Rab Kinetic 2.0 Review
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Rab Kinetic 2.0
|Price||$249.95 at Amazon|
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|$300 List||$169 List|
$169.00 at REI
$74.73 at REI
|Pros||Unmatched stretch, mobility, freedom-of-movement, good breathability||Super stretchy material, above average breathability, nice interior feel, lightweight, stuffs into its pocket||Super light, ultra compact, trim fit, excellent breathability, weather protection compared to others in its weight class, stuffs into a pocket, hood moves very well with its user||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume||Better breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable|
|Cons||Average weather protection, you might find the slim fit doesn't accommodate layering||Average weather protection, easy to overtighten hood and squeeze ears||Average weather protection overall, no pockets, no clip in point on stuff sack, elastic wrist loops are basic, trim/athletic cut doesn't facilitate layering||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||No chest pocket, not quite as breathable as models that use non-coated membrane|
|Bottom Line||The stretchiest rain jacket we have ever tested, it provides unmatched freedom of movement and great breathability, making it ideal for cool weather activities||Constructed with a super stretchy material and offering superb mobility, this is the ideal rain shell for demanding activities||If you participate in activities where every ounce matters and you also need excellent weather protection and breathability, few can match this model for its weight||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features||A great jacket that offers above-average breathability, with an excellent price tag|
|Rating Categories||Rab Kinetic 2.0||Mountain Hardwear S...||The North Face Flig...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (20%)|
|Weight & Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Rab Kinetic 2.0||Mountain Hardwear S...||The North Face Flig...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||12 oz||10.5 oz||7.25 oz||12.5 oz||13.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||Proflex||2.5 layer Dry.Q propriatary material||20D FutureLight 3L||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite||NanoPro|
|Pockets||2 hand||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||1 interior||2 hand||2 zip hand pockets|
|Hipbelt Friendly Hand Pockets||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The incredibly stretchy Rab Kinetic 2.0 provides a range of motion that no other jacket in our review could match. It's stretchier than many softshell jackets and still offers excellent breathability and a cozy interior feel. This, coupled with its trim fit, make it perfect for any high-energy activity. It provides respectable but not exceptional weather protection and is perfect for most days on the move. However, it's hardly our first choice for lower energy output days in the rain.
The Kinetic 2.0 uses Rab's propriety Proflex waterproof membrane for its weather protection. Proflex is ultra-stretchy — stretchier than we have ever seen in a waterproof jacket. Rab is able to do this by using a PU (polyurethane) membrane.
Next, instead of laminating it to a traditional polyester or nylon exterior like what can be found on most waterproof shells, they attached it to a super tight-knit polyester exterior. The exterior knit polyester has a plush feeling, but it is so tight that even to the touch it's difficult to discern if it's a softshell or a hardshell. Its exterior sports a cozy feeling and is constructed with a brushed polyester fabric on the inside.
While its weather resistance is respectable, it's not extraordinary. It is more weather resistant than you'd expect simply going by feel and seeing how stretchy it is. In the first stages of testing, the Durable Water Repellent, or DWR, remained solid. After a bit of wear, we remained dry, but the exterior of the jacket would start to wet out, making the jacket feel damp on the inside. Most of the time, especially if we were moving and generating some heat, it was adequate. After extended periods in wet weather or if we found ourselves standing around, the exterior fabrics would start to wet out.
With that in mind, the Kinetic 2.0 performs better than the most basic coated membrane models. If we knew we were going to get rained on for extended periods, we preferred a burlier rain jacket, like the Arc'teryx Zeta SL or REI DryPoint GTX. We appreciated several of the small features built into this jacket's design, which kept the elements out while playing in foul weather. Features like the low-profile Velcro cuffs, which were extremely comfortable and rarely snagged kept the wetness out better than most when our hands were above our head.
The hood employs a unique design that we haven't really seen any major brands attempt. The hood has a two-part design with two layers to it; the first and outermost layer is like any hood you've seen, which has a brim and Velcro cinch straps The second hangs down below the brim of the hood that wraps above the wearer's forehead and acts like a gaiter of sorts, with an elastic cuff that keeps it in place.
The majority of our testers were skeptical of this design before using it; they thought it would be uncomfortable, would offer poor peripheral vision, and might even border on claustrophobic feeling. However, after extensive use, it proved to be none of these things. To our surprise, this design is extremely comfortable and kept the wetness out while moving with the tester, maintaining some of the best peripheral vision in our review.
