It’s not very often you hear the trinity of outdoor technology contained in one sentence “Stretchy, Breathable and Waterproof”. When it comes to practical outdoor clothing those words are every Climber, Mountaineer, Alpinist and Hikers dream – well Rab “The Mountain People” have released a fabric technology called Proflex™ which claims to be the ultimate 3-in-1.
They say seeing is believing – and in honesty before I had the opportunity to get my hands on this innovative material I was a little agnostic and thought that it couldn’t really be for real. Well I kid you not my friends – tis not a joke. Rab have done it! Rab Proflex™ garments really are Stretchy, Breathable and Waterproof and I, once a sceptic but now a believer, can certainly vouch for it having worn it recently on a cold, damp, snowy walk up Mount Snowdon in Wales. So what exactly is this heavenly technology?
“A unique Rab innovation, Proflex™ is made by sandwiching a bespoke PU hydrophilic membrane between two high gauge knit fabrics. Because of its unique construction, Proflex allows us to make genuine ‘Softshell’ jackets with the waterproof protection of a traditional hardshell jacket.” Rab
Proflex™ – “Stretchy”
Being able to move is a key requirement of the active outdoor enthusiast – and I would be pretty stuck as a climber if I was restricted by a rigid outer layer. Proflex™ garments feel a little like a skinny or thin version of a softshell at first this made me doubt the ability to stretch and not rip at the first reach but after 30 minutes of wear I forgot I was even wearing my Kinetic Plus Jacket but still felt the immense benefits of the technical features and had no restrictions in movement.
The Pyg Track on Snowdon zig zags through the middle of the horse shoe and when conditions are bad (like they were for me – Ice and Snow) can be an accident black spot reducing navigational ability. With this walk turning out to be more of a snow climb nearer to the summit the Rab Kinetic Plus jackets stretch came into it’s own.
Climbing up 2 foot snow drifts I needed full freedom of movement and to be certain that I wasn’t going to be held back by my clothing. The stretch performance in this jacket has blown me away and just cannot be compared to any other waterproof jacket on the outdoor market. Whilst wearing the jacket and carrying a 35:45 Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro pack I was able to flex in all directions, not feeling the pull of the garment at all – it moved in sync with my body at all times.
Proflex™ – “Waterproof”
On first contact in no way does the Proflex™ material feel like traditional, thick and rustley waterproof material that you would expect. When it comes to garments made from this technical waterproof material there is a waterproof component hidden inside the membrane: a high performance, waterproof measure of 10,000mm.
Climbing Snowdon presented its challenges before I even set off! What was I going to wear in order to keep me cool whilst powering up the mountainside but also would I be dry should there be a sudden downpour. There wasn’t any rain on the ascent but there was snow – a lot of snow! The barrier against getting wet and cold that this jacket gave me was immense!
Ever the sceptic I was not ready to believe that a jacket not much thicker than a bin bag could keep the ice cold water out. However in this treacherous, mushy, wet and filthy snow – far from the fluffy, soft perfect “skiing ready” snow that the rest of the world seems to be blessed with, the waterproof Kinetic Plus jacket kept me 100% dry. There was no leakage at the seams, round the cuffs or the hem – I was locked in from the elements and I was dry – completely dry – all day!
Proflex™ – “Breathable”
I hate the claggy, moist, trapped inside your jacket feeling that you get with traditional waterproof coats that suffocate your body – meaning that you don’t get wet from the weather but more drenched in your own sweat kind of drowned. This is especially the case when you have to cinch yourself in to keep the freezing cold windchill out.
Proflex™ technology has exceptional breathability level in excess of 35,000cc/sqm/24hrs and the outer and inner layers of Proflex™ are engineered, high gauge knits with the inner wicking to move moisture rapidly through the system.
I’ve never managed to get my outdoor layering system completely right but with the Kinetic Plus I felt like I’d reached the pinnacle before i’d even hit the summit of Snowdon. So cheesy outdoor strap lines aside layered up in thermals, technical t-shirt and fleece with the Kinetic Plus as my outer layer I didn’t have to stop and adjust my clothing at all for the entire 6 hour walk even though there were points I was certainly having a full body workout.
Rab Proflex™ Products at e-Outdoor
The Kinetic Plus Jacket uses Rab’s own Proflex™ fabric technology it stretches and breathes like a softshell while also featuring a flexible waterproof membrane. This combination makes it the ideal outer shell for a huge range of alpine and mountain activities.
Click here to read the e-Outdoor Review of the Kinetic Plus Jacket
The Kinetic Alpine Jacket uses breakthrough in technology that will change the way you dress for the mountains. This fully waterproof, highly breathable and stretchy jacket is a radical re-approach to protective yet comfortable clothing systems which support you throughout your alpine and mountain adventure.
Coming soon the e-Outdoor Review of the Kinetic Alpine Jacket