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Gear Review: Rab Baltoro Guide Jacket Softshell

Warm and fuzzy on the inside, durable on the outside.
FGG12SHEL_RAB_BaltoroGuidePro_445x260Rab Baltoro Guide Jacket

[warm and tough]

Climbers who travel in stop-and-go bursts raved about this fleecy softshell, which delivers impressive warmth during belays yet offers enough breathability to avoid overheating on the steeps (in cold temps). “The thick, carpet-like interior does a great job of wicking sweat and feels less clammy than others,” says one tester, who wore it while ski mountaineering in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. Gridded Polartec Power Shield provides low-bulk insulation through the arms and core, while a thinner Power Shield under the arms and on the crown of the hood dissipates excess heat. Fit is trim but not confining, and the long cut offers full weather protection. A high collar shelters the chin and even nose, and the hood is helmet-compatible and delivers a close fit with good visibility. “The cinch cords don’t dangle right at the edge, but emerge from the fabric several inches from the front zipper so they don’t smack my face when it’s windy,” says one wearer. Three chest pockets (two of them big enough to hold a small water bottle) are lined with microfleece mesh to warm hands while also serving as vents; an additional zippered interior pocket holds skins. Velcro tabs on the cuffs and cinchable elastic in the hem keeps snow out. But this toaster isn’t totally windproof: Testers felt the chill of 30-mph gusts. $300; 1 lb. 11 oz. (m’s L); S-XXL; us.rab.uk.com 

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