Rab alpha direct jacket

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  • Rab alpha direct jacket
  • karnali
    Member

    Does anyone use the Rab alpha direct for riding or general outdoor stuff and keeping warm. How do you find it if you do, looking to warm but more breathable option than a primaloft type jacket
    Thanks

    Premier Icon andeh
    Subscriber

    I don’t have one, but Mrs Andeh does. I would have thought it’d be too warm for riding, as it’s quite fuzzy on the inside. If it’s very cold (but dry) I’ll layer up with a Vapour Rise jacket on the outside.

    Wife does really like it though, it probably gets the most use out of her masses of coats. More suitable for less physical outdoorsy stuff.

    geomickb
    Member

    Yeah, I have one. I sometimes use it as a mid-layer under a shell when weather is horrible. Yes, seems very breathable. Hard to tell how much insulation it is providing. Use it a lot for general bimbling around.

    Bit worried that the outer is a bit fragile. Not sure how different it is to a Buffalo product.

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    Polartec Alpha isn’t really that warm compared with something like primaloft, unless it’s got a shell

    Primaloft is also more compressible, they’re different products. Alpha is better on the move, primaloft better for static use. They both have their place (and I have and use both)

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Too warm for riding for me, brilliant for general cold condotions hill and mountain walking and mountaineering use. Very breathable, handles moisture well so you don’t cool down fast when you stop. Not as outright warm as a big PrimaLoft jacket, but it’s not really meant to be. Less warm than full-on Buffalo, lighter, far less bulk and better cut. You can stick it in a pack if you need to – try that with a Buffalo.

    I use a Rab VapourRise Alpine for riding – cheaper alternative is the Rab Morphosis, which does a similar job – but for cold, active use I’ve started layering it over a DHB Polartec Alpha gilet, which is a lighter grade of Alpha, so not as warm and also leaves your arms free. It’s more of a road piece, but also works well on the mountain bike.

    If you’re dead rich, Norrona does a bike-specific Alpha jacket complete with zip-off sleeves, which uses lighter grade Alpha 60 – the Rab one is Alpha 120 – which would probably work well in really cold conditions on the bike:

    https://www.norrona.com/en-GB/products/fjora/fjora-convertible-alpha60-jacket-men/?color=2295

    Outdoor Research Ascendant again is a lighter Alpha and was available as a hoody, jacket and gilet, but no longer made although still out there. Works great as a sort of mid-layer on steroids, but not nearly as warm as the Alpha Direct.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Bit worried that the outer is a bit fragile

    I had a Patagonia jacket of very similar construction – the outer layer looked very shabby very quickly – texture changes where the inner and outer layers seemed to partially delaminate from each other that looked like dirty marks. In its new state the material was very finely textured – looked a little bit like fine crepe paper but where the fabric had been under strain that fine texture stretched out and looked darker –  like a grease stain.

    It got relegated to workshop-jacket very quickly where it would be grubby most of the time anyway but even in that context looked a bit shit.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Bit worried that the outer is a bit fragile

    Yep, it’s not super tough and doesn’t play well with sharp things and rocks. Oddly the VR Alpine has proved to be surprisingly durable. Some surface bobbling under pack contact areas, but otherwise has managed just fine. I try not to crash lots though.

    The fabric on my Alpha Direct has been fine bar a small tear from catching it on a sharp thing. The missus has one as well and neither of them has done anything odd. The fabric’s a very wind resistant, but not 100% windproof Pertex, which breathes well, but needs an extra layer in really strong, penetrating wind.

    lotto
    Member

    The Direct is how Rab have elected to use Polartec Alpha material. It is the grid/waffle type material on the inside. It was originally developed for American Special Forces operations. The theory behind it is that on the move it keeps you neither hot nor cold. Just right. It wicks the moisture away to prevent chilling.  When stopped it is expected to provide a degree of insulation via the hot air it has trapped. Various manufacturers use it in different concepts of jacket/smocks. Broadly speaking  the weight of the material differs. More weight, (100g per metre square V’s 45g per metre square)  better insulation but less wicking. It all depends on your choose activity and if you are a hot or cold person that determines what is best suited for you.

    geomickb
    Member

    @BadlyWiredDog I think you mean Alpkit Morposis

    Random thoughts on my Alpha Direct:

    It’s definitely warmer and more breathable and more windproof than my Rab VR Alpine.
    I see VR as an outer layer and the Alpha Direct can be used as mid or worn on it’s own.
    It’s much more breathable than a standard VR jacket.

    “More suitable for less physical outdoorsy stuff.” I completely disagree with this. It is designed to be active insulation.

