In the new Continuum Jacket Rab have managed to increase the amount of down in the jacket by 10g with next to no increase, just 2g, in overall weight which is pretty impressive. The change comes with the loss of the chest pocket but very little else that I can see. The outer fabric is looking a lot shinier which is part of the weight saving development in modern fabric. This not going to be to everyone’s taste but the three colour options still look good in this style to me anyway.
So far, the jacket has been put to test on a multi day backpacking trip in the Lakes, some cold nights watching the football and general day-to-day use. In simple terms it has a really soft feel and this makes it really comfortable to wear and add to this the fact that the down is hydrophobic and you are on to a winner. The hydrophobic down makes a big difference to me as I don’t want to have to worry about the weather changing or trying to get out of a rain shower as quickly as possible. I know from experience that a down jacket is essentially useless once wet and I also know that hydrophobic down does not mean waterproof, it simply gives you a bit more protection from light rain.
The Continuum is definitely the most usable, all round down jacket I have. It has two good sized pockets, elasticated cuffs, an adjustable hem and fully adjustable hood which are all great features. There is also a very good peak to the hood which gives you that added protection from the elements. It comes with a simple stuff sack but if you’re going to be carrying this inside your pack for wearing at camp I would suggest you ditch the Rab stuff sack and get one with compression straps. This jacket does squash down more than the stuff sack would suggest.
The outer material is Pertex Quantum and this allows the weight to stay low while giving you a windproof outer able to retain a lot of heat by allowing the down insulation to loft. With that comes the 148g of 850 fill power down, which in anyone’s book is a decent serving of quality down. This gives you instant warmth when you put the jacket on but you don’t feel like it’s too much and you’ll overheat in a short space of time. When used under a waterproof shell it doesn’t restrict your movement like some of the larger jackets and when worn on its own it provides more warmth and protection than a lot of the super light down jackets.
Overall, I am more than happy with how this jacket has performed so far and am confident it will stand up to the challenges I will be putting it through in the colder months ahead.
When we first received stock of the updated Rab Continuum Jacket I was properly wowed by the weight, pack size, fit and quality. So much so that I actually bought myself one (only for Rab to kindly offer one to test the very next day!)
For 2017, Rab took their already popular Continuum jacket and updated it. How do you go about improving on an already excellent jacket? Well Rab have focussed on key areas where they could either save weight or improve the fit or performance.
The first thing you notice compared to the previous model is the switch from horizontal baffles to multiple small down filled pockets. This should mean that the down stays put and doesn’t migrate along baffles so it should maintain optimum performance.
There are so many down jackets on the market with different qualities and volumes of down, outer fabrics and construction that it can be a bit baffling (excuse the pun). Why should the Continuum a jacket be near the top of your list?
There are plenty of jackets that offer something similar, Rab’s own Microlight Alpine jacket included. Where the Continuum scores, is that in my experience, it offers more warmth than the alternatives but with less weight and a smaller pack size.
If you are looking for a lightweight, packable down jacket that will keep you warm around camp in Spring / Autumn or whilst on the move in considerably colder conditions then it’s absolutely perfect. It uses high quality 850 fill power hydrophobic down encased in the latest Pertex Quantum fabric. As long as you don’t try dragging yourself through thorn bushes, the Quantum fabric seems to strike the balance of durability and weight. The Continuum has seen loads of use since the end of September and it still looks like new.
Some lightweight down jackets make sacrifices to save weight and as a result have very basic hoods with little or no adjustment but pleasingly, Rab have been able still deliver a hood with an effective peak and proper volume adjustment (it will accommodate a climbing helmet but still cinch down nice and tight on a bare head).
I don’t mind shiny fabrics on down jackets, but for those that don’t like this, the Continuum in the colour Ink is relatively matt compared to some other similar weight jackets. My Outdoor Research Filament looks like a black bin liner in comparison. It is however still slippery enough to throw a shell jacket over with no problem at all.
So far, it has been used as a camp jacket on cool Autumn evenings, to throw on during stops, for visits to the pub, when scraping the ice off the car in the morning, watching fireworks on a frosty night etc. It’s so unbelievably comfortable that if it’s a bit chilly then it’s the first thing I grab. It’s so light you hardly notice you’re wearing it apart from the satisfying warmth!
It has been shoved into my pack on every walk I’ve done (it comes with a stuff sack which makes that even easier). It weighs so little and packs so small that my other down jackets have sadly been left on the peg this Winter.
In Summary - The Continuum has a small pack size, making it perfect for carrying in your pack for a cold night in camp or for chilly lunch stops. The smooth but not too shiny fabric makes it easy to pull a shell jacket over the top. On unpacking from its stuff sack the down immediately lofts and you can tell it's going to be really warm and cosy. The hood has better adjustment than most lightweight down jackets with a proper elasticated 3 point system that holds it close to your head. Plus the jacket's smart styling makes it great for going to the pub on a wintery night without looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I really can’t recommend this jacket highly enough, it has ticked every box for me so far and I genuinely can’t think of anything to change apart from perhaps the addition of an inside pocket.