Rudolf Abraham Travel Hiking Outdoor Writer Photographer Gear Reviews

Rab Xenon Gloves – Review by Rudolf Abraham

For a long time, I’d been looking for an ultra lightweight pair of gloves which would provide good warmth for everything except winter use – mostly in the Alps and southeast Europe – while having enough dexterity that I’d be able to use them with fiddly cameras and tripods without necessarily having to remove them. Weight/bulk is important to me since I often work on guidebooks to long-distance trails, and need to cut down on weight, despite carrying what might sometimes add up to a fair amount of camera gear.

Enter Rab’s Xenon Gloves, which I started using last year and which have since been with me on the Via Berna in Switzerland (September), and trips to the southern half of the Massif du Vercors (October) and the Julian Alps in Slovenia (March).

Rab-Xenon-Hiking-Gloves-Review-Rudolf-AbrahamPhoto: Small package – Rab’s Xenon gloves

I’ve found the Xenons to be excellent, and pretty much exactly what I needed from a three season glove. They were warm enough to stand up to strong winds and cold, driving rain on the Sustenpass in the Bernese Oberland, and bitterly cold nights at a high camp in the Vercors. They’re not waterproof, and not windproof per se – but I’ve found they did a good job of keeping my hands warm in cold, windy and sometimes wet weather – far more than a lightweight pair of fleece gloves ever did.

They weigh in at only 65g and pack down to an almost absurdly small size, in their own neat little stuff sack – so there’s really no reason not to sling them in your pack regardless. (I only wish I’d had them on Hallasan in South Korea earlier this year – I stupidly forgot them that day, and among long horizontal tendrils of frost and ice and screaming winds on the rim of the summit crater, I definitely regretted it!) I was happy wearing them with poles, and adjusting the zips on the front of my Páramo Velez Adventure Smock, and accessing camera gear in a MindShift holster while wearing them didn’t pose any problem. The Xenons don’t have touch screen compatibility, but while that would be a nice bonus it was less important to me than the warmth/weight balance.

The Xenons are not too fitting – I have quite large hands (or at least, long fingers), and ordered them in an XL, which according to Rab’s size chart should fit a 23–24cm hand length (my hand length is actually closer to 22cm but I’d say the XLs are about perfect for me, and I should be able to wear a thin liner inside to boost warmth if necessary).

The insulation is Pertex PrimaLoft Gold Active+, the outer fabric Pertex Quantum, with a more durable palm. There’s a soft microfleece lining inside which makes them very comfortable to wear. They are elasticated at the wrist, and the cuff comes quite a way over the wrist and is slightly elasticated at the hem, which does a good job of preventing cold seeping in at the wrists. There are other clever details such as a good-sized lug loop which makes it easy to pull the gloves on with one finger, and the gloves can be clipped together – which in my case helps not mislay or lose one. The Xenons come in black or marmalade, and are also available as a mitt.

Rab have good green credentials – they’re climate neutral, use an increasing amount of recycled fabrics (63% in 2022), and aim to remove fluorocarbons from all their products by the end of 2024.

For more information on Rab’s Xenon Gloves, click here.

Review date: April 2023 | Back to reviews