When you're out cycling, walking fast, or indeed climbing a waterproof jacket can be an absolute nightmare, especially in hot, humid summer showers where the jacket gets clammy and you start sweating almost immediately.
Rab have set their sights squarely on solving this problem with the Zenith, using Gore Tex's extremely breathable Paclite Plus material along with two massive pit zips and mesh lined chest pockets for venting. These things combined make the Zenith an ideal waterproof jacket for when you know you're going to be going, and not just sauntering.
The lightweight material means this isn't a heavy use jacket though, it's best used as a three-season waterproof for passing storms and showers. That dictates that the weight needs to be low and the pack size needs to be small. At 330g it ticks the lightweight box but there are much lighter waterproof jackets out there. The pack size is ok but not groundbreaking, at about the size of a 750ml sports cap water bottle. Having said all that, when you consider the combination of comfort, features and performance all the stats stack up.
For slim to athletic body shapes the cut is spot on. Layering underneath the Zenith jacket is comfortable, we pair it with Rab's Kaon insulation layer and you still get plenty of room to manoeuvre underneath.
The helmet compatible hood is excellent with or without a lid, you feel well protected from the elements with it raised with only a small slither of your face exposed and comfort and peripheral vision are both still great. Coverage continues over the bum and hands with a dropped hem and tapered cuffs so you can cycle wearing the Zenith without exposing too much skin.
The chest pockets are harness compatible which means they also clear hiking backpack straps and hipbelts. We do miss having hand pockets on the Zenith but if you usually wear a backpack with a hipbelt then chest pockets are a better option anyway.
At around £250 the Zenith isn't cheap, but it provides reasonable value for what it offers. It stands out as an extremely comfortable, versatile waterproof jacket that is lightweight, packable and very breathable, making it a great buy for a multi-sports person who likes to move fast.
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