Gripped’s editor spent a few days this winter trying RAB’s Xenon X Hoodie and Torque Pants on sport climbs and in the mountains.
To many Canadians, RAB is not the most common outdoor brand name, but they have been a top European company for over 20 years. It all started when Rab Carrington was on an expedition to Patagonia in 1973.
His gear was late to arrive, so he stayed busy working for Hector Vieytes sewing sleeping bags. Rab climbed new routes in Yosemite, Patagonia, Peru, Scotland, Nepal and many other places before settling down in the U.K. in the 1980s and starting his company.
In February, I took the new-for-2016 revised Torque Pants out for a few days of sport climbing, trail running and even ice climbing. While they are designed for summer alpine and multi-pitch rock routes, these are my go-to all-round pants even when temps are hovering around freezing.
As my fingers froze to the rock, the rest of me was toasty. That also has something to do with the RAB Xenon X Hoodie I was sporting (more on that below). The new Torque Pants are over 20 grams lighter than the old model. The slim fit is great for moving around with crampons on. On one cold day, I wore a thin baselayer beneath the pants and it had no effect on the Torque. The reinforced knee proved itself useful more than once. The zippered leg closure allowed me to wear my alpine boots with no issues. These are one of the best mountain pants on the market.
The Xenon X Hoodie proved to be everything promised and more. While it is not advertised as a technical rock climbing layer, I wore it on technical climbs because February is cold, and it performed great. The only issue on the rock was because the sleeves are a little baggy, I would catch the cuffs on sharp limestone, but they never ripped.
I have taken the Xenon up mountains around Canmore a number of times. Once I was out of the warmth of the trees, I put on the Xenon and I can’t stress how plush the jacket felt every time. In high winds and light precipitation, I was warm and dry and when the sun came out, the Xenon dried quickly. It packs down small, has three big zippered pockets, the hood fits over my helmet and the new kiwi colour looks great in the hills.
In conclusion, RAB is rad and their products are made for climbers. I spend most of my summer climbing in the alpine and as soon as the 2016 season kicks off, I will be introducing the Torque and Xenon to my favourite early season routes.
Click on the Instagram video to watch the footage:
Technical specs for Xenon X Hoodie: Weight: 385g (large) / Pertex® Quantum inner and outer fabrics / PrimaLoft® Gold insulation (60g/m², 2oz) / Over or under-helmet hood, Lycra® bound / YKK front zip, internal insulated baffle, chin guard / 2 YKK zipped hand pockets / 1 YKK zipped chest pocket, doubles as an integrated stuff sack / Elasticated cuffs, hem drawcord / Fit: Slim / SKU: QIN-60 / More info here.
Technical specs for Torque Pants: Weight: 335g/12oz / *Matrix DWS™ fabric with lighter weight articulation zones / Matrix SWS™ reinforcement on knee and instep / Wicking elasticated waistband with low bulk shockcord adjustment / YKK® zipped fly opening / 2 YKK® zipped hand warmer pockets / 1 YKK® zipped rear pocket / YKK® zipped expanding leg closure / Knee articulation / *Webbing loops at hem for under boot cord attachment / 50+ UPF (25+ on knee and instep) / Fit: Slim / SKU: QFT-55 / More info here.