The hood doesn't feature an elastic cinching mechanism. Instead, it uses a single Velcro tap on the back of the hood, which can be used to tighten the hood. We usually don't find similar designs to be very effective, as they often limit peripheral vision. However, this design — with its internal hood gaiter — proved otherwise. While this model is undoubtedly geared toward climbers or backcountry skiers, it's worth noting that it doesn't fit over a bike, climbing, or ski helmet. However, it is low profile and comfortable enough that it can easily be worn underneath one.
Breathability and Venting
The Kinetic 2.0 is one of the more breathable models in our review. Its PU laminate is more breathable than the models that feature coated membranes, and near or equally as breathable as many ePTFE models (Gore-Tex and eVent fall into this category, though their water resistance is generally longer-lasting).
This makes this jacket ideal for higher exertion activities like ski touring, snowshoeing, ice climbing, or any other activity that you want to be able to continue to work hard despite the element. Our testing team loves how this model's brushed polyester lining feels and it is the least clammy feeling against our skin. The Kinetic 2.0 doesn't feature any ventilation options. Technically speaking, its two pockets can be used to dump some heat and moisture, but it is a pretty minuscule amount. When determining the significance, we found that breathability is far more important than venting; for example, if it's pouring or you're walking on a damp, overgrown trail, opening up your vents is a quick way to get wet.
Comfort and Mobility
Mobility and freedom of movement are the main reasons we would buy the Kinetic 2.0 and are easily what set it apart from other models in our review. It features nice articulation and a great deal of thought went into this design to minimize bunching and maximize the range of motion. However, what really helps it blow the competition out of the water is how stretchy the material is. In some pretty basic side-by-side testing, our testers agree the Kinetic 2.0 is at least twice as stretchy as the next closest jacket in our review.
Anyone looking for a rain shell they can wear for strenuous activities like ice climbing, alpine climbing, ski touring, or snowshoeing, this is a model worth considering. It can be worn instead of a softshell on particularly cold or wet days with minimal downsides to any other cool weather layer you might consider.Comfort
In addition to an excellent range of motion, the Kinetic 2.0 has one of the best feeling interior fabrics of any model in our review. For a rain jacket, it feels amazingly soft, even against bare skin. This fabric is more of a wicking fabric, whereas the interior materials of most rain jackets are primarily designed to protect the waterproof membrane, which has been sandwiched inside.
The Kinetic 2.0 has one of the more athletic cuts, which means it has an overall slimmer fit. Fortunately, we could still fit a thin fleece (such as a Patagonia R1) even in our tester's "normal" size. If you're looking to buy this jacket to layer underneath, you'll want to consider sizing up, especially if you are between sizes. The only other jackets that fit similarly (as slim) re the Patagonia Storm10 and The North Face Flight Lightriser.
The Kinetic 2.0's pockets are slightly elevated and super pack and harness friendly; this means they are located just high enough that they won't pinch or be rendered inaccessible under the weight of a pack's waistbelt or a climbing harness. This is something that most outdoor enthusiasts can appreciate.
Weight and Packability
This model is just barely under 12 ounces. While it isn't quite as light as some minimal models, which clock in around 6.6-8.5 ounces, it's significantly more durable and offers better breathability and a superior range of motion. Still, even at 12 ounces, it is light enough for most climbers, ski tourers, or hikers who will appreciate its other benefits and should still appeal to all but the most weight-conscious users.
This model packed down slightly smaller than average. It's small enough for most weight and packed volume-conscious users, but isn't particularly anything special. It doesn't feature a reversible pocket or any sort of integrated stuff feature, which would have been a nice extra for the climbing crowd. However, it can still be rolled up nicely into its hood for folks who want a tighter package.
The Kinetic 2.0 is tough enough to make it suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities.
It's one of the more puncture and abrasion-resistant models we tested and is a good option for backpacking, hiking, ski touring, and alpine rock climbing. Its DWR is decent but not as long-lasting as other comparably priced models.
For a medium-priced rain shell, this jacket packs in a ton of unique performance characteristics. For those comparing it against highly water-resistant softshells or other stretchy rain jackets (most of which aren't nearly as stretchy), this model is a pretty reasonable price. It is more than the most basic models but less than the fully-featured or heavy-duty ones, many of which we'd rather use the Kinetic 2.0 for - for a number of applications.
If unencumbered freedom of movement and maximum mobility are priorities for your rain jacket, the super-stretchy Rab Kinetic 2.0 should be a strong consideration. It's not the best model for spending extended periods in heavy downpours, as it would wet out a bit faster than similarly priced options. If you expect to stand in the rain without moving much, we would recommend another option, as its air-permeable design will feel slightly "colder" than non-air-permeable options. However, for more active endeavors where rain or snow is a possibility, its breathability, athletic fit, sweet hood design, and cozy feel make it an excellent choice.
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