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Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $235 List | $152.72 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, compressible, lightweight, weather resistant
Cons:  Lacks comfort features, not breathable
Bottom line:  A compressible jacket that is warm and lightweight, perfect for any adventurer requiring a technical, high performing insulated jacket.
Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 
Weight (ounces):  10.65 oz
Relative Compression (1 = most compressible, 10 = least compressible):  2
Insulation:  60 g/m2 2oz PrimaLoft Gold Active
Manufacturer:   Rab

Our Verdict

Crushing the competition once again, the Rab Xenon X Hoodie took home our Editors' Choice award for the fourth year in a row! With a delicate balance of performance features that keep you warm in frigid to mild conditions, this jacket stands out for its unique balance of weather resistance, warmth, and lightweight design. Featuring a Pertex Quantum outer shell and inner liner, this full-zip continuous shell hoodie will keep you warm without weighing you down. As one of the most compressible jackets in this review, we are happy to recommend this for use with pretty much endeavor. This super versatile jacket will have you hiking to the tops of mountains or tackling the very bottom of canyons.

While we love the Xenon X Hoodie as both a mid and stand-alone layer, but it's not a breathable jacket. So avoid it for those early morning runs or super sweaty cross-country ski sessions. Though, you're in luck because there are plenty of breathable options out there. Our top recommendation is Patagonia Nano Air Hoody, our Top Pick for Breathability. On the other hand, if you're looking for a jacket that's a little less techie, and more for a stylish romp around town, don't miss our Best Buy award winner, the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush.

Here are a few of the noted changed in this jacket from last year's model:
  • Rab eliminated the soft collar linings that once brought us joy.
  • The outer breast pocket that we once loved has been eliminated.
  • The zipper is much more durable and the fit is a little tighter than before.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Amber King

Last Updated:
Friday
March 9, 2018

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We chose the Rab Xenon X Hoodie as our Editors' Choice Award winner primarily because of its qualities as a technical jacket. We like its durable construction and water resistant fabric. Also, it seriously feels like you're wearing a sleeping bag when you put it on… instant warmth and satisfaction.

Performance Comparison


The Xenon X Hoodie is our Editors' Choice Award winner for the third year in a row! It strikes a fine balance between compressibility  weather resistance  and warmth. It also hosts a wide variety of comfort features that will make any adventure comfortable and convenient.
The Xenon X Hoodie is our Editors' Choice Award winner for the third year in a row! It strikes a fine balance between compressibility, weather resistance, and warmth. It also hosts a wide variety of comfort features that will make any adventure comfortable and convenient.

Warmth


Loaded with 60g/m2 of top-of-the-line, fluffy PrimaLoft Gold insulation and a lightweight Pertex Quantum shell, this insulated jacket has one of the best warmth-to-weight/compressibility ratios of all the jackets in this review. With its elastic cuffs and hemline drawcord, this jacket seals in heat, but still leaves you feeling agile and mobile. The hood fits well under and over a helmet to keep your ears warm and cozy; however, there were no adjustable cinches around the hood to ensure a perfect seal. Like all jackets in this review, the hydrophobic insulation keeps you warm even if they jacket gets soaked. It scores an eight out of ten in the warmth metric.


Although synthetic insulated jackets are never as fluffy or warm as down jackets, we were impressed by the Xenon X's loft. Sliding on this jacket is like slipping into a wonderfully comfortable sleeping bag. While this jacket is relatively warm, it's not the warmest in this review. If you'd prefer a little more insulation, the the Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody, our Top Pick for Winter recreation, features 90 g/m2 of continuous Coreloft insulation. If you're willing to sacrifice a little warmth for breathability, we'd recommend the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody.

The double pull-cords lock in warmth in addition to the continuous face fabric.
The double pull-cords lock in warmth in addition to the continuous face fabric.

Weight & Compression


As one of the most lightweight and compressible insulated jackets in this review, it is recommended for a variety of adventures. The Quantum Pertex shell and lining is nice and thin with little to no bulk; the super lofty insulation also holds lots of air, compressing to a similar size as the lightweight Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody.


Although this jacket does not compress down as small as our Top Pick for Lightweight adventures, the Patagonia Micro Puff, the Xenon X Hoodie, is much cozier and still doesn't take up much room in your pack. At only 302 grams, it's the second lightest jacket in this review. With the elimination of several comfort features, it's lighter than it's ever been. Clip it to your harness, stuff it in a pack, and take it on your next big adventure.

The Xenon X is very compressible  packing into its own pocket. In addition  it has a carabiner clip that can easily be attached to a harness or backpack.
The Xenon X is very compressible, packing into its own pocket. In addition, it has a carabiner clip that can easily be attached to a harness or backpack.

Comfort & Coziness


While the Xenon X once received top marks in this category, this year it falls shorter than normal. While pulling it on feels like you're wearing the most comfortable sleeping bag you've ever crawled into, it doesn't have the fleece-lined chin guard that we would snuggle deep down into. This has been replaced with the same shell material found on the outer shell. The outer breast pocket we loved on the former model is also no more.


We still adore the helmet-compatible hood and the big roomy hand warmer pockets. There is also still a breast pocket, but it's on the inside of the coat providing a stow-away large enough for the iPhone 8 and other items.

This jacket is super lofty and features two hand-warming pockets (with no fleece lining). The breast pocket is on the interior of the jacket.
This jacket is super lofty and features two hand-warming pockets (with no fleece lining). The breast pocket is on the interior of the jacket.

