Rab Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket Review

Our Rab Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket review walks through one of the best cold-weather solutions for hikers, mountaineers, and skiers.

Ann wearing the Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket in Orion Blue
  • Adaptable layer that’s perfect for multiple outdoor sports
  • Filled with PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Active+
  • Fast-drying in damp conditions
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Material prone to pulling
  • Does not have sleeve pockets for skiers
  • Fit: Regular
  • Weight: 488g/17.2oz (Size 10)
  • Centre back length: 71cm / 27.9inch (Size 10)
  • Main Fabric: 20D Pertex® Quantum Air with fluorocarbon-free DWR (47gsm [2cfm])
  • Insulation: 133gsm PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Active+ (55% Recycled Content) 

Rab Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket Review

Rab’s Xenair Alpine range offers one of the best insulation solutions for climbers, skiers, and mountaineers. 

The brand kindly sent us their prized jacket to put to the test – this article will review its performance after four months of use in the great outdoors.

The Xenair is a highly adaptable jacket that’s perfect for stop-start activities in cold weather conditions. It’s easy to count on both warmth and breathability when wearing this – something we’ve struggled to find when testing cheaper insulating layers.

Adventure Pending editor Ann has taken the Xenair on numerous hikes in the Peak District, a week-long tour of the Austrian Alps, and even on a ski trip to Bulgaria – so it’s safe to say this warm layer has been put through its paces.

For reference, Ann is wearing the women’s Orion Blue colourway in a size 12. Let’s get into our Rab Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket review.

Ann wearing the Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket in Orion Blue


If you’ve ever tried a Xenair in-store, you’ll already be familiar with the feel of this jacket. Much like wearing a duvet, this soft and cushy layer provides instant warmth and comfort to the wearer. Unlike wearing a duvet, you can also enjoy impressive breathability and weather protection.

Most of this is down to the Xenair’s body-mapped PrimaLoft® Gold. This synthetic insulation has been carefully positioned through the front, back, arms and hood of the jacket to effectively regulate the wearer’s temperature. This works to retain heat in all the right places, whilst still leaving your body room to breathe through the sides.

Hood adjustment cord on the back of the jacket

This insulation system works particularly well when skiing – the jacket was effective up to around five degrees Celsius with just a base layer underneath, and there’s plenty of room to layer up if the temperature drops further.

Heat regulation does suffer a little more on high-energy pursuits like hiking. You may feel a little stuffy ascending in this jacket, which is where Rab’s YKK® two-way zipper comes in handy. Unzip from the bottom to give your torso a little air when needed, whilst still retaining some heat for the summit. This feature also works well if you need to use a harness. 

Orange pull cord adjustment on the hem of the jacket


This insulated jacket has four concealed-zip pockets to safely stow your belongings. The two hand pockets are perfect for gloves and snacks, while the two chest pockets are great for holding phones, ski passes, and money. 

Sleeve pockets would make a fantastic addition for skiers. In testing, our ski passes worked 90% of the time through the jacket’s chest pockets. Storage in the sleeve area would ensure a 100% satisfaction rate here – no fumbling around for your pass at a moment’s notice. 

The hood on the Xenair is helmet compatible and adjustable at the back. Elasticated openings at either side of the face can also be used to find your perfect fit. Every elasticated feature on this coat uses large, grippy adjusters that are easy to use when wearing gloves or mittens.

Chest pocket on the Xenair with orange lining

Materials and sustainability

The Xenair is built with 20D Pertex® Quantum Air and coated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR. 

In fewer technical terms, this tells us the main outer layer has been engineered with a wind resistant yet permeable fabric. Our testing backs this up completely, though we have noticed problems with the durability of this layer. 

Even with careful use, a couple of small pulls have appeared on the jacket over time. Personally, we think this is a sign of well-loved adventure gear. But if you prefer your outerwear to always look pristine, this is something you may wish to consider. 

Rab’s Durable Water Repellent finish is far better for the environment than PFAS. These so-called ‘forever chemicals’ are now being phased out of use across the outdoor industry, with Rab at the forefront of the movement. Make sure to regularly wash and reproof your DWR-coated gear to keep it in the best condition.

We should also note that while the Xenair is fast-drying and weather-resistant, it isn’t designed to be waterproof. Like most insulated layers, it’s recommended to pair this jacket with a good raincoat in wet conditions. However, should you find yourself in a downpour without an extra layer of protection, the Xenair’s fast-drying abilities mean you won’t need to worry.

Rab logo

Final thoughts

It’s rare to find a jacket as versatile and ready for adventure as Rab’s Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket. If you’re planning a cold-weather adventure this year, we couldn’t recommend this warm and comfortable layer any more.

Ann wearing the Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket in Orion Blue

How we tested the Rab Xenair Jacket

Any outdoor gear received for review must be thoroughly tested before a verdict is published. That’s why you should know that Adventure Pending’s editor, Ann, spent four months putting this jacket through its paces. In fact, we delayed the publishing of this article to put the coat through one last ski trip – just to be sure of its performance.

Ann has tested the Xenair’s insulating abilities in the freezing temperatures of the Austrian Alps. The jacket’s breathability was checked on steep climbs in the UK’s Peak District, and its adaptability was challenged on Bulgarian ski slopes. If you’d like to know more about how Adventure Pending tests and reviews gear, feel free to contact us – info@adventurepending.com.

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Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket

FAQ: Rab Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket

Have a question about this Rab insulated jacket? We’ve answered a few of the most popular queries below.

Yes. The Rab Xenair Alpine Insulated Jacket is available in men’s sizes S to XXL, and women’s sizes 8 to 16.

The Xenair has a fantastic DWR coating that helps to keep wet weather at bay, but this is not a completely waterproof layer. In wet weather, it’s recommended to pair this jacket with a good raincoat.

Yes. The women’s Xenair is available in Orion Blue, Green Slate, and Deep Ink. The male equivalent is available in Marmalade, Light Khaki, and Ebony/Footprint.

We’ve found the Xenair to be a fantastic fit for skiers. The jacket’s body mapped insulation is perfect for keeping the wearer warm on the summits but temperature-regulated on the slopes.

If you have any questions about this jacket or how it was tested, please feel free to drop me an email – ann@adventurepending.com.

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