The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

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 | $229.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Waterproof, soft flexible fabric, great fit, excellent cuff and hood design, lightweight
Cons:  Waterproof material decreases breathability, pricey
Manufacturer:   Rab
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 15
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Mobility - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • 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 playing in the mountains — as long as you don't build up too much heat. We awarded this piece a Top Pick award for being the best — and only — waterproof layer 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.

If you prefer a little more warmth to your softshell, take a look at our Editors' Choice for Cooler Temps, the Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody. While not fully waterproof it still handles moderate amounts of moisture like a pro. If you're planning to be in sunnier places or doing more cardio-intensive activities, the Arc'teryx Sigma SL Anorak Pullover, our Editors' Choice for Warmer Weather will be a better fit.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $229.95 at Amazon$124.93 at REI
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$114.95 at Amazon$115.00 at Amazon$194.73 at REI
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Pros Waterproof, soft flexible fabric, great fit, excellent cuff and hood design, lightweightHighly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durableVery lightweight, excellent mobility, highly breathable, great fit, affordable.Super breathable, great sun layer, excellent mobility, chest pocket doubles as stuff sack, thumb loopFull-legth side zippers, excellent fit, windproof, lined, thumbholes
Cons Waterproof material decreases breathability, priceyNot very warm, only one pocketNot warm, only two pocketsNot warm, less durable than other options, hem adjustment piece is bulkyLess breathable due to windproofing, expensive
Bottom Line Soft, supple, and waterproof - a perfect layer for rainy hikes and mountain adventures.This lightweight and streamlined pullover is a fabulously durable layer that breathes like a dream and dries lightning fast.This smart and ultralight softshell is extremely easy to move in and highly breathable - an excellent pick for the movement-minded adventure seeker.This thin pullover is perfect for when you just need that little bit of extra protection while standing in the sun, working up a sweat, or shimmying up a rock face.This innovative hoody ups the ante with great features like full-length side zips, fantastic mobility, and excellent weather protection.
Rating Categories Kinetic Plus Hoody Sigma SL Anorak Pullover Rab Borealis - Women's Whirlwind Pullover Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
4
10
0
3
10
0
8
Breathability (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
Mobility (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
Versatility (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Kinetic Plus Hoody Sigma SL Anorak... Rab Borealis -... Whirlwind Pullover Ultimate V SO...
Measured Weight - Size Medium (oz) 10.0oz 9.5oz 8.3oz 8.2oz 13.1oz
Material Proflex Aequora Airperm - 86% nylon, 14% elastane Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR 86% recycled polyester, 14% spandex, 75D stretch woven 100% polyester
Lined/Insulated? No No No No Yes
Hood Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable
Helmet Compatible? Yes, barely Yes Yes, underneath Yes Yes, underneath
Wind Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, windproof
Water Resistant? Yes, waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 2 hand 1 chest 2 hand 1 chest 2 hand
Adjustable Cuffs? Yes, velcro No No No Yes
Available Sizes 8 - 14 XS - L XS - XL XS - XL XS - XXL

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kinetic Plus is a luxurious-feeling waterproof softshell that's lightweight with excellent mobility. If your adventures tend to include run-ins with some moisture, this is a piece you'll want to consider.

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. The impressive material is also wind resistant, though not overly warm. For swing season activities where some moisture will likely be present, this is one of our favorite choices.


Immediately upon receiving this jacket, we stuck our arms under the faucet, like you do. As promised, the material repelled water as though entirely non-porous. We also wore the Kinetic into the shower and, yet again, it kept water out with no problem — though we did distinctly feel temperature and got a bit chilly. This jacket isn't lined or insulated, so you will feel temperature changes from water and wind. If your adventure has a chance of being cold, take something to layer underneath.

Impressive Proflex fabric keeps water out and away.
Impressive Proflex fabric keeps water out and away.

Breathability


Breathability is decent for this piece, though not nearly as good as many of our other non-waterproof options. As is the norm with hybrids, there's a tradeoff — in this case, better water management means less ability to breathe if and when you start sweating.



Though the Kinetic doesn't have the breathability of some of the other softshells in our review, it's still pretty darn impressive. We've tested waterproof models in the past that were horribly stifling, and this one is far and away the best we've experienced thus far. The material feels soft and amazing on bare skin and is shockingly light for how protective it is. When hiking on a sunny day we did get clammy, and our skin started to 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 very likely won't affect you. For the right body in the appropriate temperature ranges, you will quickly see why this is a Top Pick winner.

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 and excellently tailored, making it very easy to move in.


Whether hiking, biking, climbing, or running errands around town, the Kinetic feels good on the body. The hood is generously sized with a stretchy fitted section and a secondary laminated and stiffened peak to keep water off the face. The main reason we didn't award a higher score here is that, when wearing a helmet, things get tight. You can certainly fit a helmet under the hood, but it's a stretch — literally. If a helmet will be a regular companion with your softshell, you might want to consider something geared more toward climbing like the Sigma SL Anorak. Helmet issues aside, movement is incredibly easy in the Kinetic and the nice wide adjustable cuffs mean that layering and wearing gloves is also a breeze.

While we fit a helmet under the Kinetic's hood it was quite tight - fine for belaying but not ideal for climbing.
While we fit a helmet under the Kinetic's hood it was quite tight - fine for belaying but not ideal for climbing.

Weight


At 10 ounces for a size medium, this is a very light waterproof layer.


Frequently, the more weather resistant a layer is, the heavier it is also. But the Kinetic is well designed and manages to be both impervious to the water and very light. It even comes with a stuff sack for easy transport.

Here the Kinetic gets a visit to the Great Wall of China! Weighing just over a half pound it's a great candidate for traveling.
Here the Kinetic gets a visit to the Great Wall of China! Weighing just over a half pound it's a great candidate for traveling.

Versatility


We scored this metric by looking at features, style, durability, and how readily each jacket could jump between different kinds of activities. The Kinetic is one of the more versatile pieces in our review.


With a slim and stylish fit, durable waterproof material, wide comfortable cuffs that also cinch down tight, and generously sized pockets, this jacket has a lot of uses. 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.

The Kinetic offers some of our favorite cuffs - the generous bell shape makes layering underneath super easy and the velcro adjustments mean cinching down tight to keep wind and rain out is also a snap.
The Kinetic offers some of our favorite cuffs - the generous bell shape makes layering underneath super easy and the velcro adjustments mean cinching down tight to keep wind and rain out is also a snap.

Best Application


The Kinetic is best suited to cooler temps and rainy days. While it breathes okay and provides a protective barrier, it's not ideal if you're sweating profusely or the temperature dips too low. The material is soft, supple, and stretchy though, so activity is encouraged. Long mountain hikes, backpacking trips, and urban commutes are all prime territory for this waterproof layer.

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.

Value


This is not a cheap softshell. But overall it's worth the price if you plan to be in drippy wet areas. It's an attractive jacket with well-designed adjustable cuffs, a hood meant to keep the rain off your face, and generous pockets. For the right outdoorswoman in the right climate, this is a gem.

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. It's very light at just 10 ounces for a size medium with great mobility, making it a great companion for long mountain hikes and backpacking trips — especially in rainy climates. Wind resistance is good, and the soft, stretchy material and generously wide adjustable cuffs make this a pleasure to wear. We reached for this layer time after time in many different situations, securing our decision that this should be a Top Pick winner. 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.


Penney Garrett