Rab’s New Reflective Tech
Rab’s new Mythic Ultra Jacket is light enough to be a party trick and warm enough to wonder where the wires are. Seriously, if you put it on, close your eyes, and channel Marvin Gaye hard enough, you could convince yourself you’re naked in front of a fire—or at least one of those restaurant patio heaters. But then again, that’s kind of a weird fantasy.
The secret is the brand’s new TILT (thermos ionic lining) technology, which uses vaporized aluminum-coated fibers to reflect your body heat back at you. Because of the way the fibers are treated, the aluminum is nearly weightless and does not affect breathability. The brand also put this elfin magic in their new Mythic sleeping bags and, coming spring 2023, their new line of sleeping pads.
Rab uses TILT in two different ways, either as the lining itself, as is the case with some of the sleeping bags, or in the “scrim,” which is just behind the interior face fabric of the jacket. Rab’s data says the lining conserves up to 30%, and the scrim up to 15%, of your body’s radiant heat.
If this technology sounds a little familiar, you’re not wrong. It’s the same basic idea as the emergency blanket, which has been taking up space in our first-aid kits since 1964. Years ago, Columbia also released a technology called Omni Heat, which had a similar idea but without the breathability. (Great for standing outside watching football while drinking beer; not so great for skinning up mountains.)
Our quick take? This is the lightest, warmest, most breathable stuff we’ve ever tested—your perfect backcountry companions. Here’s a more detailed review of each.
$550; 400 g
This sleeping bag is like a cloud of warmth. It’s soft and light, with high-loft 900-fill goose down and an outer made from the smoothest ripstop fabric on the planet. The inner is all silver TILT, which starts working the second you slip into it. It’s rated at 32 degrees F, 0 degrees C, but it kept us absolutely toasty at sub-30 F while camping in the desert in the middle of November. It weighs only 400 g and packs down tiny, so it’s ideal for hut trips or spring camping missions. It’s also light enough that you could throw it in your pack as a safety measure even if you’re not planning on spending the night. (Note, Rab is also making TILT sleeping pads—a new product category for the brand—slated to come out in the spring of 2023.)
$475; 499 g
Designed for alpinists and mountaineers, this jacket has many features that serve backcountry skiers, as well. First, it has one of the highest warmth-to-weight ratios of any jacket on the market, so it’s great to throw in your pack as a safety layer, even if you don’t get cold enough to use it. It also has a helmet-compatible hood, two-way front zips that come in handy if you’re skiing crevasse country with a harness, and fine-tuned articulation in the sleeves for mobility. The TILT tech is just below the interior face fabric, strategically placed in the trunk where you need it most. The Ultra also boasts 900-fill down coated with a hydrophobic finish and a 100-percent recycled ripstop nylon. The winner of the 2022 ISPO Award, the Mythic Ultra will help you enjoy a few extra moments at the wind-whipped summit, keep you toasty in a winter camp, or help you find a little extra patience for gear-fixes (or slow partners) in the field.