Extensively tested and reviewed by Cairngorm Treks throughout late summer to winter 2018/19 in the Cairngorms and surrounding mountainous areas.

Rab state the Xenon to be a superlight and packable insulated mitt and this certainly seems true when unpacking them. These are seriously small, almost fooling us into thinking we had been sent the wrong item until we pulled them out of the small bag to reveal a full-size pair of mitts.

The outer shell is made up of two distinct materials. The first being a Pertex Quantum fabric which uses a tightly woven structure to provide a very comfortable material that allows insulation to loft whilst also protecting from wind and light precipitation. Add to this a PU palm providing added strength and grip. Internally 40G/m2 of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation provides a layer of warmth finished with a soft microfleece lining next to the skin.

We received the mitts in a large size that weighed a mere 64grams! Fitting nicely into the Pertex Quantum stuff sac that was included, the small pack size means they can be placed in an easy to access pocket in your pack or clothing. Once worn there is plenty of room inside to move fingers and they offer great dexterity when handling walking poles or working with pieces if kit around camp.

For such a low weight they certainly don’t lack in providing needed warmth. The Xenon mitts are an item we found to be used sporadically throughout the day, with a very low bulk and almost instant loft they can relied upon to provide protection against wind, light rainfall and snow. The PrimaLoft Gold insulation is the flagship of PrimaLoft fibres and the star to what makes the Xenon mitt an instant favourite with our guides. Being a mitt, without individual fingers, they can be quickly put on and with their small pack size just as easily stored away to be relied upon when needed. Add to this great breathability and comfort, they were a prefect addition to have as part of our kit for most occasions.

Although we find the Xenon to be better suited for 3 season activities, we still pack them as part of our kit for winter, paired up with a thinner pair of liner gloves the Xenon mitt offered extra warmth whilst walking but can be easily removed to allow us to use our hands for tasks including photography and pitching a tent/shelter.

There are a few issues with the Xenon mitt, some of which we believe are just with the nature of such a small and light product but also a couple which could be designed differently. The first being quite an obvious one with the fabrics in use. They are certainly not going to see out days of heavy use without wearing out quickly. They are very delicate so an element of care is needed to keep the Xenon in good condition. Also, not being fully waterproof they do eventually allow water to soak in, and once saturated don’t dry out very quickly, so keep that in mind on particularly wet days to pack along a fully waterproof glove/mitt. Lastly, we found although the mitts do have an elasticated cuff, they do feel a bit loose when worn so the addition of a pull cord, or Velcro strap would be welcome.

Our Verdict

Sometimes you come along a product which instantly becomes a must have part of your kit for all adventures. The Rab Xenon Mitt has certainly become one of those items with our guides. An essential part of our kit to be relied upon when needed, whether being a quick and easy hand warmer or paired up with a thin pair of gloves to add an extra layer of protection. Miniscule in size and weight and can be stored almost unnoticeably in a pocket of your jacket/backpack is one of the reasons we have become such fans of the Rab Xenon. To keep the weight and bulk to a minimum they are quite delicate in build. More of a quick and easy solution rather than an all-day wearing mitt.

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...

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