If you're looking for a jacket with more comfort features, there are others that reign king. Our Best Buy award winner, the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush features a fur-lined hood coupled with deep pockets and a smooth, lofty interior liner; while this is not a technical jacket, it sure is comfortable. The OR Women's Ascendant Hoody features a fleece-lined interior and super mobile face fabric. The Ascendant is relatively unique as no other jacket had these fancy comfort features that we love! The Ascendant is also a more technical jacket.

Our Editors' Choice winner features a helmet-compatible hood that provides ample coverage. Consider the features you need or want before buying.
Our Editors' Choice winner features a helmet-compatible hood that provides ample coverage. Consider the features you need or want before buying.

Weather Resistance


Unlike some of its competitors, this jacket has a continuous outer shell, which protects better against both water and wind. Of all the insulated jackets, it did the best in this metric, along with the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush, scoring a nine out of ten.


Jackets with quilted stitching can allow water to seep in, but the continuous Pertex Quantum shell on the Xenon (which is coated with a DWR finish) beads light rain quite well. In a heavier, consistent rain, this jacket will not keep you dry; however, thanks to its high loft synthetic insulation, it does dry quickly and still maintains a high percentage of its warmth while wet. Moreover, the fluffy insulation tends to trap more water before it seeps through and gets you wet.

A look at the water-resistant fabrics of the Xenon X. Our shower tests proved that this fabric  and the Columbia Mighty Lite Plush  were the best when it comes to water resistance. That said  neither are waterproof.
A look at the water-resistant fabrics of the Xenon X. Our shower tests proved that this fabric, and the Columbia Mighty Lite Plush, were the best when it comes to water resistance. That said, neither are waterproof.

A continuous shell is also useful in windy conditions. After wearing quilted jackets during our wind resistance tests, then putting on this piece, we immediately felt the heat come back into our core. It is also more wind resistant (and warmer) than jackets with breathable fabric inserts under the armpits like the Arc'teryx Atom LT. In addition to shedding water, the Pertex Quantum fabric also keeps out the wind.

Breathability


While this award-winner provides fantastic warmth and weather resistance, its trade-off is breathability. If you're looking for a jacket to take on a run - this is not the best choice. The Pertex Quantum shell does a better job at retaining heat than it does losing it. Even when trying to open pockets to act as vents, this garment has a tough time losing heat.


If you're looking for a jacket to take with you on highly aerobic missions like backcountry skiing or winter running, check out more breathable jacket options like our Top Pick for Breathability - the Patagonia Nano Air or the OR Women's Ascendant Hoody instead. Both feature a mobile face fabric that loses excess heat more readily than the Rab Xenon X. The OR Women's Ascendant is a little thinner, while the Patagonia Nano Air provides better weather protection.

Style & Fit


While this technical competitor isn't necessarily stylish, it was flattering for some of our testers, but not all of them. In general, the jacket has a pretty straight shape with a boxy design. The sleeves and torso are plenty long for testers of all sizes, and many of our curvier testers liked this better than more fitted jackets like the Patagonia Nano Air. It scores a five out of ten in this category because of its more technical style and lack-luster stylings.


If you're in the market for a more stylish technical jacket, the Arc'teryx Atom LT provides a more slim-fit design with two-tone fabric style that is slimming and hides away bumps and lumps. It has a longer fit that accommodates all testers, though the torso isn't as long as the Rab. Or if you don't care for a technical jacket, the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush is another excellent option with many cute features that are both flattering and stylish. The Columbia is a very different jacket then the Rab providing a flattering shape with a longer torso and arms.

A look at the fit and style of the Xenon X. We loved the longer design that accommodates both long and short women.
A look at the fit and style of the Xenon X. We loved the longer design that accommodates both long and short women.

The new Rab Xenon X isn't quite as roomy as past models, giving it a more fitted shape than it had in the past.

Best Applications


This jacket earned our Editors' Choice Award because it earned high marks across all our metrics except breathability and style. It's a pretty versatile jacket, ready to perform during adventurous backcountry activities and awesome for cruising around town on a chilly day. Used as either a mid or outer layer, the Xenon is ideal for any outdoor excursion. Take it alpine rock climbing or mountaineering, as well as skiing and backpacking! Compress it away and stash it into the smallest backpacks, or wear it while tackling a strong gale.

Enjoying the fire during a camping trip in Canyonlands. This jacket kept our main tester warm and happy on this trip.
Enjoying the fire during a camping trip in Canyonlands. This jacket kept our main tester warm and happy on this trip.

Value


To be honest, this jacket is a steal of a deal. While most of the jackets in this review retail above $250, this is only $230, far less expensive than the Patagonia Micro Puff or Arc'teryx Proton AR. The only thing we love as much as an awesome piece of gear is an awesome piece of gear at a competitive price.

Rab fixed their zipper problem! It's bomber, doesn't get stuck, and we like it way more than the previous zipper.

Conclusion


The Rab Xenon X Hoodie, our Editors' Choice winner, is a steal of a deal. It's lightweight, compressible, warm, and weather resistant. Even though it's not very stylish and not breathable, we value this technical piece as one that is versatile and lavishly comfortable. Take it with you on your next big adventure. Stuff it in a pack or wear it confidently while mother nature huffs and puffs.
Amber King