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Rab Kinetic 2.0 Review

The stretchiest rain jacket we have ever tested, it provides unmatched freedom of movement and great breathability, making it ideal for cool weather activities
Rab Kinetic 2.0
Credit: Rab Equipment
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $230 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Unmatched stretch, mobility, freedom-of-movement, good breathability
Cons:  Average weather protection, you might find the slim fit doesn't accommodate layering
Manufacturer:   Rab Equipment
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 15
  • Water Resistance - 30% 6.0
  • Breathability & Venting - 25% 8.0
  • Comfort & Mobility - 18% 10.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 5% 8.0
  • Packed Size - 7% 7.0

Our Verdict

The incredibly stretchy Rab Kinetic 2.0 provides an unmatched level of freedom of movement. It's stretchier than many softshell jackets and it's also one of the more breathable options out there. It's perfect for winter or cool-weather activities like ice climbing, snowshoeing, or ski touring, where you want more weather protection than a softshell but want the warmth or weather protection of a hardshell. Its superb air-permeable design, slim, athletic fit, and tendency to wet out slightly faster than more traditional options make it less ideal for rainy low output activities where you will be subjected to this model's downsides.

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Rab Kinetic 2.0
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Rab Kinetic 2.0
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
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$300 List
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$279 List$159 List
$159.00 at REI
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Pros Unmatched stretch, mobility, freedom-of-movement, good breathabilityTop-tier stormworthiness, mobility and range of motion, hood design, long-lasting DWR, exceptional breathability, harness and hip-belt friendly pocketsGreat weather resistance, long-lasting DWR, breathable, pack-friendly pockets, helmet-compatible hood maintains good peripheral visionIncredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volumeBetter 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 layeringNo ventilation options, expensive, no easy way to clip to a harnessAverage weight and compressed size, bulky cutWets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interiorNo 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 activitiesThis stormworthy and function focused model is exceptionally versatile and offers some of the best performance in our reviewTop tier weather protection and breathability, coupled with an excellent set of outdoor oriented features make this one of our favorite models for soggy excursions into the backcountryOne of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional featuresA great jacket that offers above-average breathability, with an excellent price tag
Rating Categories Rab Kinetic 2.0 Arc'teryx Zeta SL REI Co-op Stormbolt... REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Marmot PreCip Eco
Water Resistance (30%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability & Venting (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Comfort & Mobility (18%)
10.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Durability (5%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Packed Size (7%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Rab Kinetic 2.0 Arc'teryx Zeta SL REI Co-op Stormbolt... REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Marmot PreCip Eco
Measured Weight (Medium) 12 oz 10.9 oz 14.5 oz 12.5 oz 13.5 oz
Waterproof Fabric Material Proflex 2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof breathable laminate 3-layer GORE-TEX 2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite NanoPro
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 3-layer, 100% recycled polyester 40-D ripstop (N40r) Gore-Tex Paclite Plus 30-D ripstop nylon Polyester 100% nylon ripstop
Pockets 2 hand 2 hand pockets 2 hand 2 hand 2 zip hand pockets
Are Lower Pockets Hipbelt Friendly? Yes Yes Yes No No
Pit Zips No Yes Yes No Yes
Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight) Yes No No No Yes
Stows Into Pocket? Yes No No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The incredibly stretchy Rab Kinetic 2.0 provides an unmatched level of mobility and freedom of movement. 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.

Performance Comparison


Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - the kinetic 2.0 offers an exceptional range of motion. it features...
The Kinetic 2.0 offers an exceptional range of motion. It features an unparalleled level of stretch and freedom of movement and looks and feels more like a softshell than a hardshell. It's ideal for activities like ice climbing, ski touring, or any other outdoor purist that requires excellent mobility.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Water Resistance


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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - for such a stretchy rain jacket, it provides decent dwr. however, it...
For such a stretchy rain jacket, it provides decent DWR. However, it was just so-so for prolonged outings in wet conditions but still performs better than many similarly priced models.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - you can see this model still beading up water after a week of use...
You can see this model still beading up water after a week of use, though it isn't beading as well as it did on day one.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - this photo highlights the double-layer hood design, with the inner...
This photo highlights the double-layer hood design, with the inner elastic hood, which goes over the top of your forehead. We were skeptical of this design but were surprised at how uncumbersome it felt and how well it allowed the hood to move with our heads.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Hood Design

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - one of the most significant upgrades of this new model is how nicely...
One of the most significant upgrades of this new model is how nicely the hood cinches down. The old version featured a Velcro strap that was so so, while the newer version has a more traditional elastic cinch cord. We found this to be a notable improvement.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - the hood maintains excellent peripheral vision and its unique...
The hood maintains excellent peripheral vision and its unique double-layered design is effective and comfortable.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - after testing each model's breathability via a side-by-side...
After testing each model's breathability via a side-by-side breathability test, the Kinetic is one of the more breathable models in our review. Its air-permeable design allows it to keep moving moisture, even after you've cooled down.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - the ultra-stretchy fabric offers some of the best mobility and range...
The ultra-stretchy fabric offers some of the best mobility and range of motion of any model we tested. It's also fairly lightweight and boasts decent breathability, which makes it a perfect option for activities with a higher aerobic threshold.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - this model is designed with a lower profile and more athletic cut...
This model is designed with a lower profile and more athletic cut. While we didn't find its sizing was "off" enough to warrant purchasing a size other than your "typical size", its tighter fit will limit your layering abilities. Much more than a single midweight jacket will prove to be a little on the tight side.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Fit

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - the zippered hand pockets are slightly elevated, which keeps them...
The zippered hand pockets are slightly elevated, which keeps them out of the way and accessible with low-profile pack waist belts. Bulkier backpacking waist belts will overlap a little (this depends a little on the user), but the zippers are low enough profile that we didn't feel any pinching pain. Since the pockets open from the top, they are still partially accessible when wearing a pack.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Pocket Design

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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - the kinetic 2.0 weighs in at around 12 ounces.
The Kinetic 2.0 weighs in at around 12 ounces.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Weight


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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - while this model didn't reverse into a pocket like many in our...
While this model didn't reverse into a pocket like many in our review, we like that it comes with a stuff sack, which did a good job of compressing the jacket.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Packed Size


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.


Durability


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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - for its price, the kinetic 2.0 packs in a great deal of value. no...
For its price, the Kinetic 2.0 packs in a great deal of value. No model can match the level of stretch and mobility that it provides while still offering top-notch comfortable and solid breathability.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Value


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.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 rain jacket - if you enjoy activities that require unencumbered freedom of...
If you enjoy activities that require unencumbered freedom of movement and maximum mobility, this super-stretchy model is one to consider.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion


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.

Ian Nicholson

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