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Rab and Cotswold Outdoor: The Brand-Retail Connection

Rab jackets yellow and navy

You are the company you keep

Like it or not, this ancient proverb holds true in almost every kind of relationship. And although Solomon probably didn’t foresee its relevance in the outdoor industry of 2018, his sentiment couldn’t be more apt as we celebrate Cotswold Outdoor’s ever successful relationship with outdoor super-brand, Rab.

The beginnings of something special

During the mid 1970’s Cotswold Camping (as Cotswold Outdoor was originally named) was born. Based in a small outbuilding in the Cotswolds, this modest setup offered expert advice on everything outdoors, as well as providing high quality gear and equipment. It soon grew into Cotswold Outdoor: a nationwide outdoor retailer that today boasts over 70 stores and 1400 employees. And true to its roots it continues to offer only the best gear, brands and equipment backed up by advice learned from real-world experiences.

In the early 1980’s, shortly after Cotswold Camping arrived on the scene, adventurer and climber Rab Carrington decided to take his outdoor experience to the design lab. His vision was to create honest, rugged climbing kit that could perform to the highest level. And so the brand that we know and love was born: Rab. Since then, Rab has leaped from strength to strength adopting groundbreaking fabric technologies and breaking into the international market.

Connected through quality

With high ambitions and an impressive resume of successes, it’s no surprise that Rab and Cotswold Outdoor work so perfectly together. But it’s the alignment of their core values that really makes this relationship such a success.

Firstly, the motivations of both brand and retailer grew from personal experience. What better way to create strong foundations than building from in-the-field experiences?

Secondly, a desire to improve and innovate has drawn these companies closer than ever over the years. The reinvention of an already outstanding classic from Rab highlights this superbly. And of course, Cotswold Outdoor are at their side every step of the way.

And thirdly, Rab and Cotswold Outdoor offer exceptional quality that is, and has always been, a non-negotiable and inevitable byproduct of starting from a solid base and constantly striving for better. The result is nothing but the best products and retail experience for consumers.

Of course, Rab isn’t Cotswold Outdoor’s only brand pumping out outstandingly high quality products year upon year. You only have to take a quick glance at the list of other brands they work with to understand the depth and unwavering commitment to quality that Cotswold Outdoor stands by. The absolute best of the best.

Look even closer into their background and heritage and it’s easy to see why Cotswold Outdoor are one of the UK’s leading outdoor retailers. And why us consumers wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere. They partner with Girl Guiding, BMC, National Trust, YHA and World Challenge, amongst other prestigious organisations, offering significant discounts to members. 

Much to celebrate in 2018

While Cotswold Outdoor move past their 40th anniversary and continue doing what they do, Rab are celebrating the re-imagination of a 10 year old classic. Yes, it’s 10 whole years since the iconic Microlight jacket lept into the climbing scene and soared to great heights, along with its adventurous wearers. The original jacket provided everything you could possibly want and need from a midweight insulated jacket.

Trends come and go, but the Microlight remains steadfast

But Rab, not content with only extraordinary, have continued to develope this much loved, tried and tested jacket into something even better: the Microlight Summit and the Microlight Alpine. Two extra-extraordinary jackets with updated features and improved performance for those adventuring in conditions where warmth, weight, packability and function are essential properties.

The Rab Microlight Jackets

So, 10 years on from its original version, what can we expect from the all-new Microlight Summit and Microlight Alpine?

To the untrained eye, changes are subtle. However, on closer inspection, you can see a decade of evolution. Refinements here, tweaks there – our perfectionism shows. This year we have deconstructed, analysed and carefully rebuilt the Microlight, scrutinising every tiny detail.

At a glance:
The Summit is the slightly more technical jacket. It is lighter and more weather resistant than the Alpine, and is designed with climbers and alpinists in mind.

For a slightly smaller price tag, however, the Alpine is only 15g heavier than the Summit and is ideal for any outdoor adventures where packability, warmth and weight are important.

In detail:
Rab Microlight Summit

The Rab Microlight Summit 2018

“Worn as a warm midlayer or standalone outer for fast ascents in the likes of the Chamonix Valley, the Women’s Microlight Summit is a streamlined technical jacket for when weight is a concern but function is paramount.”

Insulation:750 fill power Fluorocarbon-free Nikwax hydrophobic down that is ethically-sourced (R.D.S certified European goose down)
Weight:455g (men’s large)
Fabric:Pertex® Quantum Infinity Weave. This eliminates the need for stitching, glue or heat when constructing baffles, and is instead woven to increase wind and weather resistance.

Design features:

  • Helmet compatible hood
  • Drawcord at the hem
  • Longer length
  • Stretch nylon cuffs
  • 2 way harness compatible zipper with baffle
  • Stuff sack
  • Zippered internal chest pocket
  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Aquaguard Vislon zippers have a water resistant polyurethane tape on

Rab Microlight Alpine

The Rab Microlight Alpine 2018

“The Microlight Alpine Jacket is the lightweight down jacket you can take anywhere, designed for use in situations where warmth, weight and packability are prime concerns.”

Insulation:750 fill power Fluorocarbon-free Nikwax hydrophobic down that is ethically-sourced (R.D.S certified European goose down)
Weight:470g (men’s large)
Fabric:High-quality Pertex® Quantum with micro stitch-through baffle construction

Design features:

  • Adjustable hood
  • Drawcord at the hem
  • Stuff sack
  • Zippered external chest pocket
  • Zippered hand pockets

The future of the outdoor retail industry…

Is bright! When brands like Rab partner with and are promoted by retailers like Cotswold Outdoor, only great things will happen. We can put our trust in Cotswold to keep working with the likes of Rab for years to come. And so long as Rab keep pushing their boundaries and consistently create gear that is of exceptional quality and as trustworthy as the Microlight, then everyone’s a winner. But most of all, us!


About the author


Joey Holmes is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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