Generating Serious Heat
Written by: Bryan Wolf
Outside of arctic sub zero situations there are few of us that want to wear a bulky marshmallow puff jacket in everyday use. Even in the backcountry, warmth can be achieved without high bulk; the Generator, despite its slim size, can pack a dependable punch in holding in your precious temperature. I’m now entering my third winter with my Rab Generator Jacket and through backcountry use and everyday wear I have found the perfect all purpose jacket.
In an urban setting I like something that looks clean and is free of lines or eye popping style. The Generator has little stitching on the face and since it has a Primaloft fill it doesn’t need a lot of baffling to keep the insulating fill in place. I’ll get to the technical uses of this jacket but what was immediately important to me was its usefulness keeping me warm everyday. We all know know a Cincinnati winter isn’t the worst that can be thrown our way but it does get cold and can be unpredictable. This jacket was my winter jacket. With sweaters, long sleeve wool tops, sweatshirts, cotton waffles, or hoodies I could layer up with what ever style I needed and be warm enough for all my Christmas parties, festivals, walks in the park, or runs to the grocery store. I know that my time waiting for my car to warm up is less painful and I couldn’t be more comfortable. With an everyday or urban jacket you want to feel good walking out the door but also walking in the door. This is a tech jacket that looks less like a tech jacket.
Now what about outside the treacherous winter of Cincinnati? Well if you are looking at this piece as a active outdoors man/woman than you’ll like it even more. This jacket has been to the tops of several peaks in Maine with snow sticking to my face, and traveled with me to the Alaskan wild. The jacket has 100 grams of Primaloft ONE in the body and 60 grams in the sleeves. That is almost twice as much fill in the body as other major brands. Primaloft ONE is the lightest weight synthetic fill on the market, and it is also the most resilient toward getting wet. That means that when it gets wet, you’ll stay warmer. The jacket packs to the size of a softball and better yet does so in it’s own chest pocket (stuffed up it can be your camp or airlines pillow). Who has time for a separate stuff sack or who has the room for a big heavy jacket on top of your already cumbersome backpack? When it comes to synthetic winter wear, Primaloft is the only way to go.
When on the trail the only way to really keep warm and dry is with an adequate layer system. This jacket as a stand alone piece could come up short if your looking to stay warm at the top of your favorite peak, but you’ve already lost the war if that is what your plan is. An active piece means that you are on the go, constantly moving and most likely changing in elevations and with it temperatures. If you haven’t already learned this, your ability to add and subtract layers as you move is crucial to your comfort. The Generator is a flexible fitting, quick throw on piece that is going to hold your heat in fast and stuff back in your pack even faster.
Feature wise the jacket has tight elastic wrist cuffs to keep the temperature in. For the same reason they add a drawcord at the waist to block off one more exit for your life force. The jacket is cut a little longer too to protect heat loss from your lower back. The neck comes up to the chin but not past (this is nice for those urban events so you don’t have a big goofy tech collar). The zipper is covered and lined at the top to be soft on the chin if it rubs. There are three pockets, one on the chest (the stuff sack) and two hand warming pockets. The insulation is on the inside next to the body when using the pockets. It would be nice if the fill was split between the top and bottom of the hand pockets to hold more hand warmth but that would add some lines and some dollars I presume.
The entire jacket is warm and sleek, and is also a good guard against mother nature. The Pertex outer material seems to be impossible to snag and has a DWR finish as well. DWR is the water repellent finish put on the material. This kind of thing needs rejuvenated every so often but when light snow or rain hit I’ve stayed dry much longer than I ever thought I would, and thanks to the Primaloft I didn’t notice a difference in my warmth either (synthetic fibers retain heat when wet). This has to be the single most complimented feature in our store too; I’ve had several Generator users amazed at the protection it provided from wind and rain. (This does not replace a shell however)
Altogether it takes a beating from mother nature, from Cincy streets, and from the shove and go backpack life all to keep me happily warm. My name is Bryan Wolf, I am a gear junkie and outdoor enthusiast, and this is my favorite piece of gear! You can pick up the Rab Generator and other top notch Rab gear at Roads Rivers and Trails in downtown Milford, OH.