Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Good rain protection, comfortable, durable.
Cons: Expensive, not heavily featured.
Best Uses: Backpacking, hiking, lifestyle.
REIís Kimtah jacket is a medium weight rainshell that would be ideal for long bouts of exposure to the elements or as a lifestyle piece for rainy climates. For hiking or backpacking in rainy conditions where weight is not a huge concern, the Kimtah Jacket will provide excellent protection against the elements.
The jacket is generally of a streamlined design, offering little in the way of comfort features, but does provide excellent rain protection and a small amount of increased ventilation by way of mesh lined pockets. The large hood and brim accommodate a helmet and provide great rain protection. The sleeves feature asymmetrical cuffs that increase coverage across the top of the hands and the cuffs tighten down with simple Velcro catch.
A small chest pocket with a headphone cord port has enough room for an iPhone in one of those giant otter boxes, so it should accommodate almost any phone. The two front pockets are positioned high enough to allow access over the hip belt of a backpack. While not the heaviest jacket that we tested, itís also not the lightest. It also doesnít pack down into one of its own pockets so transport can be somewhat cumbersome, though it isnít so large as to be a nuisance.
All in all, the Kimtah excels at keeping the rain off and is a great jacket for light backpacking or hiking in the rain, or as lifestyle piece in rainy climates. We wouldnít recommend it for ultra-light adventures due to its weight and inability to pack down super small. Nor would we recommend it for long periods of high-output activity as it has little in the way of extra ventilation. But as an all-around solid rain jacket, this will do the trick. For the best in super lightweight jacket design, check out the Montane Minimus Jacket or for the ultimate feather-weight rain shell: Outdoor Research Helium 2. Our Editors' Choice award in all-around rainwear that offers slightly less burly rain protection but increased ventilation is the Marmot Oracle.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Comfort and Mobility
REIís Kimtah Jacket is not loaded down with comfort features, but the fit is good and it provides good protection from the elements. The interior of the jacket has a different texture and feel than that of the other jackets we tested, making it the most comfortable jacket to throw on over a t-shirt.
The sleeves are asymmetrically cut, providing increased coverage over the top of the hands and the hood is roomy with a large brim. The front pockets are lined with mesh and are positioned high enough so as to allow for access over a backpackís waist belt.
We found the jacketís fit to be good. The waistline is slightly lower than that of other jackets, providing increased coverage when reaching high, as well as increased rain protection for the upper sections of the lower body. We generally didnít find the jacket to be restricting in any way, although the fabric is noticeably thicker than other jackets we tested, making is somewhat stiffer to move around in.
While this jacket does not have pit zips to help with ventilation during high exertion activity, it does not seem to get as clammy as some of the other jackets that we tested. We attribute this to the presence of mesh lined front pockets and the three-layer E-vent fabric.
The fabric on this jacket is noticeably thicker than the other jackets we tested, and while there isn't a liner in the traditional sense, the inside of the jacket does not have the same texture as other rain jackets which, we believe, contributed to less clammy condensation inside.
REIís Kimtah Jacket offers great water resistance and protection from the elements, stemming both from the E-vent fabric itself and design features that help keep water out.
Three-layer E-vent fabric prevents water from seeping in through the fabric. All seams are taped tight so no water sneaks in through these typically problematic areas. The front pocket zippers are waterproof and DWR coated so water has a tough time making through and the front zipper is protected by a storm flap.
A roomy hood with a large brim provides good protection for the face, asymmetrically cut cuffs with Velcro cinches keep water from entering in through the sleeves and the jacket has a longer cut at the waist, providing extended torso coverage.
Overall it has bomber rain protection.
Weight and Bulk
While not the heaviest jacket we tested, this is also not the lightest jacket either. We weighed the jacket at 14.55 ounces, making is lighter than REIís Ultralight Jacket and a solid middle of the road contender. We wouldnít recommend this jacket as a go-to for endeavors where weight is of the utmost importance. But for adventures where a rain jacket is needed and weight is not a huge issue, or as a lifestyle piece, this jacket might quickly become the one that leaves the closet most.
Though the Kimtah is not loaded down with design features, it does offer a few things that are a step above the minimalist jacket. For instance, two mesh-lined front pockets are positioned high enough to allow for access even while wearing a backpack with a hip belt. These pockets can also be opened during high-exertion activity to increase ventilation through the jacket. An additional chest pocket features an earphone cord port and is large enough to accommodate an iPhone or a small digital camera.
Asymmetrically cut sleeve cuffs with snow resistant Velcro closures provide additional protection from the elements and a longer waist increases coverage when reaching overhead. Additionally, a roomy hood with a large brim can accommodate a helmet while still providing good protection from the rain.
The basic functions of the elastic drawstrings along the waistline and hood are simple to tighten down with one hand and they stay tight once cinched. All the zippers are protected from seeping water either by waterproof coating or storm flaps.
Backpacking or hiking in rainy conditions. Lifestyle piece. Could double as a shell for skiing or other winter activities due to snow resistant cuffs closures and heavier duty fabric.
— Rob Beno
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Most recent review: November 20, 2012
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