Rab have resisted the temptation to branch out into skiing apparel for many years, probably not wanting to risk diluting their strong identity as a climber’s/mountaineer’s brand.
But with the increasing popularity of backcountry skiing in recent times, they have finally relented – and the result is the Khroma collection, which Rab describes as ‘ski mountaineering’ apparel (thus keeping the brand nicely ‘on point’). We’ve had the chance to try out a couple of pieces from the range over the last few weeks – more of which later – but first let’s get an overview of what the Khroma range encompasses.
Broadly speaking, the Khroma collection consists of hardshells (jackets and pants/bibs), softshell, insulation and gloves, with Gore-Tex being offered alongside Rab’s own waterproof/breathable ProFlex fabric in the hardshell category. Rab have used two versions of the latest Gore-Tex Pro in the Khroma GTX jacket and bib, available for men and women – 70-denier Most Breathable and 70-denier Most Rugged for reinforced areas. Ski-specific features include a helmet-compatible hood, removable powder skirt and fully-adjustable cuffs with inner gaskets in the jacket, and the bib has removable braces and softshell bib, snow cuffs with power straps, and reinforced patches to prevent damage from boot buckles and ski edges. Prices are £500 for the Khroma GTX Jacket and £425 for the Khroma GTX Bib.
Where the GTX pieces offer the ultimate in protection for alpine freeriders, the Khroma Kinetic jacket and pants offer superb breathability as well as excellent waterproofness (20,000mm HH), making them ideal for technical ascents and skinning. Available for men and women, the Kinetic pieces feature ski-specific features such as helmet-compatible hood, vents on the pants, and reinforced areas to protect the ankle cuffs. Prices are £300
for the Khroma Kinetic Jacket and £250 for the Khroma Kenetic Pants.
Complimenting the two Khroma hardshell systems are gloves, an insulated jacket and a softshell pant. The Khroma Kharve Jacket (£270) is an insulation piece for cold belays or ski descents, and uses synthetic Stratus insulation and Gore-Tex Infinium softshell fabrics. There are two gloves and one mitt in the Khroma range, with the Freeride GTX Mitts and Freeride GTX Gloves offering Gore-Tex weatherproofness, Primaloft insulation and Pittards leather palms for abrasion resistance; and the Tour Infinium Gloves which are ideal for skinning or belaying, using Gore-Tex Infinium and Pittards leather. Finally, the Tour Pant is a stretchy softshell using Matrix fabric, offering windproof performance combined with excellent breathability.
We’ve been using the Khroma Kinetic Jacket and Khroma Kharve Jacket over the last few weeks, and luckily there’s been some proper winter weather recently in Scotland to enable us to test them out. Rab’s ProFlex fabric boasts really good waterproofness and excellent breathability, and with a pricetag of nearly half the GTX jacket it’s well worth taking a look at. It’s stretchy, which really helps make this a comfortable jacket, and it feels very different to the feel of Rab’s original Kinetic jacket, which was very soft. The breathability is still brilliant though, and even charging uphill with several layers underneath, we still didn’t find ourselves overheating too much. That’s because as well as the impressive breathability of the fabric itself, the jacket also has several ventilation options – large mesh-lined pockets that can be left open to aid airflow, and also vents in the upper arm areas. We really liked the fit of the Kinetic Jacket, which is quite loose and allows good freedom of movement. The helmet-compatible hood is also excellent, and we found this jacket perfectly suitable for winter mountaineering as well as skiing.
The other piece we’ve been using is the Kharve Jacket, a synthetic insulated jacket using Gore-Tex Infinium softshell outer combined with Rab’s Stratus recycled synthetic insulation. The Kharve is a really flexible jacket; you can throw it on when transitioning from skinning to downhill, you can wear it for descents, and even for skinning on colder days – all dependent on the conditions and your own physiology of course. If the Kinetic and Kharve jackets are anything to go by, the Khroma range really looks to have raised the bar for clothing systems available to ski mountaineers.
More info: https://rab.equipment/uk/khroma