Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gear Review: Mammut Rime Pro Jacket

I'm very particular about my climbing gear. Some gear just gets ignored. I'm not talking about stuff that's been stuck in my closet forever. I'm talking about pieces of clothing or gear that work so well, and integrate so seamlessly into your kit, that you forget they're there. This is the mark of a good piece of gear - you have no complaints and the garment gets worn everyday. Some pieces even do year-round rotations in my pack.

The Mammut Rime Pro hoody is one such piece. It's a medium weight synthetic belay jacket that works well as a year-round belay jacket. In the interest of full disclosure, Mammut gave me this piece to take with me on my 2013 Newfoundland trip. If you want to read about that trip, or see photos there are two good links here and here.

The Rime Pro is delightfully simple, like many other Mammut garments, which is good. I like simple. Bells and whistles only add clutter, extra weight, and extra things to break. I'll spare the technical details, you can look them up on the Mammut site. The Rime Pro has two handwarmer pockets, one chest pocket, and two really nice stretchy water bottle/climbing skin pockets inside. There are small velcro wrist cuff adjustments and a simple adjustable hood.

I used the Rime Pro as my belay jacket for all of February and March during the 2013 ice season. It's a perfect "moderate" weather belay jacket, which I felt comfortable wearing on days when it was warmer than 15-20 degrees. On colder days, I found myself wearing the Rime Pro all day as my outer layer, over my softshell and tucked underneath my harness, and adding a baggy down belay jacket for those really long belays.

The medium weight Rime Pro next to my custom CCW Ozone

Cut with a slim fit, the Rime Pro isn't your average belay jacket. It's just roomy enough to stay warm, and slim enough that I feel comfortable leading hard pitches in cold weather. A few of the other belay jackets I've owned made me feel so fat I couldn't see me feet (ahem, DAS Parka). They were warm, but doing any sort of climbing in them was challenging. The Rime Pro walks that fine line really well - it's warm but you still feel agile wearing it.

I've worn it during cold weather (5 degrees Fahrenheit) in conjunction with another puffy, and during a full day of 35 degree soaking rain. The Ajungilak insulation, which feels similar to Primaloft, packs easily and stays warm even when it's soaked.

The only drawback? Well, Mammut put a finicky zipper on this jacket. Actually, it's the same zipper that other companies, like OR, have been using too. The lightweight two-way zipper feels durable but is hard to get started.

At $219, the Rime Pro Jacket is a great deal, and will serve the budget minded minimalist (like me) well. It will do year-round belay duty equally well on rock, on ice, or in the alpine.


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