Rab’s new Ski Specific Jacket, the Khroma GTX
After decades of making quality mountain apparel, Rab introduced it’s first ski wear line in winter of 2021, called Khroma. At the top of the range stands the Khroma GTX line which uses a mix of new, unique and recycled materials to make ski mountaineering worthy garments. The Rab Khroma GTX jacket blends Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable and Most Rugged into a burly, lightweight Ski touring and mountaineering jacket.
- 70D GORE-TEX® PRO Most Breathable
- Zoned patches of 70D GORE-TEX® PRO Most Rugged
- Country of Origin: China
- Colour: Polar Blue
- Weight: 532g (manufacturer claimed size L)
- Days Worn: 50+
- Helmet compatible hood
- 5 Pockets
- Wrist Cuffs
- Powder Skirt
Who is Rab Carrington?
Rab Equipment was founded by Rab Carrington, a well known Scottish climber in the 1970’s. He cut his teeth on winter climbs in his native Scotland before moving on to groundbreaking expeditions in the Alps and abroad in the Andes and Himalaya.
In 1973 Rab found himself in Buenos Aires without his equipment. A close friend of his, Hector Vieytes, employed him and began teaching him the skills that would help Rab begin his making gear. In 1980 Rab moved to Sheffield with his family and started crafting down sleeping bags and clothing from his own home and Rab Equipment was born.
What is the Rab Khroma GTX Jacket?
According to Rab the focus of this jacket is “where ascent meets ski, it’s for self-propelled backcountry skiing and ski-mountaineering.” Having worn this jacket, a lot, I can confidently say they have met their goal. I’ve worn it on long ski tours, sled accessed ski missions as well as ski lift assisted backcountry trips. It’s designed for harsh weather on the ups and the downs and has done a great job of keeping me dry this winter. A burly, no nonsense jacket that is rooted in Rab’s history of making great mountain focused gear and continuing that tradition with outerwear designed for ski touring and ski mountaineering.
What is Khroma?
According to dictionary.com Chroma is defined as 1: the purity of a color, or its freedom from white or grey. or 2: the intensity of distinctive hue; saturation of a color. The influence is immediately apparent in the various Khroma pieces with their saturated colours that remind you that the line was inspired by the study of colour and brightness against pure white snow. The model we tested is Polar Blue. All Zips and logos are in a contrasting orange. It stands out in a crowd.
How does the Rab Khroma GTX Jacket fit?
Rab describes the fit of the Khroma GTX as regular, neither slim nor loose with the perfect balance of form fit and ease of movement. I’m 187cm tall and roughly 92kg and the jacket’s slim athletic fit suits me well. Any shorter and it would not be long enough for a tall person like me. I notice this the most with the powder skirt as it barely reaches the waist of my ski pants.
I unfortunately, did not have the matching Khroma GTX bib to check their fit together. As they are a bib, I wouldn’t expect any issues. My XL Rab Electron down jacket fits inside the Kroma just right when the weather sucks but actually fits over top at transitions well. If given the choice again, I would go for an XL as I prefer to run my gear a little bit large. It allows a little room for the heli-belly.
What is the Rab Khroma GTX Jacket made of?
I expect this jacket to last a long time. I’ve used it over 50 times and it shows literally no signs of wear. Just two weeks ago I received a compliment on my new jacket! The Khroma is made of two types of Gore-Tex Pro, most rugged and most breathable. For a full description of the types of Gore-Tex Pro, head on over to our article here.
The main fabric of the Khroma is Recycled 70D Gore-Tex Pro (Most Breathable) in a 160g/m² whilst the reinforced areas, the hood top center, hood top sides, front upper yoke and sleeves are made with a Recycled 70D Gore-Tex Pro (Most Rugged) also at 160g/m². This positions the strongest Gore-Tex in high wear areas and more breathable Gore-Tex elsewhere.
The Gore-tex itself is made with 100% Recycled Polyamide with an ePTFE membrane with a 100% Polyamide Backer. In a nutshell this is … but for more in depth info, head on over to Gore themselves: Gore
Subtle and Feature Packed
For such a simple looking jacket, the Khroma GTX has all the essentials and one that has been missing for a little while.
From the top down, we start with the two way adjustable helmet-compatible hood. There is a pull tab on the back of the hood to pull the visor back. The front of the hood has a brim with a stiffener inside. On both sides there are pull tabs to cinch the hood closed. The hood fits over my Smith Vantage helmet well and will have no problems with a lower bulk mountaineering helmet fitting underneath.
There is microfleece covering the chin guard at the zipper, a really nice touch! Speaking of the zipper, it’s a burly affair. It’s a YKK® AquaGuard® Vislon front zip with internal storm flap. The zipper can be a little hard to get started as it’s quite thick but what’s most confusing is that the zip pull is on the left side. North American companies have the pull tab on the right side… just saying.
On the left arm there is an angled zipper for lift passes. This may be a ski touring / mountaineering jacket but a lot of the Sea-to-Sky area adventures on the West Coast begin with a ski lift to the alpine so this feature was very welcome.
Moving down the arms we come to the wrist closure. It’s a simple Hook and loop affair and the opening is just wide enough for the Rab Guide 2 GTX glove. Inside the sleeve is something I hadn’t seen in a technical jacket for a while, but have missed: WRIST GAITERS! I love wrist gaiters. I’m a knuckle dragger so this makes sense. The wrist gaiter on the Khroma GTX was a little tight for me though. If your thumb looks more like a chicken drumstick, they may be a little tight. No worries though, just pass your whole hand through the gaiter and bypass the thumb loop and the gaiters will still keep snow out.
Under the arms are very long two way pit vents for dumping excess heat. Although this jacket uses Gore-Tex Most Breathable you are still going to occasionally want to dump heat while ascending, and these zippers do a great job.
Two generously sized side pockets with waterproof zippers adorn the side of the jacket. Both have thick inner storm flaps. Unfortunately, these storm flaps occasionally poke out of the pocket and as they are quite stiff can block the zipper from closing.
There are two chest pockets, one accessible on the outside right chest, and one on the inside of the left chest. The outer pocket is big enough for a communications radio and can just barely squeeze in an iPhone 8plus. It’s tough to get that phone back out. An iPhone 11 fits in nicely. The inner pocket, with it’s much taller height, holds the iPhone 8plus easily.
Inside the Body
Inside the jacket are two drop pockets. Long, deep and made of stretch material. They aren’t quite wide enough for skins but will swallow most anything else you want to put in them even a flask for a summit celebration.
A fully adjustable hem and a powder gaiter round out the lower, inner part of the jacket. The Powder gaiter has two snaps on each end with further snaps along the edge to connect to Khroma pants.
I’ve worn this jacket for over fifty days this season, from ski touring to bush bashing, heli-skiing and teaching AST-1 classes and it’s holding up really well. The zips show no sign of wear and I have not had a single miss-aligned zipper. It’s still beading nearly as well as the first day I put it on. Now that some sweaty spring days are upon us it has finally begin to look a little (I mean only a little) dirty under my pack straps, but that is to be expected. This jacket has seen a lot of hours. Save for any poutine stains there is no reason this jacket won’t look untarnished by the end of the season.
With the exception of a few minor complaints, this has been an excellent jacket this winter and will serve well into the future as a ski mountaineering jacket.
Pros: Great DWR, super durable materials, all the bells and whistles
Cons: The pocket storm flaps interrupt closure, the wrist gaiters are a tad tight
If you are interested in checking out the Khroma GTX head on over to Rab and pick on up!
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a sample for testing but of course this did not influence us in any way. in no way affected our opinion and review of the jacket.