Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Review
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Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0
|Price||$140.00 at Backcountry|
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$169.00 at REI
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|Pros||Stretchy, very breathable, excellent adjustable hood||Super stretchy material, above average breathability, nice interior feel, lightweight, stuffs into its pocket||Solid weather protection, excellent hood design, relatively low weight and packed volume||Lightweight, breathable, inexpensive||Better breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable|
|Cons||Less waterproof than others, opposite-facing zipper||Average weather protection, easy to overtighten hood and squeeze ears||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two-layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||Zipper isn't waterproof, fabric wets out faster, thin material is less durable||No chest pocket, not quite as breathable as models that use a non-coated membrane|
|Bottom Line||This is an extra-stretchy, air-permeable rain jacket that is a phenomenal choice in inclement weather when maintaining mobility is a top priority||Constructed with a super stretchy material and offering superb mobility, this is the ideal rain shell for demanding activities||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex jacket is packed full of functional features||This affordable rain jacket will keep you dry enough in most situations and has many of the same features as more expensive models||A great jacket with an excellent price tag that offers above-average breathability|
|Rating Categories||Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0||Mountain Hardwear S...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Helly Hansen Loke||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Weight and Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0||Mountain Hardwear S...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Helly Hansen Loke||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Measured Weight||14.4 oz||10.5 oz||12.3 oz||9.5 oz||13.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||Proflex fabric with a breathable waterproof membrane||2.5-layer Dry.Q propriatary material||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite||HELLY TECH||NanoPro|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 interior left chest zip||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 zippered hand||2 hand||2 zippered hand|
|Hipbelt Friendly Hand Pockets?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Helmet Compatible Hood?||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket?||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With a hood made to work with a helmet and proprietary Proflex woven triple-layer stretch polyamide fabric, this rain jacket is meant for high-exertion outdoor activities.
The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is waterproof in all but extreme downpours. The exterior of the shell is made up of two different primary fabrics: a polyester knit face on the chest, back, and underarms, and a stretch polyamide (which feels like a more traditional rain jacket material) in the arms and hood. The two seem to strike a balance, with the knit fabric providing enhanced stretch and breathability in the areas that need it most and the stretch fabric providing more robust precipitation protection where possible.
During real-world use and in shower testing, both of these fabrics were robust, but the primary knit fabric wetted out noticeably faster than other top contenders in our review — we eventually felt water come through to the inside after drenching it for several minutes. Though this is not surprising, it is worth noting if you plan to be in extreme conditions. Having said that, for most daily outdoor use, the water resistance is more than sufficient.
The hood also has a built-in brim which helps keep rain from dripping down directly on your face, and its multiple points of adjustability and internal release toggles make it super fast to batten down the hatches when necessary. The waist also cinches down with elastic cord, and though the velcro cuffs rub just a little bit, they also close off tightly to limit the dreaded stream of water that can sometimes run down your arm.
This jacket has excellent breathability. The knit panels wick away moisture especially well which is super noticeable when working up a sweat on a cool day. Even when we felt cold, we never felt damp, which is a good sign that water vapor was escaping the inside of the jacket.
It's really important to remember to keep air-permeable fabrics, and all waterproof fabrics for that matter, as clean as possible. Because they rely on tiny pores that are loose enough for vapor to escape (but tight enough to keep water out), keeping the inside of this jacket grime-free is essential to maintaining breathability in the long run.
Comfort and Mobility
The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is super comfortable. The stretch fabric facilitates mobility in areas where it's most needed. The interior abdominal panels are soft, and the sleeves don't ride up when stretching forward. Because the hood accommodates a helmet, it is quite large, making it easy to hide from the wind and rain if you need to cover your face completely.
The hood is also the most comfortable of any we have tested. It tightens down around the face and also cradles the back of the head in a way that no other hood we've tested does. It stays super secure and moves with you rather than against you. Because of the material, this jacket is also less swishy, and we noticed that it is, in fact, comparatively easier to hear your surroundings with the hood up than with other models. The Alpine 2.0 also comes with two hand-warmer pockets with stretchy lining and an internal chest pocket for keeping small but critical items well-protected from the elements. We appreciate the felted zipper garage, which does a nice job of protecting the lips and chin from touching a cold metal zipper.
The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 has a fit that easily accommodates a fleece mid-layer but isn't so bulky that it gets in the way at all if you are also reaching for climbing holds or managing rope. It has a technical look and a double-zipper, which we really couldn't find a practical use for other than maybe adjusting a harness or hip belt underneath it without having to take off the jacket. One oddity for American users is that the zipper is the reverse of how it is typically sewn into men's clothing. That is, rather than the slider on the right-hand side, it is on the left. This didn't make a functional difference when using the coat, but we never really got used to closing it up.
Weight and Packability
This is one of just a couple of weak spots for this jacket. At 14.4 ounces for a size Medium, it still isn't heavy but if keeping weight to a minimum is a priority for you, you'll likely want to look elsewhere. The same goes for its packability. It can stuff down into a pack, though there is noticeably more material than its lightweight counterparts.
Still, we didn't mind carrying this jacket around. It's a little bulkier than the very top contenders, but the weight is certainly not a dealbreaker if all of the other features look and feel right for the type of activity you are doing.
We love the durability of this jacket. Both the stretch fabric and the reinforced panels are thick and abrasion resistant, and they held up well to bumps against rocks and ice without any signs of wear.
This triple-layer jacket is ready to take some knocks in the backcountry. We are confident that this coat can last for years of adventures in rugged terrain with proper maintenance.
Should You Buy the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0?
The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is a phenomenal option for hikers, climbers, and other adventurers who need to retain mobility, even (or especially) in adverse weather conditions. The air-permeable fabric in this jacket is exceptionally breathable, and its additional features are excellent. We think this technical jacket is well worth the investment for those who plan to use their shell for active adventuring and multi-day cool-weather treks that require the combination of durability and comfort that the Kinetic Alpine 2.0 provides.
What Other Rain Jackets Should You Consider?
The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 stands out for its stretchiness, durability, and comfort. If you are looking for a niche air-permeable stretchy rain jacket, the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket is another one of our favorites in this subcategory. For another high-scoring coat at about the same price point, the Outdoor Research Microgravity is worth a look. For durability, other comparable contenders are the Outdoor Research Foray II and Patagonia Torrentshell 3L. And if backcountry performance is paramount, then the award-winning Arc'Teryx Beta is a must-try.
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