Based outside the UK, Rab has been making gear for mountain weather since the 1980s. With a focus on climbing and backpacking, everything Rab does is capable and functional. As for the new Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket, it’s a waterproof, breathable shell that can be used with confidence for high-output adventures like backcountry hiking, snowshoeing, or running. on trail.
Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket Features:
- Waterproof/breathable Proflex™ fabric (3L recycled polyester knit face with PU membrane)
- Elasticated hood under the helmet, with a rigid and flexible polymer visor
- Rear cover adjustment
- YKK Aquaguard center front and pocket zippers
- Brushed knit chin guard
- Adjustable drawstring hem at one end
- Velcro adjustable cuffs
- Center back length (size M): 71 cm / 28 in
- MSRP: $230
Kinetic 2.0 follows the march
Waterproof and breathable fabrics are nothing new. The biggest name in the business has been pushing its fabrics since the 1980s. But, a lot has changed in fabric construction and waterproof membranes since the first Top Gun hit theaters. Mainly, fabrics advertised as “breathable” are now actually breathable while remaining waterproof, as advertised.
The latest generation of weather-resistant materials comes in many proprietary names and blends, but Rab is particularly excited about its Proflex fabric. At its core, it looks a lot like the usual suspects, with a 3-layer sandwich and a compressed PU membrane in the middle. But what makes Proflex unique is hidden in plain sight – “FLEX”. You see, while others make waterproof jackets, very few offer the insane amount of 4-way stretch you’ll find with the Kinetic 2.0. No, it’s a unique feature that makes this jacket extremely comfortable in the mountains.
When you close the Kinetic 2.0, it’s easy to notice how quiet it is. This quiet fabric lets you enjoy the natural sounds of the mountains, not the rustle of your jacket. Since it’s quiet, it makes sense that it’s also soft and comfortable. The inner fabric of waterproof jackets can often be cold, sticky and awkward, but I can wear the Kinetic 2.0 with short-sleeved shirts and my arms don’t stick to them or get sweaty.
Without a doubt, the Kinetic 2.0 would be a great choice for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking, but my limit testing was done in cold weather while trail running. Granted, it’s not an ideal trail running jacket, but with all that stretch and breathability, it’s actually way better than expected. With quiet movement and a natural flex, running in this jacket is awesome and it keeps both cold wind and bad weather at bay. At the end of an 8km run, any perspiration is dispersed inside the jacket and does not bead anywhere. You can tell the 3-layer Proflex fabric does its job perfectly as it wicks away moisture. The breathability here is fantastic.
Kudos to Rab for also adding a little extra length to the sleeves and hem for proper coverage. I can move my arms above my head and reach out, all without exposing my wrists to the elements. This is especially noticeable when worn with gloves.
Is it waterproof?
Now let’s talk about the waterproofness of this jacket. When a jacket is “waterproof” it generally means that it uses a waterproof membrane, taped seams and a DWR (durable water resistant) treatment on the outer fabric. These three things work together to make sure you stay dry when Mother Nature is at her worst. As you’ll notice, Rab doesn’t use much (if any) DWR processing with the Utmost 2.0. As you can see, the shoulders and hood are saturated and the water doesn’t really bead up at all. Despite this, the most serious rain tests I have carried out show that this jacket is waterproof.
The 3-layer Proflex fabric has a waterproof membrane. But, as mentioned earlier, it also breathes well. This combination hasn’t always been true, but it certainly is here. So don’t worry if the facial tissue absorbs a little water, because that’s all it takes. In all my tests, moisture was kept out and sweat escaped.
Maximum Coverage of Hood and Other Items
Aside from the stretchy performance fabric, the Rab Kinetic 2.0 has one of the most unique hoods I’ve used. When down, the collar sits below the chin and can feel a bit awkward. Full elastic around the perimeter of the hood cinches the collar together to provide weather protection when the hood is not in use. It’s almost like wearing a scarf as opposed to a typical balaclava when not in use.
As a Seattle native I have a soft spot for balaclavas and once deployed you will find that the Kinetic 2.0 balaclava is second to none when it comes to weather protection. It’s easier to unzip the collar a bit and then put the hood on, but it can stretch enough to be put on without unzipping, especially if you have a shaved head. Once in place, you’ll notice it works almost like a ski goggle by wrapping around the perimeter of your face. Plus, the brim then directs water away from your face. You’ll want to give the rear a little tug to make sure the hood sits properly and doesn’t sag on your forehead.
The two front pockets are accessible with a backpack and are extra high and perfect for storing a pair of climbing skins on a quick descent into the backcountry. They’ll stay snug and easily accessible when it comes time to hit the skin track.
Although I sang the praises of the sleeve length, I don’t like the gaps in the hook and loop closure as much. The comfortable for me cuff diameter places the tab squarely between the patches and allows the tab to stick outward. A continuous length of material would solve this problem.
Fit: At 5’11” and 173 pounds, I wear size medium.
- Soft and quiet fabric
- Stretchy beyond what waterproofing is usually
- Remains 100% waterproof
- Unique hood provides great coverage on or off
- Longer sleeves keep your wrists covered and connected with gloves
- Single hem toggle works great
- Breathe well
- Loophole in the hook-and-loop closure where I need it
- The elastic on the hood can press your eyebrows
The Basics: Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket
Turns out Rab is onto something with the combination of unique fabrics and design elements on the Kinetic 2.0 Jacket. 4-way stretch allows this jacket to perform like a champ for high-intensity adventures. All movements are uninhibited and the coverage is superb. This hood is truly unique and offers the most weatherproof design I’ve ever tested, but can feel a little bulky.
Buy now: Available at Backcountry.com