Model: Rab Strata Vest
“It’s like a thermostat that auto-adjusts to my needs,” says one tester who wore the Strata on a January rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike, where temps swung from 35°F to 50°F. When you’re working hard in cold (down to 10°F), the Polartec Alpha insulation releases heat through thousands of channels but also traps air to prevent rapid cool-down once you stop.
The trim yet unrestricting cut fit everyone: It drapes slightly over the shoulders, and elastic hugs the arms to seal out drafts. The generous hem extended below the hips even on our tall testers.
The polyester mesh lining sustained a few snags when the vest was airing out on a tree branch.
It’s an excellent layering piece for highly active, cool- and cold-weather hiking. (The jacket version won our Editors’ Choice Snow Award in 2013.)
$160; 11 oz.; rab.uk.com