Featured as part of Rab's new Skyline range the Pacer Jacket was built to be a very lightweight and compact option for fast movement in mountain environments. At 240 grams it certainly fits the brief and packing small into its included stuff sac it is almost unnoticeable amongst our pack.
Aimed more so at mountain running and ultra-marathons, we take a slightly different approach to the hills and used the Pacer for activities such as mountain biking, packrafting, fast-paced mountain walking/scrambling in the North West Highlands including the summit of Cul Mor, the Mullardoch round, and trekking the Affric Kintail Way. In mixed weather conditions we looked to shave off grams where possible whilst still needing a jacket fit for high mountain purpose. Although the Pacer is low in weight it certainly isn’t lacking in features.
Using a Gore-Tex Active 3 layer highly breathable 13D nylon face the Pacer feels much more like a ‘proper’ waterproof, rather than ultralight jackets we have used in the past which act more as a windbreak with limited protection when the showers start becoming frequent and heavy.
The material is thin, but this is always going to be an offset with such a light jacket. Spending much of its time in our pack we found the Pacer to have a good balance between durability and weight, although an element of care is needed. A semi-elasticated hood with stiffened peak is a simple design but works surprisingly well and kept a decent hold even when the winds picked up on the high ridgelines. There is just enough room in the hood to fit over a cap or beanie without becoming tight and restricting movement. YKK Vislon AquaGuard zippers complete what can be regarded as a very decent waterproof jacket which was comfortable to wear for short bursts of heavy rain or prolonged persistent lighter rainfall.
Breathability is always going to be the key element to any jacket which is intended for fast paced activities. Open underarm ventilation allowed us to keep a steady airflow when working hard and is much preferred to an underarm zipper which would have added extra weight. The thin Gore-Tex Active 13D fabric kept us relatively free from a moisture build up, although in warmer conditions we did need to open up the front zipper to better control body warmth. As with a lot of jackets the lower arms were an area in which moisture found it hard to escape, and after a full day in the hills it is best to quickly air out the Pacer before packing away.
For wind protection it’s ideal. With the extended back and fully adjustable hem you can really tuck yourself away from a cold chill, and as we mentioned before the hood stays in place even in quite blustery conditions.
A runner’s physique is definitely more what the Pacer is aimed towards, although we managed to fit underneath a thin thermal layer if needed. Length in the arms were just about long enough for our taller guide although a size up will be an advantage to anyone taller than 5’11’’. The elasticated cuffs fit snuggly around a thin pair of gloves, although we would have preferred a slightly wider opening as it became a struggle if we wanted to pull them up over our forearm.
The Pacer has only one chest pocket which we found plenty for a few items like map or gloves etc. This might not be enough for some activities but fits the brief for a jacket of this style.
As an ultra lightweight jacket for high paced activities the Rab Pacer fits the brief perfectly. It packs away almost unnoticed and when ready for use, is well fitting and comfortable to wear. The Gore-Tex Active 13D fabric is quite delicate but offers full protection against persistent rainfall and high wind speeds, making it a great choice for journeys in which you want to cover a lot of distance on varying terrains. Breathability is good, with the open underarm ventilation keeping a steady airflow, although do expect some moisture building up around the lower arms and back when working hard. The colour we received in Acid is bright and bold which is very much what we look for when travelling quickly with a reduced kit. The reflective strips are also a great addition when travelling as a small group in low light conditions.
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...