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Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's Review

An impressively water-resistant and comfortable softshell hybrid with improved breathability and premium features
Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's
Credit: Rab
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $230 List | $229.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Premium water-resistance, great hood design, adjustable cuffs, harness-compatible pockets, plush fabric
Cons:  Uncomfortable collar, not fully waterproof, no stuff sack
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Mary Witlacil ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 25, 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
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 11
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8.0
  • Breathability - 30% 7.0
  • Mobility - 25% 7.0
  • Weight - 10% 9.0
  • Versatility - 5% 8.0

Our Verdict

The ultra-stretchy and plush Rab Kinetic 2.0 was a review team favorite from the outset. This highly water-resistant softshell protects against light rain and wind (though it is not completely waterproof, so avoid using it in a down-pour) while being somewhat breathable. The stretchy fabric lends to unimpeded movement, making it a great mountain pursuit layer. We love the snug hood that features an inner gasket and outer moldable brim because it keeps moisture off your face. Other premium features include adjustable velcro cuffs and Napoleon-style harness-compatible pockets. If you need a water-resistant layer for summer monsoons in the mountains, but don't expect to need the protection of a waterproof hard shell, then this jacket might be the one for you.

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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $230 List
$229.95 at Backcountry
$250 List$92.14 at Amazon
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Pros Premium water-resistance, great hood design, adjustable cuffs, harness-compatible pockets, plush fabricExcellent mobility, great weather resistance, breathable, durable, harness-compatible hand pocketsLightweight, durable, breathable, affordable, premium features, quick dryingVery flexible, flattering fit, long torso, comfortable cuffInexpensive, stellar mobility and breathability, stow-away pocket, harness-friendly pockets, excellent fit
Cons Uncomfortable collar, not fully waterproof, no stuff sackThin, spendy, relatively heavyBelow average water resistance, baggy fit, hand pockets inaccessible with harnessGets wet very easily, thicker fabric is heavierNot very warm, below average water resistance
Bottom Line An impressively water-resistant and comfortable softshell hybrid with improved breathability and premium featuresA feature-rich, aesthetically pleasing technical softshell with great mobility, breathability, and excellent weather resistanceThis lightweight and breathable jacket has an arsenal of premium features for an affordable priceThis comfortable jacket will keep you protected and stylish, from climbing with friends to hanging at the coffee shopThis wicked light softshell has great mobility, is highly breathable and well-tailored - a perfect layer for fair-weather climbing or hiking
Rating Categories Rab Kinetic 2.0 - W... Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Outdoor Research Fe... Black Diamond Alpin... Rab Borealis - Women's
Weather Protection (30%)
8.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Breathability (30%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Mobility (25%)
7.0
8.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
Weight (10%)
9.0
5.0
7.0
10.0
9.0
Versatility (5%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Rab Kinetic 2.0 - W... Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Outdoor Research Fe... Black Diamond Alpin... Rab Borealis - Women's
Measured Weight 9.5 oz (size S) 14.5 oz (size S) 12.5 oz (size S) 6.5 oz (size S) 9 oz (size S)
Material Proflex: Recycled polyester knit face 3L with PU membrane and recycled polyester backer Wee Burly Double Weave (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane), DWR finish Body/hood: 86% nylon 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop
Shoulders/forearms: dordura 91% nylon, 9% spandex 120D stretch woven
Schoeller w/Eco-Repel Bio (93% nylon, 7% elastane) Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR
Type Active/Hybrid Active Active Active Active
Lined/Insulated? No No No No No
Hood? Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 2 hand 2 hand 3 (2 hand, 1 chest) 1 chest 2 hand
Adjustable Cuffs? Yes, Velcro No, stretch cuffs No, stretch cuffs No, stretch cuffs No, stretch cuffs
Available Sizes XS - XL 2XS - 2XL XS - 2XL XS - XL XS - XL

Our Analysis and Test Results

A hybrid softshell aims to provide an extra function beyond your typical softshell jacket. Some do this by adding insulation, others by adding extra weather resistance. Most hybrid softshells fail to triangulate between functions, proving the rule that a jack of all trades masters nothing. The newly released Rab Kinetic 2.0 bucks convention and proves the exception rather than the rule. It is a great example of a hybrid that provides the best water resistance of any jacket in our review without sacrificing breathability or mobility. If you need a lightweight, weather-resistant shell but don't want to feel stifled by a rain jacket, then read on to learn why this might be an ideal option.

Performance Comparison


Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's softshell jacket - the supple kinetic 2.0 moves well and is highly breathable, even...
The supple Kinetic 2.0 moves well and is highly breathable, even though it is the most water resistant jacket in our review!
Credit: Mary Witlacil

Weather Protection


Even though it is not a very warm jacket, the Kinetic 2.0 is the most water-resistant jacket we tested, earning it a favorable score in this metric.


The Kinetic 2.0 aced our soak-through test by resisting water absorption for a full 10 minutes, proving to be only a little damp to the touch. In light rain, it beaded off moisture and kept us dry. Despite the fully taped seams and waterproof zipper, it will eventually wet-out if you are in a heavy rainstorm. However, we found it to be a perfect layer for quick summer storms or lighter rain. It also provides excellent wind protection. The only reason this jacket didn't score higher is that the fabric is too thin to provide extra warmth. Then again, the thin water-resistant fabric lends to great breathability and mobility, so we would recommend using it with an insulating layer if you need added warmth.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's softshell jacket - the hood on the kinetic 2.0 is perfect for keeping rain off your face.
The hood on the Kinetic 2.0 is perfect for keeping rain off your face.
Credit: Mary Witlacil

Breathability


With how well the Kinetic 2.0 resists moisture, we would expect sub-par breathability, but we were consistently impressed by this jacket's ability to provide ventilation and wick moisture from our skin.



