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Rab Kinetic Plus Hoody - Women's Review

Soft, supple, and waterproof - a perfect layer for rainy hikes and mountain adventures
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $230 List | $137.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Waterproof, soft flexible fabric, great fit, excellent cuff and hood design, lightweight, highly packable
Cons:  Waterproof material decreases breathability, pricey
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  May 7, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 14
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 5
  • Mobility - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Rab Kinetic Plus is an impressive hybrid that expertly joins the suppleness of a softshell with the waterproofing of a light rain jacket. Protective, stretchy, highly mobile, and stylish, this is an excellent layer for summer mountaineering, alpine rock climbing, or weathering rainstorms while traveling. This gem of a hybrid is the only fully waterproof jacket in our review. While the waterproofing means there's less breathability than there would be with more traditional material, it's substantially better than what you receive with something like a hardshell. Hybrids can be tricky, but overall the Kinetic manages to cover a lot of bases pretty darn successfully. This is why we awarded the Kinetic our Top Pick for Summer Monsoons.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kinetic Plus is a luxurious-feeling waterproof softshell that is lightweight, packable (it even comes with its own stuff-sack!), highly versatile, and features excellent mobility. If your adventures tend to include run-ins with thunderstorms or precip, this jacket might be the one for you.

Performance Comparison


The Kinetic Plus is a great layer for playing in the mountains and forest.
The Kinetic Plus is a great layer for playing in the mountains and forest.

Weather Protection


The Kinetic is the only fully waterproof piece in our review, which means it scored well in terms of weather protection. Its impressively soft material is also wind-resistant, although it is not very warm (a definite bonus if you intend to use it for summer endeavors in the alpine).


For alpine climbing, mountain-climbing at the peak of summer monsoons, or for use as a lightweight waterproof layer for travel to rainy locales, this is easily one of our favorite choices. Immediately upon receiving this jacket, we jumped in the shower, as you do. After 4 minutes in the shower, the Kinetic was barely even damp to the touch. This rad, fully waterproof jacket, resisted water like a boss, outperforming every other jacket in the test fleet in this test. Later, out in the real world during an early-season soaker, this jacket again performed shockingly well. It kept our reviewer completely dry and sufficiently warm, despite the wicked-cold nature of the rain and wind. That said, while the Kinetic can take the edge off the wind, it was not the most windproof of the jackets in our review. This jacket is also not lined or insulated, so you will feel temperature changes from water and wind. We see this as a bonus, because this softshell is not designed as a go-to layer for winter alpine activities, but instead as an ideal rain-layer for all your summer alpine adventures. Besides, with a layer or two underneath, you can easily extend the temp range for the Kinetic, without losing mobility and comfort.

The Kinetic Plus kept our lead reviewer nice and dry  even in the shower!
The Kinetic Plus kept our lead reviewer nice and dry, even in the shower!

Breathability


Breathability is shockingly decent for this jacket, although given that the Kinetic is waterproof and doesn't feature pit-zip ventilation, it did not perform as well as many of our other non-waterproof options.


As is the norm with hybrids, there's a tradeoff — in this case, better protection from storms translates into less breathability when you're working hard and getting sweaty. We've tested waterproof models in the past that were horribly stifling, and this one is by far the best we've experienced. While the Kinetic doesn't have the breathability or ventilation of some of the other softshells in our review, it's still pretty darn impressive. When hiking on sunny days, we did get clammy, and our skin would stick to the inside, but if you aren't a sweaty person or you live somewhere with a damp and temperate climate like the Pacific Northwest, these issues won't really affect you. That said, by opening the pockets you can get a little more ventilation, but nothing like the ventilation achieved from pit-vents. At the end of the day, this is an awesome hard shell for summer mountaineering, alpine climbing, or peak bagging that offers sufficient breathability for a hike uphill in a storm, without becoming oppressively swampy.

