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Rab Shadow Hoody review: The ultimate do-it-all softshell fleece

Sasha Muller
26 Oct 2020
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 

Combining a softshell outer with a warm fleece inner, the Shadow Hoody is a brilliantly versatile addition to anyone’s outdoor wardrobe

Pros 
Unusually windproof and weather resistant for a fleece jacket
Versatile enough for all kinds of weather
Brilliant design
Cons 
Not cheap
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A fleece is an essential piece of clothing for anyone who loves the great outdoors, but they’re not always that useful on their own. Traditional fleeces tend to let wind blow straight through, and really don’t fare well when the clouds turn to rain. Rab’s Shadow Hoody, on the other hand, is far more versatile. With a softshell outer that repels wind and shrugs off light rain, combined with a brushed fleece inner to retain heat, it’s designed to be useful in a much wider range of weather conditions.

Rab Shadow Hoody review: What you need to know

  • Five sizes for men and women (Men: S, M, L, XL, XXL; Women: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16)
  • Rab Thermic Pro fabric – Fleece inner face and softshell outer face
  • 2 hand pockets
  • Fully adjustable hood (under-helmet design), adjustable elasticated hem
  • YKK Vislon front zip with chin guard
  • Inner stretch cuffs with thumb loops
  • Weight: 429g (Men’s XL)

What do we love about the Rab Shadow Hoody?

It’s super comfortable: Going by my experience of Rab’s XL clothing, the sizing is just about right. It’s not figure-hugging, but it’s nicely fitted. The wonderfully soft inner fleece and slight stretch to the fabric means that, once it’s on, you don’t really notice it’s there. It fits easily under a waterproof or down jacket, and the thumb-loops in the cuffs make it easy to pull another jacket over the top without the arms bunching up. Word to the wise, though: if you prefer a super-snug fit for your under-jacket layers, then consider going down a size.

Impressively wind- and weather-proof: There are much warmer pure fleeces out there, but they’re all but useless in windy or wet conditions without an extra wind- or water-proof layer over the top. In those kinds of conditions, the Shadow Hoody single-handedly does a great job of fending off cold breezes and light showers. If you’re building up a head of steam and it starts to drizzle and bluster, it’ll remain unphased. You will need to reach for a waterproof layer for more sustained drizzle, though.

Versatility: This is the point we can’t stress enough: this is a real do-it-all fleece. Whether you’re throwing it on over a T-shirt to fend off the bite in the evening air or popping it under another jacket for a freezing cold winter walk, the Shadow Hoody can turn its hand to mid- or outer-layer duties as required. It’s useful in a wide range of temperatures, too. Whether you pair it with a thermal base layer or a light wicking T-shirt, a hardshell waterproof jacket or a toasty warm down jacket, it’s ready for almost anything.

Big, warm hand pockets, close-fitting hood and sturdy zips: The pockets are placed fairly high on the body, and in addition to providing a good amount of storage – you could shove maps and snacks in there if required – the fleecy inner lining makes them perfect for keeping your mitts warm when the mercury drops. The sturdy-feeling zips and zip pulls make them easy to access when you’re wearing gloves, too, and the larger front zip pull has a larger plastic hoop to save you from scrabbling around. The close-fitting hood might not be flattering, but it fits under a climbing helmet (or most types for that matter) and does a sterling job of fending off the cold and wind on inclement days.

What don’t we like about the Rab Shadow Hoody?

It’s quite expensive: With an RRP of £130, the Shadow Hoody isn’t cheap. After all, you could buy a decent fleece and a cheap softshell or windproof layer for the same amount of money. The counter-argument here, however, is that you get many of the benefits of those separate garments from one single piece of clothing – and one that’s well designed and super-comfortable. Combine the Shadow with a decent hardshell and base layer, and you’ve got a combination that will see you through a huge range of weather and temperature conditions. In our book, that’s worth paying a premium for.

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