Amy our Exeter Store Assistant manager has had the Sonic Ultra vest for 12 months, here is the long term review:
The Women’s Sonic Ultra Vest, brand new to us here at Taunton Leisure for Spring/Summer 2023, forms part of Rab’s ‘Skyline’ family, designed to maximize comfort on long runs and fast-paced hikes. As I’m never shy of sweating through a few miles on two feet, I was first to volunteer to put it through its paces!
Saying that… Having volunteered to test it to its limits, I was suddenly filled with a sense of dread as it dawned on me that despite my love for muddy ultra-marathons and sweaty sessions in the bouldering gym, I’ve never felt entirely comfortable or confident wearing a vest, usually opting instead to wear a slightly baggier t-shirt that covers the tops of my arms and doesn’t emphasise my stomach.
I am pleased to report, however, that after trying it on for the first time in our Exeter shop I was easily able to put those worries to the back of my mind. The ‘slim fit’ cut of the vest felt streamlined, but not clingy and despite the extreme lightness of the Motiv™ fabric you couldn’t see through it. Winner!
I can easily understand why Rab opted for a racer-back design for this piece as during 100% of its life so far I’ve been wearing a sports bra underneath it, though I must admit the necessity for the laser-cut venting holes on the back of the neck was lost on me? (Though they do give a nice techy-looking finish).
In my experience, the slightest bit of irritation caused by clothing/kit can completely ruin your time in the great outdoors. It’s like having a stone in your shoe. A slightly rough seam on the inside of a t-shirt plagued me for the entire second half of the Brighton Marathon a few years ago. It went in the bin at mile twenty-five marker so that I could finish my race without crying!
This might be why I’m a huge fan of the flat ‘micro-active’ seams on the Sonic Ultra Vest. The seams felt strong, but comfortable at the same time. No red marks or chafing even after twenty-plus miles under a hydration vest and it didn’t constantly ride up at the front, something that I have found can be equally as frustrating from many other form-fitting women’s tops.
The yarn used has a large surface area making it far better at moving moisture away from your body quickly and I feel completely confident in vouching for its wicking capabilities having recently trialled it on a 100km multi-day hiking challenge across the Jurassic Coast in unseasonably warm weather. Even after some serious sweating (partly from exertion, partly from just how terrifying some of the hills were) I felt dry and comfortable all day.
I was particularly grateful for the antibacterial coating on the fabric as once I had reached the finish line I realised that I definitely smelled better than I should have after several days of hard grafting. It performed equally well as part of my layering system in the much colder months during a recent company trip to the Scottish Highlands.
The vest comes in three colours and has a reflective logo at the base hem, as well as small reflective lozenges protecting seam junctions at high wear areas such as the hips. Having worn it regularly now for nearly six months, usually whilst carrying a daysack, it’s showing very little sign of wear.
I’ve found it washes best a cool temperature with NikWax Base Wash and dries almost instantly.
Though I have more testing to do as we progress into summer, I happy that the Sonic Ultra Vest lives up to its credentials. From casual 10k’s around the city, to the Cairngorms in winter, from the sweaty climbs at the gym, to fast-paced hikes across Dartmoor, this vest has managed to keep up with me so far.
I look forward to seeing what it (and I) can survive next…
Our team member Dave reviews the men’s version here