By Julie Schoenfeld, a freelance designer and digital marketing expert, and former professional climbing instructor. Julie has worked as the Director of Digital Development of Rock and Ice Magazine before recently switching to a freelance career, while spending her free time sampling the steep limestone of Rifle Canyon Mountain Park.
The Aurora Pull-On is a go-everywhere, always-in-the-pack, security blanket of a jacket that I have grown to love more with each passing season. It’s simple, insanely versatile, really light, and an all-around outstanding layer.
I’ve packed the Aurora on an array of mountain activities: mellow summer hikes, cold weather trail runs, alpine fly-fishing, mountain biking, ski touring, and rock climbing to name a few, and it has never let me down.
Made of Matrix SWS™ softshell fabric, the Aurora is highly-breathable, has 4-way stretch and provides a bit of water repellency, adequate for a light, passing drizzle. The stretchy fabric moved with me, and vented well during high-output activities, but was also adequately warm to wear during lulls such as belaying or enjoying lunch by a lake on warm weather days. In the winter, layered over a baselayer, it stopped cold winds on trail runs and ski tours without getting clammy.
The Aurora is cut with a regular fit that is roomy enough to wear over a baselayer. The loose-fitting sleeves and cuffs are easily rolled up, and the long chest zipper also provides good ventilation. The hood is nice for protection from a brisk wind, harsh sun, or a light drizzle, but doesn’t get in the way when moving fast. A single, low profile, chest pocket keeps small essentials within easy reach without adding bulk. I love the cheerful bright pink color, and the clean lines and simple styling are flattering.
At 227 grams, the Aurora is a featherweight garment, but in my experience it performed better than many heavier softshell jackets. The Matrix SWS™ fabric is treated with Polygiene® Stay Fresh, which is a natural odor control treatment. And, after three days in the backcountry, the Aurora was surprisingly not stinky, a nice change from the usual reek of synthetic layers. Additionally, the fabric is rated with UPF 50+ UV protection, making it a good layer for sun protection as well.
After many miles and adventures, and trips through the washing machine, the Aurora is showing no signs of wear. It’s well-made and the fabric is very durable.
Overall, the Rab Aurora Pull-On packs a lot of functionality into an ultralight package. It has become the one item that I never want to leave behind, and thanks to the odor control treatment, it stays stench-free and fresh for days.