The new Kinetic Plus Jacket is a superlight stretchy softshell jacket that Rab claim is waterproof. I have been using one for a couple of weeks that Rab have kindly sent us to test.
I have to admit that at first I was a little skeptical of the Kinetic plus as I didn’t really get what it was. Is it a super breathable softshell, a waterproof, a windshell? How do you layer with it? is it going to get clammy while not really keeping that much rain off? How breathable can a jacket be while still being waterproof? I was confused!
The specs of the Jacket that Rab have provided are impressive, the new ProFlex membrane fabric has a waterproof hydrostactic head of 10,000mm which puts it just below Pertex Shield Plus in terms of protection from the elements. The seams of the Kinetic plus are taped which you would expect with a waterproof jacket. Where Proflex really excels is its breath-ability which is rated in excess of 35,000cc/sqm/24hrs. Essentially these are the kind of figures that you would expect from a specialist lightweight running jacket, and at 320g it’s a similar weight too.
First impressions of the Kinetic plus are of a very comfortable jacket. There is a nice amount of stretch and the lining is quite soft and does not feel like it will get clammy. The fit is long and slim, especially around the lower body. There is no hem draw cord but as the fit is pretty slim no draw cord is really needed. A Line pockets sit just above where a climbing harness would rest so the pockets are still usable while climbing. The hood is tight fitting with a stretchy front part which actually does a very good job of keeping the hood up while running into the wind. Finally there is a weird little velcro tab thing on the back of the hood, initially I hoped that is was for rolling away the hood, but its not. I think its for adjusting the hood somehow but it seems a bit unnecessary.
I have been using the Kinect Plus for a couple of weeks on my cycle to work in some well timed awful conditions. We have had heavy rain and pretty standard cloud, drizzle, sunny spells and wind. Plus a day of unexpected hail and snow. The Kinect Plus has coped with it all brilliantly. I can confirm it is waterproof, the DWR coating wears off a little faster than you would expect on a GoreTex or Event jacket but the jacket remains waterproof and performance is unaffected. Where the Kinetic Plus really excels is just how breathable it is, especially when compared with the old Pertex binbag that I usually use. On a climb that I would usually start to sweat and feel the clammyness building up there was none and I remained very comfortable. I really can’t stress enough how breathable the Kinect plus is! It dumps heat so fast that I actually started getting a little cold within a minute of a climb.
So what is it for?
Rab describe the Kinetic Plus as a mid or outer layer for high output activities in changeable (ie classic UK) conditions. I have to agree that it is an ideal outer layer for Spring and Summer days when you don’t really know what the weather will throw at you. I probably wouldn’t go out for an 8 hour day in a constant downpour in it but you will probably be off to the cafe on a day like that anyway.
In Summary the Kinetic Plus jacket is a light weight shell jacket for warmer Spring/Summer/Autumn days in very changeable conditions. Due to its extreme breathability it holds very little warmth in cooler conditions but provided you keep moving you will remain very comfortable. If you are looking for super breathable protection when the weather could do anything the Kinetic Plus is the jacket for you.