The Kinetic 2.0 is made from the soft and stretchy ProFlex fabric, which is designed to provide weather protection without sacrificing breathability. When hiking, it offered above-average breathability. While it did get a smidge swampier than other jackets in our review, you can open both pockets for increased ventilation. We were surprised by the breathability afforded by this jacket, as water resistance tends to correlate with an impermeable barrier that doesn't allow for effective ventilation (unless you are willing to foot the bill for a premium high-end hardshell). While the Kinetic did not breathe as well as the active softshells in our review, it does breathe better than many hard shells or rain jackets, proving to be a nimble companion on variable-weather days in the mountains.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's softshell jacket - the kinetic 2.0 breathes surprisingly well for a water-resistant...
The Kinetic 2.0 breathes surprisingly well for a water-resistant jacket. You can unzip the hand pockets for extra ventilation.
Credit: Mary Witlacil

Mobility


With supple, stretchy fabric and features designed for comfort, this is another category where the Kinetic 2.0 did pretty well. You can easily lift your hands overhead without uncomfortably lifting the jacket, and the sleeves are stretchy enough for most movement.


With 4-way stretchy and plush fabric, we did expect the Kinetic 2.0 to steal the show in this category. However, we found the collar to be a little too snug and stiff for our liking. Couple this with a rigid neck gaiter, and we found that when the jacket is fully zipped, the gaiter pokes you in the neck and puts pressure on the throat. This is only an issue when you're hiking in the rain and need to zip the jacket all the way. If it weren't for this, the jacket would have garnered top marks for mobility. It otherwise moves well and is very comfortable to wear, with or without a layer underneath.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's softshell jacket - the kinetic 2.0 is supple, stretchy, and nimble, allowing us to...
The Kinetic 2.0 is supple, stretchy, and nimble, allowing us to scramble with ease.
Credit: Mary Witlacil

Weight


At 9.5 ounces, the Kinetic 2.0 is one of the lighter jackets in our review.


This jacket was not only featherweight on the scale, but it feels light when wearing. We always appreciate a layer that masters that barely-there feel, so you can focus on having a blast while moving through the mountains.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's softshell jacket - weighing only 9.5 oz, this jacket couldn't possibly weigh us down.
Weighing only 9.5 oz, this jacket couldn't possibly weigh us down.
Credit: Mary Witlacil

Versatility


When we determine versatility, we consider all of the features for each jacket, as well as each jacket's ideal environments, climates, and activities. The Kinetic 2.0 garnered a slightly above-average score in terms of versatility. Aside from being less ideal for harsh weather or colder temps, there are a couple of design quirks that were obstacles to a higher score in this category.


The Kinetic 2.0 is both incredibly weather-resistant and breathable; however, given that it isn't very warm, it did not score high in terms of versatility. This is because it is up against technical softshells that are great for backcountry winter adventures and more nimble active softshells or hybrids that are more durable and have ideal features for rock climbing. That being said, this is the metric we give the lowest priority because it is one of the more subjective metrics, and if you've made it this far in the review, this jacket's versatility score isn't going to be a make-or-break deal.

We appreciate the many premium features offered by the Kinetic 2.0. This jacket boasts a great hood with a snug inner gasket and outer moldable brim, velcro-adjustable cuffs, and harness-compatible pockets. Couple these features with the plush, ultra stretchy, and incredibly weather-resistant fabric, and you have a great jacket for keeping protected from light mountain rains and windy days. We wish the updated version of this jacket came with a stuff sack, though. Past iterations of this jacket came with a stuff sack, and it definitely made it easier to stash this jacket in a pack or clip it to our harness.

Here our reviewer demonstrates how the stiff neck gaiter can poke...
Here our reviewer demonstrates how the stiff neck gaiter can poke you in the chin.
Harness and waist-belt compatible pockets make it easy to keep your...
Harness and waist-belt compatible pockets make it easy to keep your hands warm on the trail, or access your stashed things without taking off your pack or harness.
Velcro-adjustable cuffs make it easy to get a snug fit around your...
Velcro-adjustable cuffs make it easy to get a snug fit around your wrist, which makes the sleeves compatible with both gauntlet-style and over-the-cuff gloves.

Value


The Kinetic 2.0 is a good value. It is a lightweight, breathable, and nimble hybrid with exceptional water and wind resistance. Couple this with supple, cozy fabric and premium features, and you have a killer hybrid softshell for summer mountaineering and light rainstorms. Unfortunately, high-end features don't come cheap, and this jacket is no exception. That being said, you do get an excellent jacket that will easily prove its worth, making this layer easy to recommend despite the steep price tag.

Conclusion


We love the Rab Kinetic 2.0 it is soft, stretchy, water-resistant, and breathable. It moves well, has great features, and makes an exceptional layer for light rainstorms or wind in the high country.

Rab Kinetic 2.0 - Women's softshell jacket - the kinetic 2.0 is a fantastic weather resistant layer for mountain...
The Kinetic 2.0 is a fantastic weather resistant layer for mountain adventures when you'll encounter light rain or wind, but still want something breathable that moves well.
Credit: Mary Witlacil

Mary Witlacil
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