Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket review: a lightweight high-performance shell for all your outdoor pursuits

An exceptional Gore-Tex ePE jacket for backpacking, hill walking, camping and dog walking

T3 Platinum Award
Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket review: Jacket modelled by reviewer
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

If you’re in the market for an exceedingly light, high-performance three—to four-season waterproof jacket with a stiffened peak, long 32cm pit zips, external pockets big enough for a folded OS map, and a full Gore-Tex membrane for complete waterproofing and decent breathability, the Rab Namche is a fine choice that will stand you in good stead no matter the weather.

Reasons to buy
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    GTX waterproofing

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    Expert design

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    Sustainably produced

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the most affordable garment

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Can you remember the last time the sun shone consistently over the UK? Was it 2022? Must be, because I can’t remember more than 14 days of sunshine in a row since then. On the other hand, wet, soggy weather is a perfect test bed to try out a new walking/orienteering jacket. And here it is, the high-performance Rab Namche, a storm-proof jacket made using the latest version of every adventurer's favourite fabric, Gore-Tex.

Now I’m as big a sucker to marketing as the next person, so I always find myself gravitating towards outdoor garments that sport the famous triangular Gore-Tex logo. For the uninitiated, Gore-Tex was originally made using PTFE (polymer polytetrafluoroethylene or Teflon as it is more commonly known) but the company has more recently moved over to ePE (expanded polyethylene) as a more sustainable alternative.

Even though there are other similar waterproof/breathable fabrics on the market, most of us – me included – still see Gore-Tex as the hallmark of outdoor garment quality, even if garments made from it are usually lot more expensive to buy.

At £290, the Rab Namche is, indeed, expensive to buy, and there are many cheaper options in our guide to the best waterproof jackets. However, there’s a lot going on with the Namche – at both molecular and surface levels – to make it a must-have lightweight outdoor jacket, especially when the heavens open and you’re being pummelled by raindrops the size of marbles.

Is this the outdoor weatherproof jacket for you? Let’s climb into the Namche to see what’s going on.

[First reviewed March 2024]

Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket review

Price and availability

In the UK, the Rab Namche retails at £290 and is available direct from Rab. It is also available at varying price points from Cotswold Outdoor (£240), Snow+Rock (£240) and Scandinavian Outdoor (£204.96). If you live in the USA, consider Rab USA, Amazon or Backcountry Gear where the Rab Namche sells for $350.

About Rab

Rab is a British company with its roots in an ‘attic of a small terraced house in Sheffield where Rab Carrington made the first sleeping bag to bear his name.’ Word of Rab’s hand-stitched sleeping bags soon spread among the climbing fraternity and before long his company became a brand synonymous with high performance outdoor gear, from sleeping bags, shelters and backpacks to an ever-increasing range of outdoor wear including waterproof jackets, insulated down jackets, base-layers, pants and gloves.

Rab considers itself a ‘sustainability’ outfit, too. As a result, every item on the company website is accompanied with a ‘Material Facts’ representation showing where the product was made and with what percentage of recycled materials (in the case of the Namche jacket, the fabric is a respectable 80% recycled and 100% for the face and backer). 

As Debbie Read, Rab’s Head of Corporate Communications and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) says, ‘for us to try and dumb down sustainability data into a logo, a symbol, a colour, just doesn’t feel appropriate’. Similarly, every item in the Rab range is also accompanied with a shedload of technical data so the buyer knows exactly what they’re getting.


  • Type: shell, 80% recycled
  • Waterproofing technology: Gore-Tex with ePE membrane and PFCecFree DWR
  • Waterproofing (HH): 28,000 mm
  • Breathability: less than 13 on the RET scale
  • Pockets: 2 external, zipped
  • Pit zips: yes
  • Hood: Wired and stiffened peak
  • Durability: 3-Layer construction
  • Fit: Regular
  • Weight: 437g/ 15.4oz (tested, men's medium)


Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket colours

(Image credit: Rab)

The Rob Namche is available in sizing for both men and women. Both garments offer identical tech specifications and features but the women’s version is more tapered at the waist. Sizes are as follows – Men: S, M, L, XL and XXL; Women: 8, 10, 12 and 14.

I would normally consider myself on the small side so I carefully measured up using the sizing guidance on the Rab website. Since there is a bit of a jump in dimensions between Rab’s Small and Medium, as a precaution – and because my Musto outdoor jackets are in size Medium – I opted for an M. The fit on me is on the loose side but I consider that a good thing because it means I can wear it with a decent thickness of fleece beneath for autumnal and mild winter use and with a T-shirt during the summer months.

One thing I did notice when measuring up for this jacket is that the sleeves seemed to be longer than average. As expected, the Namche’s sleeves are indeed on the long side – long enough for most of my hands to be covered – but, again, I consider this a bit of a bonus because, when cuffed using the Velcro tabs, the sleeves provide plenty of arm movement without any tightness around the armpits. The lower portion of the jacket also covers my posterior, which I consider handy for sitting on wet, muddy logs.

