Staff review: Rab spark jacket
Adam Newman from Snow+Rock Romford puts the lightweight and waterproof Rab Spark Jacket through its paces in the valleys and peaks of Snowdonia.
The jacket is incredibly light at around 300g (large). It has two Napoleon pockets. You can conveniently pack the jacket into the left one of these (pictured above), which is great to just throw into a daypack and save space. The hood is helmet-compatible with a wired peak, allowing you to shape the hood for a better fit and better vision. The face fabric is soft and stretchy, which makes the jacket ‘climber friendly’ (along with the Napoleon pockets and adjustable hood). The stretch material is also a plus, making movement so easy.
As someone who gets hot very easily, I was looking forward to seeing just how breathable it would be. The breathability really did impress me. I felt extremely comfortable – not once did I overheat. I had it on originally just over a fleece and then swapped the fleece for a Primaloft jacket as we got higher. It still felt just as comfortable and protective.
The jacket utilises Pertex Shield+ with YKK AquaGuard zips to keep the water out. It was a dry day, so the only waterproof test it got was when I slipped on a patch of ice and landed in the snow! Having previously used the Rab Volt Jacket (which also uses Pertex Shield+), I can vouch that it has kept me dry through some long, heavy downpours and beads incredibly well.
What did surprise me was how well the Spark Jacket blocked some extremely high, cold winds. Although I felt a slight bit on the summit, the jacket really kept the Snowdon wind out, which impressed me for something so lightweight.
Overall, I was extremely impressed. Breathability in waterproof jackets can be an issue, but I believe that Rab have produced a product which will keeps the over-heaters of this world happy in the great outdoors. It stood up to every test. For alpine adventures, I would probably use something a bit more robust with a harder face fabric, but for all other activities, from walking the dog to going up Snowdon, the Rab Spark is breathable, packable, stylish and at what I consider to be at a reasonable price.