As long as things stay casual and the temperature doesn't spike too high  breathability in the Kinetic is just fine. It may not be your trail running jacket  but for cooler wetter days it's near perfect.
As long as things stay casual and the temperature doesn't spike too high, breathability in the Kinetic is just fine. It may not be your trail running jacket, but for cooler wetter days it's near perfect.

Mobility


This jacket is stretchy, supple, and soft(!) with excellent tailoring, making it move very easily. Whether hiking, biking, climbing, traveling, or running errands around town, the Kinetic feels good on the body and doesn't impede mobility, even in an all-out deluge.


While the Kinetic is not the most mobile jacket we tested, our reviewers were shocked, shocked, by how strechy and comfortablly this jacket moves while climbing and hiking. The hood is generously sized with a stretchy fitted section and a secondary laminated and stiffened peak to keep water off the face. Indeed, the main reason we didn't award a higher score on mobility, is that the hood is a bit too snug with a helmet. You can certainly fit a helmet under the hood, but it's a stretch — literally. If a helmet is a regular companion with your softshell, you might want to consider something geared more toward climbing or skiing. Helmet issues aside, movement is incredibly comfortable and unimpeded in the Kinetic. The nice, wide, and adjustable cuffs mean that layering and wearing gloves under or over the sleeves is also a breeze.

The Kinetic Plus climbs better than any other waterproof jacket on the market. It seems unlikely that you can change our minds.
The Kinetic Plus climbs better than any other waterproof jacket on the market. It seems unlikely that you can change our minds.

Weight


At 9.5 ounces for a size small, the Kinetic is an incredibly lightweight, waterproof layer.


Frequently, the more weather resistant a layer is, the heavier it is. By contrast, the Kinetic is well-designed, simultaneously managing to be impervious to water and fairly lightweight. It even comes with a stuff sack for easy transport.

Who doesn't love a good stuff sack?
Who doesn't love a good stuff sack?

Versatility


To determine the versatility for each jacket in our review, we looked at features, style, durability, and how readily each jacket could jump between different kinds of activities, and different climates. By this metric, the Kinetic is among the more versatile jackets in our review.


With a slim and stylish fit, durable waterproof material, wide comfortable cuffs that cinch down tightly, and generously sized pockets that are mostly accessible while wearing a harness or backpack, this jacket is incredibly versatile. The hood is barely helmet-compatible, but for backpacking and hiking — especially in damp, drizzly climates — this is a great choice. It's very lightweight and comes with a stuff sack for storage and transport. From playing in waterfalls to skipping down the trail to dinner with friends, as long as you're not sweating too profusely, the Kinetic is a well-conceived technical softshell that will serve you well.


Value


Bottom line, the Kinetic is not a cheap softshell jacket. That being said, it is absolutely worth the price if you are looking for a lightweight but breathable rain jacket that is perfect for travel or the mountains. It is well-designed, attractive, and feels nice on the skin. Beyond aesthetic value, it is incredibly functional with a hood meant to keep the rain off your face, generous pockets, and a stuff sack for throwing it in your pack or clipping to your harness. For the right outdoorswoman, in the right climate, this is an absolute gem.

The Kinetic is a great jacket all around and  when you add in the fact that it's waterproof  it becomes even more versatile.
The Kinetic is a great jacket all around and, when you add in the fact that it's waterproof, it becomes even more versatile.

Conclusion


The Kinetic Plus is a waterproof jacket that, while not the most breathable, is far superior to others we've tested in the past, making it a clear Top Pick for Summer Monsoons winner! It's very light (just 9.5 ounces for a size small and 10 ounces for a medium) with great mobility, making it a smart companion for long mountain hikes and backpacking trips — especially in rainy climates. It offers decent wind resistance, and the soft, stretchy material and generously wide adjustable cuffs make this a pleasure to wear. As long as you don't plan to be using this jacket for overly sweaty heart-pounding activities, you'll be pleased with the purchase.

Zipped up and ready to go in the Kinetic Plus.
Zipped up and ready to go in the Kinetic Plus.

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett