Rab Kinetic Alpine Jacket and Pants
- Wednesday 11th December 2019
RRP: Jacket £200 Pants: £120
Review by Keith Sharples
Rab’s Kinetic Alpine Jacket and Pants are new for 2019. Designed, as the name suggests, for the Alpine environment, the Kinetic Alpine Jacket and Pants continue the drive for modern, lightweight and highly functional clothing for those that take their pleasure in demanding environments. Both the Jacket and Pants are well-specified and fully-featured.
Rab’s own Proflex material is used throughout the jacket and pants. Proflex is a super lightweight, four-way stretch, highly breathable yet fully waterproof material. If you want to get technical Rab describes Proflex as, ‘Constructed from a highly flexible hydrophilic membrane positioned between two high gauge, knitted layers, the inner quickly wicks sweat and moisture while the outer protects you from the elements’. Rab goes on to suggest that the material ‘is a radical re-approach to protective yet comfortable clothing systems’. Furthermore that Proflex has ‘soft, flexible nature of a softshell with the protection and durability of a hardshell’.
Remarkably, Proflex has a 10,000mm hydrostatic head rating – that’s twice what most really good tents offer by the way – yet it also has excellent breathability as well (more than 35,000cc/sqm/24 hours). Amazingly, the Kinetic Jacket and Pants really do feel soft and flexible – just like a softshell – yet when the rain coming bucketing down the Proflex turns the rain away like a hardshell. Proflex has a soft wicking inner face that is comfortable next to the skin. Likewise, the soft wicking inner face makes wearing the Pants next to skin a perfectly reasonable thing to do although they do tend to feel a little bit ‘clingy’ at first until you’re used to the feel. In colder conditions, the Pants can obviously be worn with a pair of lightweight leggings or similar for a bit more warmth and comfort.
Whilst Proflex has such a soft and flexible feel to it, it’s easy to imagine that the material isn’t very durable. To counter this the outer surface of Proflex has a ceramic print overlay added to the high-stress areas to boost durability. On the jacket, the ceramic print has been added to the outside face of the arms, the shoulders and the hood whilst on the Pants it’s been added to the seat, the knee and the inner calf areas.
Features and Fit
The Kinetic Jacket has a slim fit cut – more so than some other jackets of its ilk – but it’s generous enough to wear a couple of fleeces underneath and still not be tight. Importantly, Rab has got the cut bang on in the crucial areas such as on the shoulders and in the forearms – the latter especially is an area that several manufacturers seem to have gone too tight on jackets which we’ve tested of late. Not so with the Kinetic though. Designed to be worn beneath a harness or rucksack, the two main front pockets are above any waist belts so easily accessible. They come with YKK AquaGuard zips. The helmet-compatible hood is especially well thought through and designed. The peak on the hood is stiffened to hold its shape and comes with an elasticated drawcord adjuster. Likewise, there’s elasticated volume control as well. Rab has got the design of this right; enough volume when wearing a helmet but not yards of flapping material when going without a lid. The high balaclava style face guard and the elasticated peak together are excellent for keeping bad weather at bay. The sleeves have a simple, but effective, Velcro adjustable cuffs. The hem has bi-lateral elasticated drawcord adjusters. Both the hem and the cuffs feature welded, rather than stitched, seams for comfort. Finally, a single left breast internal pocket provides plenty of storage space.
The Kinetic Alpine Pants have what Rab describe as a close-fitting cut. The waist has an elasticated band at the rear which comes with three micro silicon bands to help prevent slippage. The front half of the pants have an elasticated adjuster which comes complete with a very slick low-volume fastener. A (zipped) reversed fly, two (zipped) hip pockets, articulated knees and zipped ankle gussets complete the features on the Pants. A small stuff sack is also provided for carrying if you’re using them as overtrousers.
Overall, the Kinetic Alpine Jacket and Pants are a very impressive outfit from Rab. They’re super lightweight, highly breathable yet fully waterproof. The softshell, four-way stretch Proflex is a remarkable material; comfortable to wear as well as being highly effective. Together, the Jacket and Pants combo is perfect for fast-moving activities in bad weather in the mountains. And at £200 for the Jacket and £120 for the Pants, they won’t break the bank either. Both are also available in a women’s version.