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Rab Kinetic Plus Hoody - Women's Review

Soft, supple, and water-resistant - a perfect layer for light moisture and mountain adventures
Rab Kinetic Plus Hoody - Women's
Photo: Rab
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Price:  $230 List | $152.51 at Amazon
Pros:  Very water resistant, soft flexible fabric, great fit, excellent cuff and hood design, lightweight, highly packable
Cons:  Not waterproof, Below-average breathability, pricey
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  May 19, 2021
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 30% 5
  • Mobility - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Rab Kinetic Plus is a hybrid that joins the suppleness of a softshell with the best water-resistance of the jackets in our review. Protective, stretchy, highly mobile, and stylish, this is an excellent layer for summer mountaineering, alpine rock climbing, or weathering light rain while traveling. Given the excellent weather resistance, this jacket is less breathable than it would be with more traditional softshell material, it's substantially better than what you receive with something like a hardshell. The Kinetic is a great layer for cutting the wind, and is a decent option for summer monsoons, though it will wet out in an all-out rainstorm.

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Pros Very water resistant, soft flexible fabric, great fit, excellent cuff and hood design, lightweight, highly packableInsulated, highly breathable, moisture-wicking, comfortable, great weather protection, durable, lots of pocketsExcellent mobility, great weather resistance, breathable, durable, flattering cutGreat mobility, very breathable, wind/water resistantInexpensive, stellar mobility and breathability, stow-away pocket, harness-friendly pockets, excellent fit
Cons Not waterproof, Below-average breathability, priceySpendy, no stow-away pocket for clipping to your harness, hood somewhat small, some reviewers feel it runs smallThin, non-adjustable cuffs, spendyHeavier weight, snug in the shoulders, priceyNot very warm, below average water resistance
Bottom Line Soft, supple, and water-resistant - a perfect layer for light moisture and mountain adventuresA lightweight, insulated but breathable jacket, that is the best hybrid we've reviewedA feature-rich, aesthetically pleasing technical softshell with great mobility, breathability, and excellent weather resistanceA fantastic technical softshell for backcountry alpine pursuits, striking a great balance between weather resistance, breathability, and mobilityThis wicked light softshell has great mobility, is highly breathable and well-tailored - a perfect layer for fair-weather climbing or hiking
Rating Categories Kinetic Plus Hoody Proton FL Hoody Gamma LT Hoody Marmot ROM 2.0 - Wo... Rab Borealis - Women's
Weather Protection (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Breathability (30%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
Mobility (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (10%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
8.0
Versatility (5%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Specs Kinetic Plus Hoody Proton FL Hoody Gamma LT Hoody Marmot ROM 2.0 - Wo... Rab Borealis - Women's
Measured Weight 9.5 oz (size 10/S) 9.5 oz (size S) 15.5 oz (size S) 14 oz (size S) 9 oz (size 10/S)
Material Proflex 84% nylon, 16% elastane Wee Burly Double Weave (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane), DWR finish 92% Nylon, 8% Elastane Plain Weave Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR
Type Technical Technical/Hybrid Active Technical Active
Lined/Insulated? No Yes No No No
Hood? Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 3-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 2 hand 4 (2 hand, 2 chest) 3 (2 hand, 1 internal) 4 (2 hand, 2 chest) 2 hand
Adjustable Cuffs? Yes, Velcro No, Stretch Cuffs No, Stretch Cuffs Yes, Velcro No, Stretch Cuffs
Available Sizes 8 - 16 XS - XL XS - XL XS - XL 8 - 16

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kinetic Plus is a soft and supple water-resistant softshell that is lightweight, packable (it even comes with its own stuff-sack!), fairly versatile, and features excellent mobility. If you need a jacket that can resist some moisture but aren't looking for a waterproof jacket, this one might be a good option for you.

Performance Comparison


The Kinetic Plus is a great layer for playing in the mountains and...
The Kinetic Plus is a great layer for playing in the mountains and forest.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Weather Protection


The Kinetic performed the best in all of our water-resistance tests. It offers top-notch water resistance such that it is almost waterproof, but we can't recommend this jacket as a rain jacket or a hardshell. When used as a primary rain jacket in the Sierras during monsoon season, it wetted out in no time at all, leaving our lead review soaked nearly to the core while bailing off an alpine route in a hail storm. When we needed this jacket to be waterproof it failed at its job, meaning that it could leave you in a dangerous position, should you give it the same amount of trust. It is very waterresistant, but do not expect it to be waterproof.

That being said, the Kinetic did perform well in our shower test, and after 4 minutes in the shower, it was barely even damp to the touch. Initially, when testing the water-resistance of this jacket, it performed well — but over time, the weather-proofing wore out quicker than we would expect with a jacket claiming to be "waterproof." In addition to water resistance, the Kinetic does take some bite off the wind, but 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 a water-resistant layer for your summer alpine adventures. Besides, with a layer or two underneath, you can easily extend the temperature range for the Kinetic, without losing mobility and comfort.

The Kinetic Plus kept our lead reviewer nice and dry, in our shower...
The Kinetic Plus kept our lead reviewer nice and dry, in our shower test, but wetted out in a mountain monsoon when we needed it to keep us dry.

Breathability


Breathability is shockingly decent for this jacket, although given that the Kinetic is very water-resistant and doesn't have any pit-zip ventilation, it did not perform as well as many of our other less-water-resistant 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 more water-resistant and even 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 weather-resistant layer for summer mountaineering, alpine climbing, or peak bagging that offers some breathability for a hike uphill, without becoming oppressively swampy.

As long as things stay casual and the temperature doesn't spike too...
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 days with light moisture it's near perfect.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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 stretchy and comfortable 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 well for being so water resistant. It seems...
The Kinetic Plus climbs well for being so water resistant. It seems unlikely that you can change our minds.
Photo: Scott Sinor

Weight


At 9.5 ounces for a size small, the Kinetic is an incredibly lightweight, water-resistant layer. Frequently, the more weather resistant a layer is, the heavier it is. By contrast, the Kinetic is well-designed, simultaneously managing to be moisture-resistant 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?
Photo: Scott Sinor

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 weather-resistant 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 skipping down the trail to dinner with friends, as long as you're not sweating too profusely, the Kinetic is a well-conceived weather-resistant softshell that will serve you well.

The Kinetic fits well under a harness, but the pockets are not...
The Kinetic fits well under a harness, but the pockets are not perfectly harness compatible.
Photo: Scott Sinor

Value


Bottom line, the Kinetic is not a cheap softshell jacket. That being said, it is worth the price if you are looking for a lightweight but breathable weather-resistant jacket that moves well. It is well-designed, attractive, and feels nice on the skin. Beyond aesthetic value, it is pretty dang 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 decent weather resistant jacket all around - making...
The Kinetic is a decent weather resistant jacket all around - making it quite versatile - though do not expect it to be fully waterproof.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Conclusion


Despite Rab's claims, the Kinetic Plus is a water-resistant, but not waterproof jacket. While not the most breathable, it is far superior to similar jackets we've tested in the past. 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. Just don't depend on it as a primary rain layer, if you're expecting a heavy storm. 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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett