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Rab Kinetic 2.0 Review

This waterproof softshell jacket is one of the few hybrid models that we have found to be highly breathable
rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review
Credit: Rab
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $250 List | $249.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Waterproof, comfortable, stretchy
Cons:  Small hood, light on features
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2022
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9.0
  • Breathability - 30% 8.0
  • Mobility - 25% 7.0
  • Weight - 10% 8.0
  • Versatility - 5% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Rab Kinetic 2.0 is a hybrid softshell jacket that offers exceptional wet weather protection generally reserved for hardshell jackets while maintaining the breathability and mobility we typically associate with softshells. We find the brushed inner lining to be comfortable against the skin and not clammy even when we are hard at work, and the stretch-woven fabric keeps us unencumbered. This stretchy waterproof jacket is at home in inclement weather, especially when engaging in athletic activities. We like it so much for use in borderline weather conditions that we easily grace it with an award.

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rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review
This Product
Rab Kinetic 2.0
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $249.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$249 List$225 List
Check Price at REI
$289 List
$289.00 at Amazon
$129 List
$129.00 at REI
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Pros Waterproof, comfortable, stretchyDurable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulnessExcellent weather protection, great mobilityAthletic fit, easy to regulate heat, stretchySuper breathable, durable, inexpensive
Cons Small hood, light on featuresLimited water resistance, fitted cuffsSlightly heavy, larger sizingZipper can be finicky, slightly heavierPoor wet weather protection
Bottom Line This waterproof softshell jacket is one of the few hybrid models that we have found to be highly breathableThis is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabricThis is a softshell ready for the worst weather you can throw at itIf you are looking for an extremely breathable softshell, this jacket is a great choiceThis budget-friendly softshell is one of our favorites for summertime rock climbing
Rating Categories Rab Kinetic 2.0 Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Marmot ROM Hoody Mammut Ultimate VII... Outdoor Research Fe...
Weather Protection (30%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Breathability (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
Mobility (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
Weight (10%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (5%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
Specs Rab Kinetic 2.0 Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Marmot ROM Hoody Mammut Ultimate VII... Outdoor Research Fe...
Measured Weight (size medium) 11.6 oz 17 oz 16.1 oz 17.9 oz 13.4 oz
Material 100% recycled polyester Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane) GORE-TEX Infinium: 92% recycled nylon, 8% elastane, plain weave, 170g/sqm 100% recycled polyester, Gore-Tex Infinium 86% nylon (46% recycled), 14% spandex
Type Technical Active Active Technical Active
Lined/Insulated? No No No Mesh backing Yes, lining 91% nylon, 9% spandex
Hood? Yes, under helmet with rear hood adjustment Yes, helmet compatible, adjustable StormHood Yes, hood compatible Yes, helmet compatible and adjustable Yes, climbing helmet compatible, adjustable, stowable
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 2 (hand) 3 (2 handwarmer, 1 internal) 2 zippered hand, 1 zippred chest 3 (2 hand, 1 chest) 3 (2 hand, 1 chest)
Adjustable Cuffs? Yes, velcro Stretch cuffs Yes, vecro Stretch cuffs Elastic cuffs
Available Sizes S - XXL XS - XXL S - XXL S - 3XL S - XXXL

Our Analysis and Test Results

We put this jacket to the test, climbing peaks in the Eastern Sierra Nevada range on foot and on skis, climbing athletic rock routes in cool spring conditions, and hiking in the foothills. We also tested it thoroughly in our at-home shower tests. The Kinetic 2.0 is a well-rounded hybrid jacket that offers hardshell and softshell performance without too many reasons not to recommend it.

Performance Comparison


rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review - pulling rope or seeing if the rain is going to start falling? either...
Pulling rope or seeing if the rain is going to start falling? Either way we are dressed for success in the Kinetic 2.0.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weather Protection


One of the most weatherproof shells that we tested in our review, the Kinetic 2.0 is the only jacket we look at that has a waterproof fabric, rather than just being reliant upon a DWR treatment which is standard for softshell jackets. Rab's Proflex fabric is waterproof, has taped seams, and keeps water out for a much longer time than the treated jackets, although the fabric wets out quicker than a hardshell with a 3-layer waterproof fabric such as Gore-Tex.


Adjustable cuff closures seal out cold drafts around wrists and allow for gloves. The Kinetic is also equipped with a hood featuring a stretchy elastic gasket that gives it an extra good seal and a single point rear adjustment — this is an improvement over the Kinetic 1.0, which only featured a small velcro tab for adjusting the hood sizing. This hood is designed to be used underneath a helmet, which may not be preferable for some. We found it nearly impossible to wear this hood over a helmet. Our main gripe about this style is that you have to remove your helmet to put on or remove your hood, which is not the most ideal (of safe) if you are climbing.

Sealing tight over our gloves, we appreciate the adjustable wrist...
Sealing tight over our gloves, we appreciate the adjustable wrist cuffs on this jacket.
Much more waterproof than any other softshell jacket we have tested...
Much more waterproof than any other softshell jacket we have tested, at some point the fabric wets out (but we still stayed dry inside)

Breathability


We have long joked about hardshell jackets being advertised as "waterproof/breathable" because, in reality, you can typically only choose one. Not so with the Rab Kinetic 2.0. While the waterproofness offered by the Proflex is not of the same level as what you might get out of a dedicated hardshell, the breathability that you get is quite good. It helps that this jacket is thin and unlined, so moisture can more easily pass through the fabric's membrane. Worn over a light baselayer, even during aerobic activity, we did not overheat.


The light texturing inside the jacket provides softness such that during exercise, you don't get the clammy feeling that often accompanies a hardshell outer layer. Some users have complained about the lack of pit zips, which are quite a common feature on hardshell jackets to provide an escape for heat and perspiration. However, we found that the Kinetic 2.0 breathed well enough on its own. If unzipping the front zipper by several inches did not do the trick to dump heat, then we were probably moving too fast for a softshell jacket to keep up anyway, and a lighter weight layer like a windshirt might be more appropriate.

rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review - plenty breathable, until you try to zip the chin up while wearing a...
Plenty breathable, until you try to zip the chin up while wearing a helmet!
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Mobility


One of the things that always makes true hardshell jackets feel clumsy and uncomfortable is their diminished mobility. Even when they are supposedly stretch-woven, it still feels like you have to make sure the sizing allows for freedom of movement since you probably won't gain much from the stretch of the fabric alone. That is what makes the Rab Kinetic 2.0 so appealing. You get the benefit of waterproof fabric but don't have to give up the flexibility that a softshell offers. We could not tell the difference in mobility between a similar midweight softshell jacket and this one when it came to running, jumping, hiking, climbing, reaching, or stretching.


For climbing applications, we found that the hem on the Kinetic 2.0 was a little short and would often creep up from underneath a harness while extending our arms to a hard-to-reach handhold. Additionally, as mentioned above, the hood does not work well over a helmet — this configuration does not allow you to fully close the zipper. While this jacket is excellent for many endeavors, climbing is not one of its strong suits.

rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review - a good test, reaching high overhead and seeing if the jacket pulls...
A good test, reaching high overhead and seeing if the jacket pulls up out of the harness.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


With a verified weight of 11.6 ounces in a men's size medium, the Rab Kinetic 2.0 offers excellent performance for its weight.


Sure, there are jackets that we have reviewed here that shave several ounces off, but for its weather protection alone, we cannot argue with the fact that Rab has made a top-tier hybrid jacket at a before unheard of weight.

rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review - exceptionally light especially given its waterproofness.
Exceptionally light especially given its waterproofness.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Versatility


Considering that in the Rab Kinetic 2.0, you are basically getting two jackets — a hardshell and a softshell — one offering excellent wet weather protection and the other giving you top-notch mobility and breathability for high-output activities, we feel like this is quite a versatile jacket. Why have to pick sides when packing for a trip, wondering what the weather will do when you can grab this one off the hanger and be assured that no matter what the skies decide to do, you have an outer layer that will adapt to the conditions as necessary.


The Kinetic 2.0 is unlined and uninsulated, so don't expect to get any of the added warmth that some of the other jackets give when the cold winds blow out of the north. That said, for the weight, you can easily add a thin base layer underneath if needed. The trim fit might not work for everyone, and if you are tall or find yourself on the fence between sizes frequently, consider sizing up. Rab describes the fit as "regular," though it definitely runs a bit on the slim side. Most of the color options are flashy outdoor colors, though a couple of more subtle tones could allow this jacket to be utilized for more casual outings as well, rather than just in the outdoors, where "be safe, be seen" is often the mantra.

rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review - designed to be worn under the helmet, some might not like the small...
Designed to be worn under the helmet, some might not like the small size of the hood - we didn't.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Value


We feel that this jacket is not just good, but a great value. You get a softshell jacket with additional waterproofing beyond what any other typical softshell delivers, that is comfortable and that feels durable. For the price, we heartily recommend it.

Conclusion


Hybrid products can often leave us wanting, and sacrifices are made to give more attention to one aspect of the combination than the other. Waterproof and breathable are great examples. But once in a blue moon, something like the Rab Kinetic 2.0 comes along and delivers on both promises. This jacket could be described as the "softest hardshell" or the "most waterproof softshell," both of which are accurate. However you care to describe it, the Kinetic 2.0 is a fantastic option for those who regularly venture into wetter weather and need the stretch and mobility that a softshell is known for.

rab kinetic 2.0 softshell jacket review - ah, spring in the sierra. rain one minute, snow the next, and blue...
Ah, spring in the Sierra. Rain one minute, snow the next, and blue skies in between. Funky weather like this calls for the Kinetic 2.0.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

Ryan Huetter
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