There are a lot of waterproof/breathable storm shells on the market from a lot of companies. So many that we sometimes give the teeniest of yawns when we see another. When we got our first look at the Rab Drillium jacket from a U.K. company that was just introducing some of its technical apparel line to the U.S. market in late 2007, we thought, oh yikes, another shell. Then we checked it out and changed our minds.
Made of Event three-layer waterproof fabric, the Drillium is obviously made by a company where the folks know what it really means to protect yourself from stormy weather, drizzle and dampness. We aren’t talking cute tiny hoods, barely-there collars or fashionably cropped lengths. Nope, not from the United Kingdom where fog and rain are a part of life and protection is vital.
This lightweight, multi-sport jacket has a longer, shaped hem that protects your hips and rear from dampness and chill, even allowing you to sit down and emerge without a wet behind. The collar is higher-cut, allowing a user to snuggle a chin and even nose down into it if it’s really blowing and wet. The hood is roomy with a roll-away feature (into the collar where it stows pretty nicely) and a wired brim that helps keep rain off your forehead and face -- very nifty for eyeglass wearers.
It’s a simple shape really -- roomy but not too much, a little narrower in the hips but not too much, and it has two outer pockets, and one inner chest pocket that is laminated to the coat but is made of a stretchy mesh and closes with a vertical side zipper. The zipper allows you to stuff the jacket inside the pocket and zip it up. Then the pouch has a loop for attaching it to yourself, a pack or bag.
SNEWS® tested the jacket in U.S. rainstorms and even took it back to the United Kingdom in the fall for both urban and mountain trekking use, including in storms and thick fog. One user couldn’t stop raving about the length (and her protected behind), as well as about the spacious hood that truly kept rain off the face.
Both our male and female users, however, found the sleeves to be cut inordinately long. Advantage: If it’s really chilly and wet, a user can snuggle his or her hands right inside without scrunching. Disadvantage: You slop sleeves everywhere and have to either push them up and use the hook-and-loop fasteners to pull them tight, or you roll them up (kinda stiff and crunchy with the fabric). This jacket also doesn’t come in women’s sizes or a women’s-specific cut, so a unisex size small is more like a really roomy medium for gals. (No, if a woman wants a sleek about-town appearance, this model won’t be the one to pick; the company does have others in women's sizes.)
And although many shells today are losing the shiny, crunchy, noisiness of yore, this one still is noisy, shiny and crunchy. But who cares if the goal is to stay dry and comfy. Which you will.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $275
For more information:www.rab.uk.com