Time tested 18 months
The Rab Generator Smock is an incredibly versatile piece of kit, which Ive used over the past 18 months to fill a range of uses.
The jacket features Primaloft insulation which is lightweight, warm, packable and isnt affected by water like down insulation is. Rab have used Pertex Quantum fabric for the shell, which is similarly lightweight, and is constructed with rip-stop properties. Whilst not totally windproof, the pertex quantum material cuts out most of the wind, and with the excellent Primaloft insulation, the jacket becomes a very good 3 season outer layer, assuming its not raining. The long zip means that the jacket opens up easily, and can be pulled over a bike helmet with no problems. A hand warming pouch at the front of the jacket provides shelter for chilly hands, although hands are separated by a sheet of fabric. The chest pocket is deep enough for an OS map and easily accessible.
Thanks to its ability to be pulled over a helmet, this jacket has spent a fair bit of time stuffed into trail packs, ready to be taken out during rest stops at the top of climbs, and even, when required, left on for cooler descents.
Im a big fan of layering, and as such Ive an un-insulated ski jacket. The Rab Generator Smock provided fantastic insulation for the ski season, often just matched with a warm base-layer underneath. Even in -20 degree temperatures, I never felt too cold. Inevitably when skiing, moisture does collect in certain areas, the arms especially. Other than the long zip, there is no other venting on this jacket.
Rab havent designed the Generator Smock as a wet weather jacket, so it would seem unfair to dwell on its wet weather performance. Not that this would be a particular problem, however. Without a waterproof shell, the Pertex Quantum offers a small degree of water resistance, with short showers not posing much of a problem. Longer spells of rain, or heavy downpours would leave you wet though. This is where the Primaloft has its benefit over down insulations, as it continues to perform well when wet, and doesnt clump up beneficial for when it is drying out.
Aesthetically the jacket could be a little better. I personally like the Pertex Quantum fabric its smooth and shiny, and has a very nylon-y rustle about it (ok, Im not selling it, I know!). However, Ive certainly heard people talk about my bin bag jacket. The front pouch-like pocket also seems to bulge out a bit, making me look somewhat chubbier than I really am!
In reality though, this is just nit-picking. I guess my only other concern is the jackets sense of fragility. The jacket weighs in at 330 grams (medium), which is fairly light thanks in part to its 30g/m2 Pertex Quantum fabric. The durability of this fabric is always in the back of my mind as I sit on, or brush against rocks. On forums and the like I have also heard mumblings of a fall in build quality of Rab kit recently. This may well be hearsay however, and despite my concern, the jacket has held up very well. Ive not suffered any tears in the fabric, no loose threads hanging anywhere, the elasticated drawstring at the waist has performed perfectly with no stretching and the zips still zip very well.
Overall, this is one of my favourite pieces of kit. Its versatility and warmth mean I use it almost daily (except in the summer!). I would definitely recommend this piece to anyone looking for a good autumn/winter/spring insulating or outer layer.
Photos by Haute Productions.