Occasionally, some gear arrives which you just ‘click’ with. The Xenon Pull-On is, for me, one of those pieces of kit that gets put on in November and doesn’t come off for months. It’s simple, but fabulously effective.
I’ve been wearing it almost every day as an outer layer, and occasionally as a mid-layer, during activities from hill-walking through to working in an unheated office. It’s a warm, windproof and drizzle-friendly pull-on which has some badass combinations of materials going on.
The outer material is Pertex’s Quantum, which is a super, super-fine and silky like a high-end sleeping bag. It’s so tightly woven that it’s windproof and even a gale won’t cut through and chill you. The zipper has a nice baffle behind it, so when it’s zipped up to a fairly high and snug neckline, draughts won’t find a way in to your skin.
One thing to note is that Quantum, and the Xenon Pull-On aren’t waterproof, even though it may look like it to the untrained eye. You will eventually get wet in anything harder than a gentle drizzle which you can’t make evaporate off, but that isn’t such a problem if you plan well. In fact, Rab have embraced that fact and teamed the Quantum fabric up with a synthetic insulation called Primaloft One, which will keep its insulation properties even when it’s wet. I can vouch for this because I’ve been soaked many, many times while wearing the Xenon and never gotten too cold.
Oh, and when you do get soaked, it dries out nice and quickly on a radiator.
In terms of breathability, it’s OK. You will build up a sweat quite easily, but it can be regulated by opening the zipper, releasing the waist and pulling up the sleeves a bit.
You can read some techy specs on Primaloft’s own site, here, but it boils down to the fact that Primaloft One is the warmest insulation you can get for the weight.
Combined with the Quantum fabric, the Xenon’s lightweight fill brings it in to a mere 375g, which is the same as my iPhone and Wallet. Pretty skinny.
The sleeves of the Xenon are sealed by as simple but effective elastic cuff, and the waist has a drawcord to seal out the wind if you need to.
And lastly, the chest pocket, which feels quite generously big in use, folds out and acts as a stuff bag for the jacket. When stuffed, the Xenon makes an awesome camping pillow!
At £120, it’s pricey. But seriously, I’ve worn it every day for over 2 months and it has been a superb jack-of-all-trades. Worth every penny in my view.