Even the most breathable membrane is less breathable than no membrane at all. So Rab designers have used a middle-way approach here, putting waterproof, seam-taped Polartec NeoShell in the most critical areas that need protection—the hood, shoulders, and upper sleeves—and a water-resistant, highly breathable polyester in the torso and back.
The result, says one tester, is ideal for high-effort pursuits in wet snow and drizzle, when you want one lightweight jacket that you can keep on all day. “I wore it while trekking on Italy’s Mt. Baldo in pea-soup conditions, and didn’t get wet from the outside or overheat inside,” he says. He also used it while snowboarding, and says the hem never rode up, thanks to long, articulated sleeves that allow for ample twisting and reaching. But while it’s more protective than a conventional softshell, the torso will eventually wet out in an extended downpour.