an 18-day trek in the Everest region of Nepal. The plan was to go to 6000m and to carry our own gear so I was looking for a jacket that would keep my body warm at altitude whilst packing light and small. Here's the rundown on Rab's Infinity Down Jacket and how it performed.
If you haven't heard about Rab, it's likely because they are fairly new to the North American gear scene but don't let that deceive you, Rab have been manufacturing outdoor gear since the 1981. At that time, the founder and mountaineer Rab Carrington used his mountain experience to develop fine down sleeping bags and expedition weight parkas. Rab has expanded since then and now offer a wide range of down and synthetic jackets and pants, as well as base layer and mid-weight fleeces and other accessories.
Throughout the years Rab have forged some key relationships with fabric and down suppliers. Working closely with these suppliers they have been able to combine what they tout as "the best quality European Down" they have ever used with an ultra-lightweight Pertex® Quantum® GL 10D outer and lining.
The best quality European Down ...
The Infinity Down Jacket uses 180g (for size 12) of 850 fill power superior quality European white goose down. What does this mean? The quality of down is measured by loft and insulating efficiency. The greater the fill power number the more fine clusters of down there are which gives more loft to trap more heat thereby optimizing the heat to weight ratio. A higher rating also means the jacket is more compressible. Using premium quality (European) down ensures the down will be resistant to long-term compression.
Pertex® Quantum® GL 10D
The recent Pertex Quantum GL 10D is the lightest fabric Pertex has created to date. It uses the finest yarns with maximum thread count. The extremely high thread count makes the fabric downproof and windproof. The fabric also uses a unique interlock ripstop weave which optimises strength to weight ratio.
Women’s specific cut and styling
Stitch-through baffle construction
Down-filled hood with lycra edging
Two fleece-lined zip pockets and one interior pocket.
Internal insulated zip baffle on the front zip with a chin guard
Glove compatible zip-toggles
Double exit hem drawcord
Handy stuff sac
It is evident that the Infinity jacket has over 30 years of design and manufacturing experience behind it and an understanding that using premium quality materials will result in a superior product. In this case the Pertex Quantum GL fabric and 850+ premium goose down are combined with attention to detail and style. Together these key ingredients shave off an incredible amount of weight and bulk compared to other down jackets of this size and warmth.
So far, the Infinity has been completely downproof, after three months I am yet to see a fluff of down appear despite the amount I have packed and unpacked it. This is thanks to Pertex Quantum GL fabric which is slick, soft and comfortable, not plasticky or noisy. The long-term durability of the Pertex Quantum GL fabric on high-wear areas such as the elasticized wrist and waist band does remain in question. In the past, I have had a down jacket wear completely in these areas and according to Pertex, abrasion resistance in the Quantum GL is not comparable with standard 44 decitex fabrics. One improvement on the jacket could be to use a more durable material on these high-wear areas where abrasion might become an issue after a few years of use.
That said, I love Rab's Infinity Down jacket—it's a keeper. The quality of the down is evident in the jacket's lightness and puffiness (loft) and the resulting incredible warmth. It was the perfect companion on bitterly cold Himalayan nights during our trek to Gokyo Lakes, Lobuche Peak East (6000m) and Everest Base Camp. Best of all it is feather-light to carry and didn't take up any precious room in my pack (which we needed for camping and climbing gear). There is a peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the right gear packed for any situation. These days, the Infinity remains on call in my pack when I am ski touring, it may be overkill for some day hikes but doesn't weigh or pack much more than a down sweater and is there if I need it when I stop for lunch on a frigid day or in an emergency.
Did I mention it looks good?
For more reviews of great Rab products try one of these: 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.
Weight: 14oz / 395g
Colours: Ink, Violet, Dark Shark
Superior quality materials and design. Downproof. Super lightweight for it's warmth and highly compressible. Handy stuff sack. Flattering cut. Violet rocks.
Not sure about long-term durability of Pertex Quantum GL fabric on high-wear areas such as the elasticized wrist and waist band—time will tell. Pockets only fleece lined on one side.
Quality / Price 1.5/2
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.