Used extensively by Cairngorm Treks throughout Autumn and Winter 2017/18 in the Mountainous areas of the Cairngorms and Skye.
When first handling the Rab Infinty G jacket its instantly noticeable just how light this product is when considering it contains a massive 240 grams of 850 fill power down. In a medium size the overall weight of the jacket is 404 grams. This is then not only a very light jacket for its warmth rating, but one of the lightest we have ever used. The outer is made of a noticeably thin Pertex Quantum GL 7d superlight fabric. Its shiny exterior and bright red colour may not be to everyone’s taste but we really like it. It’s bold and noticeable, which for use in winter we welcome. What’s equally noticeable is the tiny Quantum GL stuff sack provided with the jacket, which it packs into with ease! I matched this to my much older and trusty down jacket to compare the weight and size and I can say this is close to half the overall weight (reduction of 312 grams) and packs down to easily a third of the size. When first putting the jacket on it doesn’t have that ‘big’ jacket feel that you would expect and overall movement feels natural and unrestricted. Anyone who has experience with winter walking will appreciate the added bulk and weight of winter equipment can be a bit of a drag. The Infinty G jacket then is a very welcomed piece of equipment with full winter specifications packed into a jacket comparable in size to most summer jackets!
Like with all lightweight products there is usually an area in which a reduction of weight means a loss in functionality. To us we instantly noticed how thin the outer fabric appeared with the down fill being clearly visible inside. The construction of the jacket allows for large baffles in which the down can loft freely. This is an excellent design but also adds caution for the wearer as a rip or tear could result in a large loss of fill. As with all other products the proof is how this performs when put into proper use, and as with other lightweight products the results can often be surprising.
The last things to point out are the two large front pockets that can take a full size map and a smaller inside pocket. This a welcomed addition as workable pockets can often be an area some brands don’t focus attention on, but being a Rab product pocket size and placement is again not an issue. The pockets zip close with large drawstrings so can be easily accessed with gloves on, an important consideration for winter walking. This is the same for the draw-cords at the hem that pull tightly with only one hand needed.
We have experienced a relatively decent winter up to now in Scotland, with plenty of snow and low temperatures perfect for winter walking and camping. Lets just say throughout these trips we used this jacket a lot! What’s not to like about a jacket that feels as comfortable to be stored in the bag as it is to be worn. For such a small pack size it lofts quickly when you need a big warm hug and packs a punch in terms of warmth. I recently used this jacket on a trip with temperatures hitting lows of around -15. Usually I would opt for my tried and tested jacket of old but the Rab Infinity G worked just as well in terms of warmth and was actually much more comfortable to wear. One of the main advantages is the breathability; this is a jacket that keeps you warm when needed but equally regulates body temperature well when pushing hard on a steep climb. The fit is quite tight to the body, which reiterates the point made earlier - that it takes away that ‘big’ jacket feel. Although if you are someone of a slightly larger build a size above may be considered as waist and overall length was on the shorter side.
A surprisingly good feature of the jacket is how well it performs at keeping damp weather away whilst retaining loft and insulation. We gave the Infinity G a soaking beyond where we would usually take a jacket of this type and the results were fantastic. Preventing absorption throughout the majority of the jacket apart from arm joints and rucksack straps where moisture would become trapped. This is testament to the Nikwax fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down which rightfully claims to reduce wetting and improve breathability.
The robustness of the lightweight fabric was something of which was of concern to us on first appearance and although not as fragile as it appears it is noticeable that this is a jacket that requires a bit of care. Although the down fill is visible inside and can appear dark in places, the only noticeable cold spots were from the armpits; an area in which the fill would often be compressed thus taking away its full warmth, and was only noticeable when the arms were raised fully. When walking in the Cairngorms the jacket handled being brushed against the granite rock, snow and ice with little signs of wear but unfortunately on a trip to Skye where scrambling was more frequent a small nick against a sharp piece of rock opened up the jacket which had to be immediately patched with a piece of duct tape. Although I know of nobody who hasn’t had to patch up a down jacket with a bit of tape at some point, we were a bit concerned at how easily it did open. The rest of the scramble we used a shell outer to prevent any more damage to the Infinity G, which obviously meant the breathability was compromised.
Another issue that became apparent was the hood. Although very warm with plenty of fill around the head and neck the addition of some sort of tensioner would be welcomed as in high winds it easy blew out of place. There is a velro adjuster at the back but it had little effect. The added use of a pair of goggles or a shell jacket kept the hood firmly in place but we feel this could be avoided. We would really like to see Rab address this on a future model, as a small fix would make this a near perfect winter jacket. This is not an issue when wearing a helmet but we feel this jacket offers so much more versatility and will more often be worn in areas that helmets are not needed.
Overall this is an outstanding winter jacket. The low weight and pack size means it can be easily stored within a pack ready for when you need it the most. Equally it offers the comfort and breathability needed for a full days use, whilst providing the warmth comparable to jackets usually twice its size. The lighter fabric may be of a concern to some due to its reduced robustness but if counting grams is your choice, then the Rab Infitity G jacket will be a fantastic addition to your winter kit. Rab have once again produced a very good product with great features, it’s just a shame the hood could do with some slight adjustments.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...