Paul’s Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Jacket Review details a hardshell built to protect climbers and mountaineers in all conditions. Please do read on to find out more.
A while ago I tested the original version of Rab’s Kinetic Alpine Jacket. Please have a read of that review here. I was certainly impressed! It concludes ‘my review has revealed a hardshell jacket that breathes superbly and drapes beautifully. It solves many of the problems users can face when exerting hard in a waterproof jacket in damp conditions. It’s actually a revelation.’ So, when Rab asked me to review the new Kinetic Alpine 2.0, it made sense to stack it against its predecessor. Please read on to find out how I got on.
As the heart of any garment, my Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Jacket Review should start with the fabric. This is perhaps the biggest difference between the new jacket and the original. The 2.0 still uses Stretch Knit Proflex with a breathable waterproof membrane and a fast wicking backer. But, in the high wear areas of hood, hip, arms and shoulders, the new jacket uses Stretch Nylon Woven Proflex panels. This contrasts with the knit with ceramic print option used in the original version.
You’ll immediately notice the difference this brings if you compare the garments side by side. The new version feels thicker and more rigid to the touch. It is still soft when compared to a ‘standard’ hardshell, but not quite as soft and flexible as the previous version. This change, however, brings the improved durability mentioned above. The combination of fabrics used also adds a subtle 2 tone appearance which looks great.
The waterproofness levels are still the same at 10,000mm and the breathability remains the same as its predecessor with a moisture vapour transmission rate (MTVR) of 35000g/m2/24 hrs. In simple terms, it is very breathable.
The increase in durability means it is better suited to activities with high wear levels like Alpinism. It also means it will still happily step up for things like a tough hillwalking day in the remote mountains. Rab have designed the Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Jacket with a closer fit than a traditional shell. This works because of the stretch capabilities of the fabric. The more streamlined fit also makes the jacket very low profile when wearing a harness or travelling over technical ground.
The other features are all designed around comfort, mobility and performance. They include a helmet compatible hood with a stiffened flexible polymer peak. The hood has front and rear adjustment options. There is also a 2-way water-resistant AquaGuard main zip with a brushed tricot chin guard.
There is an easily adjustable drawcord hem and velcro adjustable cuffs. Storage is via a zipped chest pocket with Aquaguard zip and an inner YKK zipped pocket.
One of the biggest revelations of the original Kinetic Alpine Jacket was the feel of the fabric. Rab described it as a hard shell fabric that feels like a soft shell. They were absolutely right. It was soft, quiet and incredibly comfortable to wear.
This softness also carries over to the new version, albeit slightly less so. To put it in perspective, it’s a lot softer than many hard-shell fabrics, but due to the alternative fabric choices in some areas it feels less soft than the original. That said, it is very comfortable and the fabric is very soft to the touch. The soft drape also avoids that crisp packet rustling you can get from some hardshell materials.
In terms of performance, I’ve used the jacket for many wet weather days and it has kept me dry both from the outside and the inside. It has also performed brilliantly on blustery climbing days. The high breathability allows you to use it for more high output activities where you might sometimes be getting rather clammy inside.
Durability seems to match well with my expectations so far. I can’t claim I have enough days in the jacket to give a full assessment of this, but I am confident enough to comment. The jacket has been used for number of days around the Peak District for climbing and hillwalking activities and for Snowdonia scrambling. It has had a fair amount of time being worn with a rucksack and harness and brushed up against rock. So far, there are no signs of wear or damage.
The jacket is designed with what is described as a regular fit. However, Rab’s website description also says it is ‘designed with a closer fit than a traditional shell’. The medium I was sent feels true to size and yet there is plenty of room for layering. It is quite roomy on me. As Rab stated, because the jacket has stretch capability it doesn’t actually need to be too loose, but I also like the option to layer up when needed. The stretchiness gives a complete range of movement which makes this a great jacket for climbing activities.
The hood is a great fit. It is plenty big enough to wear a helmet underneath and still offers freedom of movement for looking up and down or side to side. When not wearing a helmet you can adjust the fit with the rear volume adjuster. A drawcord secures around the face. There is also a stiffened peak which works well.
All the design features work flawlessly. Rab have added side pockets and an inside chest pocket. I actually prefer chest pockets rather than side pockets on a climbing focused jacket but they are positioned to be out of the way when wearing a harness. I really like an internal chest pocket for my phone. It will also happily fit any small items like a compass or snack bars. Having pockets like this inside mean you have to open the main zip to access it, but I think it’s worth it.
The chunky main zip is protected by an interior storm baffle and there’s a fleecy chin guard. I’m pleased to see this is also a 2 way zip. The zip tabs on the upper main zip and the side pocket zips have glove friendly pull tabs.
My Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Jacket Review details a fully featured and high performance hard shell with all the features needed for technical mountain adventures. It is a significant improvement on the previous Kinetic Alpine (which was already a great jacket). I also think, at £225, it offers great value for money. Full details on the Kinetic Alpine 2.0 are available on the Rab website here.
We have reviewed a range of Rab products including the Mythic 600 sleeping bag here and the Latok Summit Bivvy here. We’ve also recently added a review of the Cubit Stretch Hoody. Please do have a read here.