The RAB women’s Xenair Alpine quietly gets on with the job whilst less talented characters hog the limelight, says Lucy Wallace.

The RAB women’s Xenair Alpine is understated and functional. If a jacket had a personality, this would be one of those reliable folk that quietly get on with the job whilst less talented characters hog the limelight. It’s hard to find fault with something so well-designed.

The insulation depth varies with zoned areas where the insulation is thinner, making this jacket, warm but also very breathable, and flexible enough for stop-start cold-weather activities. It’s also warm enough to use as a belay jacket, and breathable enough for all-day use in extreme weather.  

The hood is helmet-compatible, with a drawcord at the back so it can be tightened in strong wind. The fit is articulated and generous, with plenty of room for layering clothing, and harnesses underneath. The two-way zips mean that climbing harness access can be maintained at all times.

The cuffs have an elastic V gusset that makes them easier to pull on over big gloves and mitts.  

There are two roomy handwarmer pockets and a reasonable chest pocket. If I was to be really picky, I’d like one of these to be big enough for me to stuff the jacket into, but that really is the only negative point in an otherwise perfect garment. 

Look at how the Rab women’s Xenair Alpine compares to other synthetic jackets in our guide to the best synthetic insulated jackets

BEST BUY: This product has been awarded our ‘Best Buy’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it to be one of the best items of its kind available.