A stretchy soft shell jacket that is breathable and thoroughly waterproof – now that takes some believing! I am used to the idea that the stiffer a waterproof jacket feels the more durable and waterproof it is, that crunchy feel to a waterproof always gives me a certain sense of security whenever I step out into the pouring rain.
So I must admit it has been with some intrepidation that I have ventured forth into some of mother natures worst only wearing what has felt to me like a thin, light, soft jacket. I have though been more than pleasantly surprised at the Kinetics complete waterproof ability as well as its very effective breathability.
Rab first launched their Kinetic Plus Jacket in early 2017, at the time it was heralded as a highly innovative jacket revolutionising outdoor world clothing. This year they have brought out the Kinetic Alpine Jacket which is essentially the same as the Plus but with more features making it even more secure against the elements. It is marketed as an Alpine jacket for mountain activities, but I think it is far more versatile than this a very practical jacket for most outdoor adventurous.
What is so good about Proflex?
The fabric of both the Kinetic Plus and the Kinetic Alpine is Rab’s Proflex. Proflex is “made by sandwiching a bespoke PU hydrophilic membrane between two high gauge knit fabrics” (Rab).
This remarkable fabric feels really comfortable and light to wear, in fact until I got used to it I was sure I had the wrong jacket on for some of the weather I was about to face. Like most softshells it is stretchy, light and very flexible just the job when climbing or scrambling up a mountain or slope. That soft, stretchy feel of the fabric of a softshell jacket always makes me feel free-er and more confident when tackling a rock face and the Proflex is no exception.
Proflex is totally waterproof, I have worn the jacket in some pretty horrendous weather and stayed dry. I have also been impressed with the breathability of the material. I know breathability is a very subjective matter, but as someone who easily gets hot and inevitably sweaty it has worked well for me. The beauty of Proflex is that it makes the Kinetic Jackets all day Jackets. There is no need to keep putting them on and off as the weather may change throughout the day. The fabric has a tough nylon face which is durable, so do not be fooled by its thin feel it will not tear easily.
What is the difference between the Kinetic Plus and the Kinetic Alpine?
I think that possibly with the Kinetic Plus Rab designed a soft shell that was waterproof, with the Kinetic Alpine they have created a waterproof that is softshell!
The Kinetic Plus had minimum features possibly to keep it as light as possible, whereas the Kinetic Alpine has more features which make it perform better in inclement weather. This does not make it noticeably heavier though it still only weighs around 390g depending upon the jacket size.
What are the additional features?
Lets start with the hood, to be honest I was never very impressed with the hood of the Kinetic Plus, there was no cinch cord to pull it in close to your face and the peak was just a piece of flappy material. The hood on the Alpine is helmet compatible but it does cinch in around your face really closely and the peak is stiffened and wired. It provides much more protection to your face and head from wind, rain and snow.
One feature I really like is the Ceramic print overlay on the hood and sleeves. These are the areas that potentially suffer the most wear and tear especially if you climbing up a rock face or when carrying a backpack. The Ceramic Print overlay strengthens these areas without compromising the the jackets stretchyness, breathabiity or waterproof ability.
There are two Aline pockets which are massive easily accommodating an O/S map. The zips on the pockets are YKK AquaGuard and so is the single zip at the front of the Alpine this also has a storm baffle behind it. The cuffs are pretty standard hook and loop and there is a cinch cord around the hem, again this is something the Kinetic Plus does not have. All the seams are tape sealed and the hem and cuffs are stitch free for comfort.
The Kinetic Alpine is an excellent almost all weather jacket (perhaps not the best for a baking hot summers day?) I have only one problem with it – I fear I will be tempted to wear it too often for almost all of my walks, I might wear it out!
Oh and by the way it fits into its own stuff sack taking up very little room in my backpack.
- Proflex stretchy, breathable and waterproof fabric with a tough nylon face.
- Ceramic print overlays on hood and sleeves
- Breathable PU membrane and taped seams
- High gauge knit wicking lining
- Helmet compatible hood with laminated and stiffened peak
- 1-way YKK AquaGuard Vislon front zip with internal storm flap
- 2 YKK AquaGuard A-line pockets
- Concealed draw cord adjusters on hood and hem
- Hook and loop adjustable cuffs
- Stitch-free hem and cuffs for comfort
- Weight: 390g
- Buy from e-outdoor the Rab men’s Kinetic Alpine Jacket