Stacy Wren has worked all over Colorado and the Pacific Northwest teaching skiing, mountaineering, and backpacking for the past five years. She is a new Customer Service and Operations Associate at Outdoor Prolink, and she teaches skiing at Arapahoe Basin on the weekends. All photos by Doug Liedle Instagram: @dougliedle
I know that there are people out there who like a lighter, streamlined, less ‘puffy’ jacket. The Rab Women’s Neutrino Endurance is not that.
In the dead of winter, I don’t want something streamlined. I want plenty of down surrounding my body, a jacket that zips halfway up my face so that I can bury my nose in it when the wind is making my eyes water, and a burly hood that covers pretty much everything else.
I first purchased the Neutrino Endurance over two years ago, at the beginning of my first ski season in Crested Butte, Colorado. I had one of those streamlined, ultralight puffies, and it lasted a week. I caved and ordered this jacket, and never looked back. When I put the Neutrino Endurance on, it’s like enveloping my body in a giant fluffy quilt that just happens to have sleeves. It’s like a backcountry snuggie, but actually flattering. And when it’s cold enough outside to put the hood up, my head is inside its own personal cave of warmth.
The Neutrino Endurance is advertised as a technical, high-alpine mountaineering jacket. It is definitely that and lives in my pack throughout the winter on every backcountry mission, and it even makes appearances in the summer, anytime I’m on a glacier. It’s light and compressible enough to stash in a backpack without regrets, and it’s warm enough to know that if something happens, and I’m stuck, not moving, for several hours, I will not die of hypothermia.
It is also fantastic as everyday wear, especially in ski towns. Last winter, I lived in a house with no heat (yes, they do exist), and I wore this jacket literally every waking moment. It did not disappoint.
In terms of fit and sizing, this jacket is very flattering and true to size. Down jackets are so hard for women – they often look boxy, or they’re cut for Barbie hips, and really, neither of those look good on most people. The feminine shape here is subtle, but effective. It has a longer cut than most down jackets, and –added plus!– it covers my butt when I wear leggings.
The Neutrino is also extremely durable. I’ve worn it every day of winter for the past two years, and it is still in great shape. The outer fabric, Pertex Endurance, is pretty burly. It’s not thick, but it is a little stiffer than a lot of other down jackets. It is also water-repellent, and has only wetted out once, after I missed the bus and walked over a mile in a downpour to get home. The inside of the jacket is lined with Pertex Quantum fabric, which I love. The fabric’s next-to-skin comfort is unrivaled, in my opinion. It is always soft, wicking, and can withstand abuse.
I only have a couple of grievances with the Neutrino. 1) It spits out down from the two major back seams. After the first season, I got tired of this, so I applied a water-based seam sealer to the two offending seams, and that took care of the problem. 2) Weight — 21oz is not light, and sometimes it feels like I am making a small sacrifice to bring this along in the backcountry. However, it’s not heavy either, and at the end of the day, the extra 10oz or so are not going to kill me, and, in fact, might even save me.
A few other things that I love about this jacket: 1) It has large fleece-lined hand pockets that can hold my phone, keys, and 12oz travel coffee mug. 2) The hood has an awesome adjustable wired visor that will stay rigid, even on those nasty, snow-blowing-sideways kind of mornings. 3) The drawcord hem is great for dialing in the fit. 4) There are cinches at the sleeves that are nice for sealing over gloves on bitterly cold days.
This jacket totally sold me on Rab. I barreled through two other down jackets before this one, and they did not hold up in quality, durability, or consistency. I will wear this jacket until it dies (God forbid), and if/when it does meet its end, I will buy another one without hesitation. This jacket is a winner.