The pursuit of reducing weight has long been at the forefront of trail running kit design. The goal of leaving the unnecessary in the comfort of your home, while you explore endless singletrack and fell, uninhibited by the clothing you wear is a thought many of us will have during our time spent running.
Rab have been making lightweight kit for a long time and though 2020 saw the launch of the Skyline series, there have been entries into the trail/mountain running category in the past. When I started running in the fells in 2008, it was my Rab Latok Apline which accompanied me on many of my runs, given its full mountain features and minimal weight. 12 years on, materials, construction techniques and mindsets have since advanced and if you want a fully featured option from the Alfreton based brand, the Pacer is more up your street. However, if you want to go light, fast and carry a jacket through the summer months/between seasons, where speed and weight are valued beyond outright protection, the Phantom Pull-On could be for you.
£150 – 84 grams (size small) – Worth every penny?
All this talk of mountains has me salivating. Due to the way the world has turned, the last time I was on anything with a descent gain ascent was March. I received the Phantom Pull-On in April and therefore, all my testing has been on low level trails, not that the lowland life hasn’t been full of strong winds that have put the windproof part of the Pull-On to the test.
The first thing to note about the Phantom is its weight. Rab claim 90 grams and my size small (I’m 5ft 6″ and 75kg) weighs in at a minuscule 84 grams, without the stuff sac. 84 grams for a 2.5 layer, fully waterproof jacket is bonkers. Furthermore, 84 grams for a waterproof jacket that isn’t short of features is pretty epic.
In many ways, it feels like a magician or illusionist is deceiving you, as when you hold it out in your hand, your eyes gives it a weight, your hand registers next to nothing, resulting in some form of short circuit leading to a brief form of confusion. It doesn’t matter how many times you pick it up, it doesn’t add up.
In complete contrast to On’s Anorak, the Phantom Pull on is slim fit and leaves very little material to catch in the wind. This is not a jacket to put layers under, unless you’re restricting this to a second baselayer or minimal mid layer. With the stretch of Pertex‘s 7D Shield 2.5 layer fabric, you aren’t confined to the jackets close fitting clasp.
So the Pull-On is super lightweight and hugs your unique contours, making it easily stackable in the supplied stuff sac or the stuffed into your pack/bumbag in which ever manner suits you. But what about features. As stated earlier, the Pull-On isn’t short of features, if anything, it has a surprising number.
Rab has been a brand I’ve long been a fan of their hood design, I’ve owned (yes paid for) a Latok Alpine and Myriad over the years. Despite it’s minimalism, the Phantom Pull-On has a full size hood. Some running waterproof hoods cease at the base of the head, leaving the chin/cheeks/neck exposed when the weather takes a turn.
A one size fits all, with micro elasticated sides reduce the volume and keep it from filling with air. The greatest of all features, a wired peak, gives structure and aids reducing the amount of rain finding its way into your eyes. I often wear a cap under hoods without peaks in order to counter this. As you can see, there is good coverage to prevent wind/rain getting to your chest via neck, allowing you to hide from the elements without having to resort to a buff/neck cover for protection.
At the rear of the jacket, there is a hanging loop for drying after a session in the elements, plus, this doubles up for hood retention via an internal strap with a couple of poppers that allows you to secure the potential mini parachute – (see video).
To help you slip the jacket on, theres a half length YKK zipper, deep enough to allow air to cool you down on warmer days.
The left chest and right forearm have reflective details, with micro elastic on the cuff and waist hem instead of adjustable pullers. The cuffs have preshaped material on the back of the hand, providing greater protection.
The key to the weight saving is the Pertex Shield fabric, a 2.5 layer fabric with a membrane measuring at 20K waterproof and 40K breathable. Despite its almost not there feel on the body, it provides protection from the elements. Yes, if you run through a gorse bush you may be crying at the end, but lets face it, this isn’t the type of jacket you are purchasing with abrasion resistance in mind. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t a thin bag for life, it will hold up to use with running packs and day to day movement across mountain terrain. Running in an S/LAB vest, with two soft flasks and nothing in the back, this does fit over with ease, if you prefer to look like you’ve had the strangest gym gains known to humanity, allowing you to run without the need to stop and delayer before you can move on again.
I’m going to stick my neck on the line and say the Phantom Pull-On is one of the exceptional products I’ve tested over the years. It manages to strike a balance between sheer performance, practically and comfort in a way which my chimp like brain is unable to recall something similar of late. It allows you have run flat out without sweating like a boxer trying to cut weight, protect you in ways a Glastonbury poncho can only dream of, yet provide those home comforts that make wearing a jacket pleasurable, rather than a chore.
Yes the conditions to take it out in may be foul, you may wish you’d stayed under the duvet half way through, but much like that wry smile that creeps across your battered face as the warmth of the log burner makes your skin react like someones rubbed lemon on an open wound, spend a little time looking closer at the Phantom and you see the details that make it an outstanding jacket.
There is no excuse not to carry it in a bum bag or backpack, no need to consider is it worth it. Just do one thing, don’t misplace the stuff sac like I did (sorry RAB!).
To find out more about Rab’s Phantom Pull-On – Click HERE
This is not a paid advertisement or sponsored post. Product provided for free by Rab Equipment for review.