Based out of the UK, Rab has been making gear for inclement mountain weather since the 1980’s. With a focus on climbing and hiking, everything Rab makes is capable and functional. When it comes to the new Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket, it’s a waterproof, breathable shell that can confidently be used for high-output adventures like backcountry touring, snowshoeing or trail running.
Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket Features:
- Proflex™ waterproof/breathable fabric (recycled polyester knit face 3L with PU membrane)
- Under helmet elasticated hood, with a stiffened and flexible polymer peak
- Rear hood adjustment
- YKK Aquaguard center front and pocket zippers
- Brushed tricot chin guard
- Single end adjustable drawcord hem
- Velcro adjustable cuffs
- Center back length (Size M): 71 cm / 28 in
- MSRP: $230
Kinetic 2.0 walks the walk
Waterproof and breathable fabrics are nothing new. The biggest name in the business has been pushing their fabrics since the 1980’s. But, a lot has changed in fabric construction and waterproof membranes since the first Top Gun was in the theaters. Primarily, fabrics touted as “breathable” are now actually, in fact breathable while remaining waterproof, as advertised.
The latest crop of weatherproof materials comes in many names and proprietary blends, but Rab is justifiably jazzed on their Proflex fabric. At its core, it sounds very similar to the usual suspects, with a 3-layer sandwich and a PU membrane compressed in the middle. But, what makes Proflex unique is right there in its name — “FLEX.” You see, while others make waterproof jackets, very few also offer the wild amount of 4-way stretch that you’ll find with the Kinetic 2.0. It’s a unique characteristic and one that makes this jacket supremely-comfortable in the mountains and allows it to stand out among the usual suspects.
When zipping up the Kinetic 2.0, it’s easy to notice just how quiet it is. That quiet fabric allows you to enjoy the natural sounds of the mountains, not the swish-swish of your jacket. Since it is quiet, it makes sense that it’s also soft and comfortable. The inner fabric of waterproof jackets can ofttimes feel cold, sticky and awkward, but I can wear the Kinetic 2.0 with short-sleeve shirts and my arms don’t stick to it or otherwise become clammy.
Without question, the Kinetic 2.0 would be a top choice for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing or backpacking, but my limit-testing was done on cold days while trail running. Admittedly, it’s not an ideal trail running jacket, but with all that stretch and breathability, it actually performs way better than expected. With quiet motion and natural flex, running in this jacket is great and it keeps both the cold wind and inclement weather at bay. At the end of a 5-mile run, any perspiration is dispersed along the inside of the jacket and not beaded up anywhere. You can tell that the 3-layer Proflex fabric is doing its job perfectly as it works to dissipate moisture. Breathability here is fantastic.
Kudos to Rab for also adding a little extra sleeve and hem length for proper coverage. I can move my arms over my head and reach out — all without exposing my wrists to the elements. This is particularly noticeable when worn with gloves.
Is it waterproof?
Now let’s talk about how waterproof this jacket is. When a jacket is “waterproof,” that usually means it utilizes a waterproof membrane construction, taped seams and a DWR (durable water resistant) treatment to the face fabric. Those three things work together to ensure you are kept dry when Mother Nature is at her worst. As you’ll notice, Rab doesn’t use much (if any) DWR treatment with the Kinetic 2.0. As you can see, the shoulders and hood get saturated and the water doesn’t really bead up much at all. In spite of that, the most serious rain tests I’ve performed do show that this jacket remains waterproof.
Of course, the 3-layer Proflex fabric does have a waterproof membrane with taped seams. But, as mentioned earlier, it also breathes well. That waterproof/breathable combination hasn’t always been true, but it certainly is here. So, don’t worry that the face fabric absorbs a little bit of water because that’s as far as it goes. In all my testing, moisture has been kept out and perspiration escapes.
Maximum hood coverage and other bits
Aside from the stretchy and capable fabric, the Rab Kinetic 2.0 has one of the most unique hoods I’ve used. When down, the collar sits under the chin and can feel a little clunky. The full elastic around the perimeter of the hood cinches the collar to provide weather protection when the hood is not in use. It’s almost like wearing a scarf as opposed to a typical hood when not in use.
As a Seattle native, I have a thing for hoods and when deployed, you’ll find that the Kinetic 2.0’s hood is second-to-none as far as weather protection goes. It’s easiest to unzip the collar a bit, then pull the hood on, but it can stretch enough to put on without unzipping — particularly if you have a shaved head. Once on, you’ll notice that it functions almost like a ski mask by wrapping around the perimeter of your face. In addition, the brim then directs water off your face. You’ll want to give the rear cinch a little tug to ensure the hood sits properly and doesn’t droop down your forehead.
The dual front pockets are accessible with a pack on and are extra tall and perfect for stashing a pair of climbing skins on a quick backcountry descent. They will stay nice and warm and easily accessed when it comes time to hit the skin track.
While I did sing the praises of the sleeve length, I’m not quite as fond of the gaps in the hook-and-loop closure. The comfortable cuff diameter for me puts the tab squarely between the patches and allows the tab to stick outward. A continuous length of the material would solve this issue.
If you’re packing the Kinetic 2.0 into a backpack or bag, it can compress down to about the size of a standard bike water bottle. It’s also a respectably-light weight overall (320g size medium), so it can be brought along in case of inclement weather during the summer.
Fit: At 5’11” and 173 lbs., I’m wearing the size medium.
- Quiet, soft fabric
- Stretchy beyond what waterproof typically is
- Remains 100% waterproof
- Unique hood delivers excellent coverage on or off
- Longer sleeves keep your wrists covered and connected with gloves
- Single hem toggle works great
- Breathes well
- Construction quality is excellent
- Gap in the hook-and-loop closure right where I need it
- The elastic on the hood can press down on your eyebrows
- Lack of DWR does seem odd (but it remains waterproof)
The Bottom Line: Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket
As it turns out, Rab is onto something with the combination of fabrics and unique design elements on the Kinetic 2.0 Jacket. The 4-way stretch allows this jacket to perform like a champ for high-intensity adventures. All movements are uninhibited and coverage is superb. That hood is truly unique and offers the most weatherproof design I’ve ever tested, but can feel a little cumbersome.
Buy Now: Available at Backcountry.com