This low-slung fit also keeps my hip area dry and warm in inclement weather. Should I have gone for the smaller size? Who knows since my measurements lie somewhere in-between Rab’s Small and Medium sizing. But I always like to err on the side of caution when purchasing garments online and tend to go for the nearest larger size. That way I’ll never experience any tightness or any feelings of being too cocooned or restricted in movement if wearing base layers beneath.

While my partner is not especially enamoured of the dark mustard-like ‘Footprint’ colour I received for the review, I actually quite like it. It’s certainly different from the blue/navy/black norm though it may be a bit too conspicuous for some. In its favour, the colour does blend in pretty well with surrounding foliage, especially when nature is in its autumnal look. 

If dark mustard isn’t your bag, the men’s Namche is also available in Black, Graphene (dark grey) and Orion Blue. For women, it’s available in Black, the Footprint colour I’m reviewing here, Green Slate and Orion Blue. 

Design and build quality

Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket hanging on a tree

(Image credit: Future)

As you’ll see from the above specs, this lightweight three- to four-season jacket is thoughtfully designed to address the needs of most pursuits, whether it’s highly committed hiking, hill climbing, backpacking or the simple things in life like walking the dog. At 518g, the Namche is so light it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. It also folds up into a titchy bundle that takes up next to no room in a backpack.  

The Namche’s main fabric sports an impressive hydrostatic head of 28,000mm and is constructed out of three-layer ePE Gore-Tex (80% recycled) and a PFCecFree DWR (Durable Water Repellency) coating. Its breathability using the Thermal Evaporative Resistance (RET) coefficient is less than 13 which means it’s moderately breathable but not necessarily suitable for the most energy-intensive applications. That said, ventilation is vastly improved when the long 32cm under-arm zippers are opened along with the neck area.

Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket hood area on white background

(Image credit: Rab)

Speaking of which, the Namche’s face and neck area is brilliantly designed to offer excellent protection against rain and headwinds. Crucially, the hood features a wired, stiffened peak so you can actually see where you’re going in blustery weather and the neck sits high – just above the mouth to stop the face from getting pummelled by rain.

Two toggles on the side of the hood can be engaged to tighten it along with another toggle on top that makes the hood literally fit the shape of your head. Heading to the front, there are two huge external pockets big enough to fit a map, phone, gloves, what have you. Finally, this jacket also comes with a full complement of high-quality waterproof zips that are easy to engage and feel robust enough to last for years. 


Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket details

(Image credit: Rab)

My initial use was on a leaflet-dropping run around my Oxfordshire village, in the late winter rain because, well, it happened to arrive just before I set off. Since I was on a deadline I had to keep to a brisk walking pace which is not something I would normally do when hitting a trail. The wired, stiffened peak on the hood proved an absolute boon because it was windy.

Hence, at no time was my vision impaired by a flapping hood which can be really annoying when you’re walking into a head wind. I also loved the chin-high collar which kept wetness at bay while providing loads of space around the neck for a thick scarf. After about 20 minutes I started feeling a bit warm so I reached for the under-arm ventilation zippers and, voila, instant relief. I remained bone dry throughout.

Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket worn by reviewer

(Image credit: Future)

My second outing was a long two-hour dog walk in my local area, in the rain (again) over farm fields, through woodland with occasionally squeezes through the odd gap in the hedgerows. Crucially, the Namche’s smooth but very tough material failed to snag on any bramble branches and there was no damage to report.

Again, I was as dry as a bone when I got home and it only took a brief shake of the garment to shed most remaining water off its membrane. One thing to note is that some surface areas of our test jacket showed signs of water marking that completely disappeared when dry. Many waterproof jackets show dark patches in areas that don’t bead water that well – usually around the shoulders – but the dark mustard colour of our test sample highlighted it a bit more. Thankfully it’s just an aesthetics thing.

I’ve tested rain-proof Musto sailing jackets in the past and the Namche surpassed them all for comfort, sleeve articulation, water shedding and breathability, especially with the under-arm area unzipped. Rab’s material feels much stiffer and more robust, too, though there is a light rustling noise when moving around. However, I expect this light wildlife-disturbing rustle to cease with wear. 

Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket pit zips on white background

(Image credit: Rab)

At just 437g, this jacket is unbelievably light and it bundles up into a tiny package when not required. It’s a perfect three- to four-season jacket for backpacking, orienteering and general day-to-day dog-walking use. You’ll come to appreciate its lightness after several hours of hacking, its stiffened peak and high collar when the heavens open and the wind’s feeling angry, and the two huge weatherproof pockets that are easily big enough to store an Ordnance Survey map, phone, gloves etc. 


Rab Namche Gore-Tex Jacket on writer

(Image credit: Future)

Although the specific colour on review is an acquired taste, the Rab Namche is an outstanding technical jacket in so many respects. Its impressive hydrostatic head of 28,000mm is more than a match for even the most voracious of downpours, it comes with an amazing hood system, two large exterior pockets, long pit zips for cooling off in warmer climes and robust zippers for long-life reliability. No question, the designers at Rab know exactly what constitutes a high-quality, lightweight rainproof jacket – and that’s the Namche in a nutshell.

Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).