Rab Muztag jacket keeps the wind off your back
Special to the Daily
RAB Muztag e-Vent jacket, $300
Sizes: Men’s small to XL
Weight: 12 ounces (340 grams)
Colors: Black, maya, oxide
Construction: 3-layer e-Vent waterproof fabric (rated to 10,000mm)
Hood: Helmet compatible with wired peak and Velcro tabs
Zippers: YKK Aquaguard with internal storm flap
Pockets: 2, YKK Aquaguard zippered side
To purchase or learn more, see rab.equipment.com/us/.
Want more gear advice from backcountry guru Fritz Sperry? See his latest review on the BCA Link radio system for big-mountain comms.
At the end of this past winter season I got my hands on the Rab Muztag jacket, and from spring to summer, it went with me everywhere. It’s still in my daypack for hiking adventures this fall and I’m looking forward to bringing this lightweight piece with me in the winter for those windy, sunny days in the backcountry.
At just under 12 ounces, it’s the perfect fit for the pack and a key element of the layering puzzle. With the amount of wind we see in our zone, having a windproof shell with you in the field is a requisite for comfort and success — not to mention for keeping you out of the hypothermia zone.
Weight is everything in the backcountry. If you have to carry a piece of gear, it had better be worth its weight on your back, and as an element of the layer puzzle this jacket works well. I usually wear a power tee, a long underwear top, and then either a shell like the Muztag or, if it’s colder, a soft shell. In my pack, I have a Big Agnes 800-fill down jacket for the really cold times. This soft shell isn’t windproof, but it is warm — warmer than the Muztag. When it comes to stopping the wind, though, the Muztag gets it done.
One day in the middle of May our crew was going for a line deep in the backcountry. Near the base of the line it started dumping big, fat snowflakes, and the winds were kicking up, too. I knew if I wore my puffy it would be soaked in a matter of minutes — along with me. I grabbed the Muztag and put it on with my other meager layers. Due to superior breathability I felt dry, even with the high moisture content of the late-spring/early-summer snow. Even the wind didn’t cool me off as the shell was keeping it out. Bottom line: I was comfortable in very challenging conditions.
The jacket has great pocket space, with two zippered pockets on either side of the torso, but since I used it mainly as a shell for protection in wind and weather I usually didn’t need the pocket space. Just be sure to wash the jacket often to maintain the breathability pores — body oils and grime can choke them off.
I highly recommend this jacket for getting it done. At one-third of a pound, you can put it in your pack and not even know it’s there. When the wind makes its inevitable return this fall, winter, spring or summer, you’ll be glad you have it with you.
Fritz Sperry is a skier, author, photographer and artist who has skied extensively in the Colorado backcountry. He’s the author of: “Makingturns in the Tenmile-Mosquito Range,” and “Makingturns in Colorado’s Front Range, Vol. 1,” both available from his company, Giterdun Publishing.
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