Rab Cirrus Pull-on – long term test

by backpackingbongos

I have to admit that for years I really could not see the point in buying and wearing a windproof jacket.  If it is cold, put on another layer.  If it is windy, pop on your waterproof jacket.  What’s the point in carrying an extra garment?

In the spring I brought the very lightweight Rab Demand pull-on Event waterproof for summer use.  I was amazed at its breathability and how lightweight it was but I also worried at how durable it would be when worn day in day out under a backpacking sack.  I thought that I would give a lightweight windproof a go, a layer to pull on without having to resort to a full waterproof.  It did a bit of research and liked the look of the Cirrus.

I have since found myself wearing this jacket on every single trip since I purchased it.

This jacket is light, very light.  It weighs in at an incredible 76 grammes according to Rab.  I have to admit to not having popped it on my scales as simply picking it up confirms to me that it is light.  It came with a stuff sack that was so tiny that I lost it inside my tent one night.  It will probably be in some pocket somewhere or inside a sock.  The pull-on is made from Pertex Quantum which is fully windproof and not too rustly, I’m not too keen on wearing items that resemble crisp packets.  It is a nice slim fit with a scooped back to cover up the backside.  I don’t like tight clothing so went for the large size, I can therefore fit a couple of base layers on underneath.

The sleeves are a simple elasticated affair and long enough that they don’t ride up (or too long that they flap about).  There are no pockets which is no real hardship although I did find that a little odd to start with.  I always prefer smocks to full jackets as they somehow feels less bulky.  The zip on the Cirrus is nice and long for venting and to make it easier to get on and off.  Finally there is an elastic drawcord at the hem and one on the collar, the collar itself being double thickness.

So, how has it been on the hill?  Its first outing was a day walk in the Galloway hills.  It was dry and sunny but with a keen breeze.  On the tops it was not quite warm enough to just wear a t-shirt but not cool enough to wear a proper jacket, the Cirrus filled the gap perfectly.  It is a fine jacket to wear on those breezy summer days and it wicks the sweat away no problem.  I was still wearing it last weekend on high level walks in the Lake District.  On a sunny day but with a cold breeze it kept me comfortable with just a couple of baselayers underneath.  However on the second day when it got colder and windier the breeze simply whistled through.  My Paramo came to the rescue and it was easy enough to simply pull that on over the Cirrus.

Sadly the thin fabric is now showing a fair bit of wear and tear on the lower back.  Abrasion from my pack has caused the fabric to feel all rough and in one place has worn right through.  In fact to be honest the whole jacket is a bit stiffer and ‘crunchier’ than it was when brand new.  This may be down to the fact that it gets a wash after every time I wear it which most other jackets do not.  I gets bunged in with my smelly outdoor kit after a trip and then dries in minutes.

A great bit of kit but if you wear it every time you head for the hills don’t expect it to last forever.


9 Comments to “Rab Cirrus Pull-on – long term test”

  1. Windproof tops rock. I have several and want some more. Simply put they are a must have on a backpack. That one looks a good buy.

  2. James, looks a good bit of gear. I never go walking without my Montane Lite Speed. Look like this is even lighter than the LiteSpeed !

  3. A good review, thanks! I like windproof layers, but like you said, if they are thin and light, they do wear out quite quickly.

  4. I too love my Lite Speed. I didn’t think much of windshirts until I got a Lite Speed but it is a great piece of kit – you’re right though, they don’t last forever but nor are they ridiculously expensive either. You could easily get a new one every 2-3 years depending on how much you used it. I tend to take my Haglöfs LIM Ozone instead if it’s raining so I do not use it all the time – consequently, it’ll last a bit longer. I tend to stuff it in the front mesh pocket of the Gorilla and it’s easily accessible if I need it quickly. It does a realistic job of shrugging off rain – not a great deal but enough if you think it’s only going to shower, the Lite Speed will do a good job. Pertex Microlight is slightly different to Quantum – Microlight is softer and probably more wind/water resistant but Quantum is lighter. Both are amazing fabrics and with the new Quantum GL – sheesh! It’s sexy stuff.

  5. It was a very good buy Martin and something that will always be in my rucksack seeing as it is so light.

    I just looked at the Lite speed mark and it looks like the Cirrus is half the weight, no hood though.

    Thanks Maria, the windshirt is wearing out but I think that there is lots of life left in it yet.

    Maz, do you find yourself going into gear shops just to stroke technical fabrics? The cirrus is not that good in light showers as the fabric is so thin that moisture soon soaks through. No hardship to throw a lightweight waterproof over the top though.

  6. I don’t go in JUST to stroke technical fabrics but it is a deeply unwelcome addiction that there is apparently no treatment for. No – I go in there as I cannot get out into the hills as much as I would like at the moment. There is a certain unquantifiable enjoyment from surrounding yourself with kit, though…

    • As far as addictions go it is probably one of the less harmful ones Maz. Although it does mean that wallets can take a battering……

  7. James, what backpack are you using? Much as I love my OMM classic pack, the rough material of the back panel eats pertex for breakfast and has done for my Rab VR jacket (more bobbles on it than a Rambling Association annual AGM walk).

    I have my litespeed and the addition of the hood whilst useful is not essential. That Rab top looks great and wouldnt look out of place mooching down to the pub in

    • Dave my backpacking rucksack is a ULA Catalyst, now looking at it the back pad is rather rough and would contribute to the Cirrus bobbling. It is a great jacket and good for mooching as well as for the outdoors.

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