Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Gear Review: Rab PS Hardface Hoody

I decided to write this review based on the number of times this jacket has made its way out of the wardrobe this winter. Once again, another sale purchase earlier in the year, this jacket has fulfilled the criteria of being technically very functional whilst also being very wearable off the hills as well.
The Rab PS Hardface Hoody
So, what is it? To put it simply, it's a fleece, but you get some extra features for your hard earned cash. Firstly, its made from the popular Polartec Power Stretch fabric, a warm, stretchy fabric that has become a mainstay of the outdoors industry. It stretches in four directions (imagine a compass face) which make it a comfortable fabric for base and mid-layers. The elastic fibres that provide that stretch are reinforced to ensure it retains its shape during its lifetime.

It also benefits from having an additional treatment to the face of the fabric, Polartec's Hardface technology. This is a method for fusing a polymer to the surface of Polartec's fleece fabric. This polymer creates a hard, smooth yet flexible surface that reduces friction between layers and creates a much more durable surface. It also improves the durable water repellency while maintaining the breathability of the original fleece fabric.

Technical stuff out of the way, let's look closer at the actual jacket itself:
Front and side views of the PS Hoody
Features: 
  • Polartec Power Stretch fabric with Hardface Technology
  • Adjustable hood
  • Hem drawcord
  • Double fabric cuff
  • Flatlock seams
  • YKK front zip
  • Two zipped hand pockets 
The fit is really nice, close but not restrictive or overly tight. Slim fitting garments help to trap more of that lovely warm air that is generated as you move around. Too loose and that precious heat is lost as the top billows around. The slim cut and the smooth face of the fabric mean that this layers effortlessly beneath waterproofs and softshells.

The Hood
As with most mid-layer hoods, this one is designed to go over your head like a beanie, rather than being sized to go over a helmet. This one, thanks to its adjusters, can be cinched in when the weather turns really cold and provides a much needed boost of warmth.
The jacket's hood
Details
There are two handwarmers pockets for, well, warming you hands and the zips run nice and smoothly, if that's how you like your zips.

The double fabric cuffs are really nice and should add some extra durability around the hard-wearing areas. Unlike a lot of Rab jackets, the arms on this one aren't overly long which is a nice change.
Double fabric cuff
Hem adjusters allow you to seal out any nasty draughts though the close fit no doubt makes them almost redundant.

In Action
As I mentioned at the start, I've worn this jacket a lot this winter, usually layered beneath a softshell where it provides some awesome warmth without things getting too hot. They say the sign of a great piece of clothing is one that you don't notice is there and I think this falls into that category. I had been thinking there had been a lull in gear from Rab but this piece and some of 2016's spring items certainly have me interested again and if you're considering some new mid-layer warmth then I'd recommend giving this a go.
The PS Hardface Hoody doing its job on Scafell Pike