The Rab Infinity jacket is around the largest and heaviest jacket we would look to pack within our kit, able to combat the coldest temperatures you will most likely face in the UK. Containing a substantial 250 grams of 800FP R.D.S Certified European Goose Down, with a total weight of 730 grams (size medium), this amounts to a big jacket to be relied on in the harshest conditions providing instant warmth and protection.
Included with the infinity is a stuff sac, packed away it is roughly the size of a summer sleeping bag. When removed from its stuff sac the Infinity lofts extremely quickly and efficiently. Large baffles utilizing a box-wall construction highlights exactly what the Infinity is all about, a big hitting hug of a jacket. Compared to a more common stitch through baffle, the box-wall design lets the large amount of 800FP goose down loft to its full potential. On the outer its appearance would suggest exceptionally large baffles in key areas, which could potentially lead to movement of fill creating unwanted cold spots. It’s reassuring to find that an extra outer layer of fabric overlapping on the chest, arms, and neck, results in stitch less panels for extra protection against wind and rainfall. When inspecting from the inside, Rab have in fact placed fairly uniform, horizontal baffles, with what appears to be a slight increase in size and fill around the upper body and chest. This design choice requires more material which results in a heavier jacket, although aimed at battling against harsh cold conditions those few extra grams are well worth carrying.
The fit we would say is true to size, with a medium fitting perfectly for our guide at 5’8”. Plenty of room in the arms and a slightly extended length to the back. Atmos lightweight ripstop nylon lining makes for a soft inner and an exceptionally comfortable jacket to wear. With just a base layer the baffles are free to loft and hug the body, alternatively with multiple layers the Infinity can be placed directly on top. This helps with those times in which an impromptu stop means that keeping warm without the hassle of removing layers is matched with the ability to quickly lose a layer before travelling on with the next part of the route. The colour choice could be improved as in dark blue it’s not the best choice for winter as an outer layer, a brighter colour would have been preferable.
The hood hasn’t been left out and includes a similar large down fill which is a joy to wear, especially when the weather really takes a turn for the worst. It’s helmet compatible, has a wired peak, and enough adjustment points to create a nice fit.
Pocket space is generous. Two very large hand pockets can easily store a large pair of winter gloves, map and compass, and spare photography equipment. An AquaGuard coil zipped chest pocket offers a bit of extra protection for a handheld gps or phone. Whilst 2 internal mesh pockets can be used to store additional items. All zippers have large pulls which can be easily used whilst wearing large winter gloves, and adjusters around the wrists and waist are un-complicated and easy to use. We especially like the way all the toggles are hidden away free from being jammed with ice.
Rab’s partnership with Gore-tex is highly advertised in the form of Infinium. Down jackets for use in the UK have long been debated in terms of their practicality. Cold damp conditions can hugely reduce the insulating properties of a down jacket, and once wet become very difficult to dry. Rab say of the Infinity to be, “made from soft yet robust Gore-tex Infinium with Windstopper technology, it has minimal seams and protective stitch-free overlays, allowing wind and rain to glance off the breathable outer fabric.”
This is the first time we have used a jacket which features Gore-Tex Infinium. We were quite confused at first as you usually see the Gore-Tex logo and assume it to be a waterproof layer. It’s actually quite the opposite as protection against wind and breathability takes priority, with Gore-Tex claiming, ”The membrane technology in GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER products has billions of pores that are 900 times larger than water vapor molecules, so even though wind can’t get in, moisture from sweat vapor can easily get out.” We can certainly vouch for resistance against high wind speeds as we spent many blustery days high on the Cairngorm plateau. Tuck yourself away in the Infinity and you feel instant protection and warmth, with absolutely no areas in which cold spots were noticeable.
Labelled as a non-waterproof, Rab did mention that rain would glace off the outer fabric. Most modern jackets which don’t claim to be fully waterproof tend to have some ability to mitigate against snow and light rainfall but overtime this tends to diminish. Surprisingly, the Infinity stands up to rainfall very well and has continued to do this over the course of a year. Whilst testing down jackets we always take them out (not too far from home) on a wet day to see how much they can handle before soaking in. We had to take the Infinity out 3 times before we managed to have enough rainfall to take it down. It still cannot be considered a fully waterproof jacket but it certainly performs better than just about any down jacket we have used before which is reassuring for use in a damp cold environment such as the Scottish hills.
Keeping dry on the inside is especially important for when the temperatures start to drop. Breathability is then key to pushing out any unwanted moisture and the most important factor to why Rab have chosen the Infimum for this style of jacket. Whilst spending a particularly cold winter bivvy on The Mamores, we used the Infinity not only as a warming outer for the evening/morning but also as a layer throughout the night. Working around camp the Infinity functioned with the body to keep a perfect balance of warmth without overheating. As a photographer having to get up multiple times throughout the night to capture the night sky, it was pleasant to find the infinity didn’t hold much moisture whilst sleeping. Leaving the comfort of my bivvy at -9, without losing too much warmth made the whole process more manageable.
Where the Infinity does start to falter is when you start to work that bit harder. Although we have no arguments with breathability, we have to say for on the move activities the Infinity is just overkill for use in the UK. Even in the coldest conditions we experienced the moment we would reach steep ground or want to push on a bit faster, we quickly overheated. Opening up the Infinity constantly to dump heat became a laborious task, especially whilst carrying a large backpack. We much preferred to use an alternative layer and have the Infinity stored away for times when we needed it the most.
If you are after a big hitting winter down jacket, then Rab’s Infinity will not disappoint. The Infinity isn’t going to work as part of a layering system but instead provide the protection needed when the temperatures drop, the pace is slow, and you need an extra blanket of warmth. Gore-Tex Infinium offers close to full weather protection, with high wind speeds and breathability taking slight priority over snow and rainfall. At 730 grams, although respectable, is certainly not the lightest or most packable jacket for its warmth rating. Lighter alternatives are available, although we have never used a down jacket in a Scottish winter with as much confidence as we have with the Infinity. The extra panels around the chest and arms and the use of a box wall construction undoubtedly add extra weight, but this attention to detail can only be genuinely appreciated when facing harsh winter conditions. To focus on the task in hand and not your clothing choice, the added bulk and weight is well worth carrying. Pocket space, hood, overall fit, are exactly what we look for in a jacket of this type, with Rab also demonstrating their usual high ethical standards in regards to their choice of goose down and it’s fill power.
Trek Scotland 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...