Because I like and use the Atom LT so much and the Mtn Hardware Compressor before it I am always on the look out for first rate lightly insulated (60g) climbing jackets.
The Xenon first came to my attention and a few of my pals a couple of seasons ago. I was pretty stoked...right up till I had a chance to try one on and found the side pockets had no zippers. What was RAB thinking on that one? I actually discussed that with one of the RAB reps earlier this fall. I just figured someone made a huge mistake on that order to China.
But nope no zippers was intentional first time around to save weight. Clearly stopped me and a couple of my friends from buying the Xenon though.
This year the Xenon does have zippers on the pockets, thankfully. Makes them so they don't fill up with snow and you can actually store something in them with no worry of loosing what ever that happens to be.
The RAB party line:
"The Xenon Jacket is a super lightweight synthetic insulated jacket with a very light outer fabric.
The Xenon Synthetic insulated jacket is the culmination of several years hard work with fabric and synthetic insulation suppliers. We have taken Primaloft® synthetic fill and wrapped it up in the lightest Pertex® Quantum® GL 10 Denier fabric that is currently available.
You get a full length garment with a full length YKK zip, 2 hand warmer pockets and a chest pocket and all for just 340g/12oz!!! The whole jacket packs into its own chest pocket and is ideal as a superlight belay or over layer jacket, to be carried in a pack or clipped to a harness.
Ideal for Alpine Climbing, Mountain Marathon,Mountain Walking, Trek and travel and any fast and light activities. What more could you want?"
Sizes: S - XXL
Weight: 330g / 12oz
◦Pertex® Quantum® GL 10D ultra light rip stop nylon outer and lining
◦Light 60g Primaloft® One in body, sleeves and hood
◦Lycra bound hood fits snugly under a helmet.
◦1-way YKK front zip with internal insulated zip baffle and chin guard
◦2 YKK zipped hand warmer pockets and 1 YKK zipped chest pocket
◦Double exit hem drawcord
◦Packs away into chest pocket
I am obviously not doing any climbing right now. But I am using the Xenon almost every day. I really like this jacket. One of my projects has been to figure out where in my climbing clothing system I can use this one.
It would be a LOT easier if the hood fit over a helmet. It doesn't. Typically that would "kill" any climbing jacket for my ow use. But the new Xenon (with pocket zips) is good enough that I have been looking for places to use this jacket. Here are the reasons I want to use this jacket. First off the materials used, Primaloft One and Pertex® Quantum® make it a lwt package that is hard to ignore. The nice detailing, zipper baffle, corner zipper reinforcements, and the fleece chin guard you notice. Even the hood has a slick little retaining strap for when it is not in use. The XL size is more like a comfy US large than a XL and it actually fits me very well after the chemo diet. It might be the only jacket in the house that does come to think about it!
If I am not using the hood I don' want it full of snow...the hood retainer strap is a nice detail.
The Xenon tucked into it's own chest pocket with a loop for clipping it to your harness. My XL (call it a roomy US large) weighs in at full 11.8OZ! For once the "stuff" pocket is over size for the jacket and easily goes into this one. The jacket would go into a smaller (more durable) stuff sack if the bulk is a concern on the harness. Though you are on your own for that.
I may not get the winter use I had planned for the Xenon without a hood that will go over my helmet. But this will certainly be the jacket I throw in the pack for the rest of the year as required. Yep, at under 12oz. I like it, a lot. Really, who actually gives an honest garment weight these days..BRAVO, on that one RAB!
I like it enough that if they made the hood big enough to go over a helmet and kept the zippers on the side pockets I'd buy one of those too :) After all how much weight is a bigger hood really going to add?
Here is a buying tip....if you find this jacket on sale via the Internet...make sure the version you are getting has the side pocket zips if you require them.