Doing it all isn’t always possible. But with a perfect balance of features, fit, and price, the Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 Jacket makes it look easy.
Winter came in with a roar in the Pacific Northwest this year, but by January the well seemed to have run dry. Dry spells in the Northwest don’t last, though, and by April the precip was back with a vengeance, sending us all back into our trusty rain jackets.
This spring I reached for the Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 Jacket as my all-around rain shell, and found it to excel in anything an unseasonably wet spring could throw its way — from all-day squalls in the city to mountain bike laps after some morning showers.
The jacket — sporting a 2.5-layer Pertex Shield waterproof membrane, a bevy of comfortable and functional features, and a friendly price tag — easily ticks the boxes on most outings where the weather report may otherwise be discouraging.
In short: When it comes to balance, Rab has its finger on the pulse with the Downpour Plus 2.0 jacket. Utilizing a trusted Pertex waterproof membrane and at an accessible price point, this rain shell made our pre-trip gear selection a lot easier.
Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 Jacket Review
Downpour Plus 2.0: Specs
- Waterproof membrane: 2.5-layer Pertex Shield
- Waterproof rating: 20,000mm/24 hrs.
- Breathability rating: 20,000g/m²
- Pit zips: Yes
- Fit: Regular
- Weight: 13.2 oz.
- Price: $185
Compared to other waterproof membranes we’ve tested, Pertex Shield has consistently earned high marks, sporting a 20,000mm/24 hours waterproof rating. This metric places the membrane near the top of the heap in terms of its ability to keep rain from penetrating the fabric, and the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish helps to keep it that way.
While not the most waterproof, this jacket also doesn’t sport the brow-raising price tag of other jackets with leading-edge membranes meant for extreme environments.
During our testing of the Downpour Plus 2.0, we wore it in all 50 names for rain in the Pacific Northwest: downpour rain, spitting rain, drizzling rain, misting rain — and we stayed dry in all of them. To understand more of the science behind waterproof ratings, check out the Buyer’s Guide in our Best Rain Jackets of 2022 article.
Typically, when a waterproof rating of a jacket goes up, its breathability rating suffers. That’s why we feel that a jacket with a 20K/20K membrane is just about a goldilocks split for daily and all-around use.
During a mountain bike rip that promised sunny skies in the afternoon but rain all morning, the Downpour Plus 2.0 performed admirably on the ascent — only requiring the pit zips to be lowered to keep perspiration moving through the jacket. When the tides turned and the sun came out, the jacket did double duty and provided protection from an onslaught of mud, all while remaining breathable.
Our experiences with Pertex Shield in jackets like the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket and other 2.5-layer waterproof membranes have revealed a potential for overwhelming perspiration in situations that require a full hoods-up, zippers-closed configuration. The generous pit zips on the Downpour, however, greatly alleviate this, allowing heat and sweat to escape before becoming an issue.
The regular cut of the Downpour worked well for a wide variety of tasks. It wasn’t so trim as to limit layering, but wasn’t so baggy that it limited mobility. Then there are the perks in the details: a brushed tricot chin guard to soothe those that sport stubble, and an articulated fabric cut in the arms that prevents the hem from rising when reaching overhead.
The material of the Downpour lacks any integrated stretch, but in all-around jackets, we don’t miss the added functionality. Overall, we prefer the added protection against the premature wetting-out that stretch fabrics can suffer from.
Weight & Packed Size
At 13.2 ounces, the Downpour lands at about the middle of the pack on the scales — no ultralight and gossamer-thin trail runner’s dream, but also not a burly mountaineering bomb shelter. Jackets like the Janji Rainrunner Pack Jacket or the Black Diamond StormLine Stretch do edge it out by a few ounces, but are either more fragile or sport a lesser-rated waterproof membrane.
Its packed size, however, really won us over. It compresses down to the size of a grapefruit. This is largely thanks to the thin Pertex Shield membrane used in the construction and the lack of an overbuilt 40D face fabric. At the end of our trail ride, it easily stashed away into our hip pack.
Zippers, Pockets, and Hood
As to be expected from U.K. manufacturer Rab, the main body zipper on the Downpour features a left-hand pull. While not a deal-breaker, it certainly takes a little getting used to. The front zipper — as well as the pockets and pit zips — are all YKK Aquaguard zippers, sporting high water resistance to help ensure that water intrusion is a nonissue.
The main chest pockets are roomy and extend quite high, positioned to be accessible while wearing a backpack hip belt or climbing harness. We were able to easily stash and grab essentials while wearing a daypack on a hike in the North Cascades.
The hood is refined, features a three-way buried toggle adjustment system, flexible brim, and is helmet compatible with a hood roll tab for storing. It easily fit over a mountain bike helmet in recent testing, and we were able to efficiently store it away on the ride down to avoid excessive flapping.
Sustainability & Durability
Rab utilized a recycled face fabric in the Downpour, which is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to the sustainability of rain jackets. Another is the fluorocarbon-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, an industry shift we’re excited to see more of.
During testing, we found that we didn’t need to use kid gloves when handling the Downpour, something required of other ultralight and skimpy rain jackets. The 40D face fabric proved durable (even in an accidental kiss with a trailside tree), and since all zippers are of the waterproof variety, they’ll likely continue to stay clean and running smooth.
While other specialized jackets might excel in their own niches, the Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 Jacket is an easy answer for a rain jacket that is ready for anything.
With 20K waterproofing and 20K breathability, the Downpour exists in what we believe is the perfect balance for a waterproof jacket — not giving up too much in any metric. A number of smart features, like a highly fitted hood, long pit zips, and Aquaguard zippers, make the Downpour a highly capable jacket.
However temperamental and unpredictable the weather, the Downpour is ready to adapt and keep you covered.