    Mick

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I think you mean Alpkit Morposis

    Yep. Sorry about that, it’s exactly what I meant 🙂

    It’s also worth stressing that different people work at different temperatures, so even though many people including me will find an Alpha Direct too warm on the bike in normal winter temperatures, if you’re someone who runs cool and tends to ride steady, it might work.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    The Direct is how Rab have elected to use Polartec Alpha material. It is the grid/waffle type material on the inside.

    They’ve got a few different iterations of Alpha including a couple of dedicated mid-layer tops and the Alpha Flux, which is lined Alpha with stretch fleece side-panels, which makes it a bit chilly in the ‘wrong’ wind.

    I’ll shut up now. I think Alpha, particularly the fluffy, direct stuff, is brilliant for active, cold weather use off the bike though and the DHB gilet is ace on it.

    Premier Icon endoverend
    Subscriber

    I have this jacket. I might use it on the bike if it was a few degrees above zero in the valleys dry and maybe -5 on the tops – but haven’t used it in this way as the sort of winters we’re getting now seem to mild sloppy PermaDreich and it would be a bit too warm. For me, although the jacket is ideal for winter hill walking, the cut is not quite perfect on the bike – be warned, if you own a set of shoulders and a moderate to big set of guns then the arms are very tight even sized up.

    geomickb
    Member

    I did expect the Alpha Direct to be too warm for MTBing (I do run hot) but on Saturday around Whinlatter I wore it under a proper shell (Rab Neoshell I think) and was pretty amazed how comfortable I was. It was pretty windy/cold and wet.

    I will try it again but I do think that it is too nice for MTBing! I prefer to wear old/grubby cheap kit for biking and this is my “best” jacket 🙂

    I would like to try a Morphosis but I don’t think I can justify yet another jacket!

    Mick

    footflaps
    Member

    Alpha Direct is way too warm for cycling, designed as a winter walking jacket. I could ride (in winter) in a VR jacket (Vapourise), the insulation in that is quite thin. The VR is my most used walking jacket for the high fells. Only used the Alpha Direct mid winter when it’s near zero (or below) on the fells.

    IHN
    Member

    I’ve got an Alpha Direct that I bought off here (possibly from BWD, or that might be the Rab shell I’ve got…). For general bumbling around it’s great, not tried riding in it but I bet it’s too warm.

    One thing though is the roughish lining can catch on whatever you’re wearing underneath which can be a bit of a pain when you’re putting it on, especially in the sleeves. This is particularly the case if you’re wearing a roughish layer underneath, like wool.

    dovebiker
    Member

    I tried one on the other week – great as an outdoors jacket for walking etc, but IMO would be far too warm for typical UK active wear use. Far more breathable than Primaloft though.

    I have a number of Polartec Alpha garments, I really like it for active wear for the way that it keeps you warm even when wet. It was the perfect insulator for a 5-days in the arctic winter at -27C – all I needed was a base layer, alpha gilet mid layer and a windproof XC ski jacket. I’d be riding / pushing for 16 hours a day and amazed to find how dry my base layer was at the end of the day – I could tell by the amount of white frosting on my jacket.

    I also have an Inov8 alpha running top, with Pertex outer – that would be far more suitable as a biking top. I got caught in a heavy shower the other week for about 15 minutes and was amazed how I was still warm and dry.

    Premier Icon Clink
    Subscriber

    Anyone tried the ME Switch vest or jacket?

    Premier Icon bforbertie
    Subscriber

    Just bought one in Cotswold Sale online, was a little anxious it would be too warm when I got it, but was out first time Yesterday, Sunny, and cold (+4 deg), trickiest conditions for clothing with extremes of temperature. Wore a summer base layer with it, and it was amazing, bone dry on return, though was sweating on climbs, breathes brilliantly, and large pockets work as vents too. Never cold either.. Bought it with Strathpuffer in mind, and its definitely for cold (near zero) temperatures but a lovely jacket and I’ll wear it alot in winter, or hillwalking Spring/ Autumn.

    Premier Icon bforbertie
    Subscriber

    (A Rab Alpha Direct that is, not the ME Switch)

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    If you are looking for a silly cheap bike specific Alpha jacket then Evans are doing these:

    https://www.evanscycles.com/sugoi-rsealpha-bke-jacket-sn99-EV375016

    Got mine last week and did a mixed road/offroad ride in 4 to 6 degrees (according to my Garmin). Was absolutely perfect with a merino LS base layer underneath. Has a very basic DWR coating but would be no good in anything heavier than a light shower.

    Bargain though!

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    I’ve got one of these, it’s my go to jacket for generally being outside and moving through autumn and winter. Perfect balance of warmth, breathability and water resistance for our cool damp climate IME.

    It would need to be mega cold for me to wear it biking though, other than just a short ride or maybe coaching/guiding with standing about time.

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