I’ve had my Ridgeline about a week now and used it for a couple of runs and bike rides. As a long time user of Vapour Rise I knew how big were the shoes it was trying to fill.
Original Vapour Rise was ground breaking. To be fair I think that the Marmot Driclime windshirt was also in there at the same time, being just as amazing. Vapour Rise was so light, warm and comfortable, it was miles better than anything before it. Amazingly resistant to showers when that wasn’t in it’s remit at all. The fact that the combination of fabrics and design didn’t lend itself to looking really smart, cemented VR as a true users piece. Almost like a secret that nobody was trying to keep.
Over the years what has changed most with iterations of VR is the weight of the fabrics in particular the lining. Over the last 15 years the designs got lighter and thinner. People said it was too warm! Lighter versions added into the range, heavyweights discontinued. However the outer fabric Pertex Equilibrium remained pretty much unchanged.
The challenge of the new VR is that Pertex Equilibrium is no longer used. But fear not, the Pertex Quantum Air DWR face fabric is lighter, faster drying and has better DWR properties then Equib and looks better as well. The new micro pile linings work like magic.
The Ridgeline is the lightest of the new VR range. It
consists of the lightweight Quantum Air outer and a combo of 2 linings, airflow
& wicking. For a lightweight windproof it is surprisingly warm.
You know in a simple unlined windshell (Rab Vital Windshirt for example) you can still feel the cooling effect of stronger winds through the shell, well the VR lining completely eliminates that. You kind of feel the gusts on your face but not on your body. At 261g the Ridgeline would replace a fleece or more traditional softshell jacket, and be just as warm and as breathable as either whilst being lighter and more packable. I got proper sweaty on a bike ride that was warmer than expected and the sweat went straight through my synthetic t shirt and on through the Ridgeline, no problem. I was feeling dry again in less than 10 minutes. Little touches like the softshell cuffs and the fact that the chest pocket is not annoyingly small and easily fits your phone complete the offering. The VR Ridgeline is a lovely windproof jacket. I’m already excited about how good the VR Ridgeline and Alpha flash combo might be. Needs to be colder to find out.
Further reviews are coming but just for info, The VR Alpine Light uses the same combination of outer face fabric and linings as the Ridgeline but is hooded and has more pockets. The mix of lining fabric might be different but I’m not certain yet. The VR Summit Jacket uses a thicker version of the Quantum Air DWR outer and a different lining altogether called Micro Pile Warm.