NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies from this website.
I understand
More Info

Could the Kaon be our new go-to active mid-layer? Check out the review to find out more.

rab kaon down jacket
Best for...
Walkers, backpackers skiers and keen travellers looking for the ultimate in lightweight insulation
Overall Score
Zoned insulation works a treat
Face fabrics are too thin for sustained hard use.

Rab are masters of the mid-layer, bringing the Microlight Alpine to the masses and kicking off a trend in outdoor leisure wear that brought Rab, Patagonia and Arc'teryx firmly into the sights of the high street shopper.

But aside from being a surprise hit in the mainstream, Rab make serious quality kit for the 'proper' outdoors. And when we say proper, we really do mean it, with some of the most demanding alpinists using Rab's kit to tame the elements above 4000m.

Their new Kaon jacket is designed for just such demanding alpinists. Despite this, the technology in the jacket is just as relevant to us mere mortals who simply like a damn good walk up some great British hills.

And that's exactly what I did in the Kaon, in typically changeable British winter weather, to get a feel for what this jacket is good for and what it might not be so good for.

First off, this is a premium mid layer filled with 800FP Responsible Down Standard European goose down, in most areas. What we love about this jacket though, unlike the similar Cerium from Arc'teryx, is that it has cleverly zoned layers of differing types of insulation and some with no insulation at all. This ultimately makes the Kaon much more usable for life on the move, whether walking, skiing or climbing.

Toasty goose down is lathered across the torso, back and hood and Stratus synthetic insulation is placed over the shoulders, cuff area and hips. Why? Because synthetic insulation performs better when wet and those are the areas more likely to get wet, whether through sweating or rain.

The down is warm and there's extra weather protection from the snug fitting hood which is insulated with a mix of down and Stratus synthetic and therefore sumptuously warm. There's also a drawcord adjuster at the hem, which incidentally is slightly dropped for better coverage.

This is great as a start, but for backpacking and skiing we always opt for a mid-layer that goes even further. And the Kaon does, losing the insulation under the arms. We'd have preferred to see stretch panels here, but Pertex Quantum Air underarm panels are as breathable as you would want them to be in that most clammy of spots.

Despite being very lightweight at only 250g, the Kaon is still quite strong thanks to Ripstop outer fabrics. These fabrics are still thin though, so the Kaon isn't the jacket for outdoor workwear or similar high wear use, but it can definitely cope with brushing up against the odd stray branch.

Thanks to this lightweight, pared back construction the Kaon jacket also packs impossibly small into the included stuff sack, which is ideal when you're backpacking and don't want to wear the jacket all of the time, or when you're travelling and are tight on space.

In conclusion the Kaon insulated jacket from Rab is our new go-to mid-layer for high tempo activities. The zoning and lightweight construction make it perfect for a range of activities from walking to climbing and skiing, just watch out for those thin face fabrics.


Share on

All our reviews are independent and unbiased. We may earn a commission when you buy from links to Amazon and other affiliates on this page.