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Rab Kinetic Jacket Review

A fully featured hard shell at a minimal weight.


Overall Rating: Recommended

The Rab Kinetic jacket is very similar to the recently well reviewed Pulse. The main differences are the replacement of the single chest pocket with two mesh-backed pockets (the left doubles as a stuff sack), replacement of the elastic wrist closures with adjustable velcro, and a stiffened peak on the hood. The combination of the changes adds a meager ounce to the total weight.

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by Chris Wallace |


The Rab Kinetic is a hard shell jacket that offers full features at a minimal weight. Much like it's slightly lighter, but less featured sibling, the Pulse, the Kinetic is made of Pertex Shield Plus. Shield Plus is a 2.5 layer polyurethane coated fabric much like those offered on most other hard shells in this class. Compared to the previous Pertex Shield, the new Plus fabric has a much better feel, almost tissue paper-like. I much prefer the feel of the new Plus on my bare skin over the more trash bag-like feel of the previous Shield.

Rab Kinetic Jacket Review - 1
The author wearing the Kinetic as viewed from the front and side

Just like the Pulse, the Kinetic offers a full zipper (YKK Aquaguard) backed by an internal storm flap, a roll down helmet compatible hood, and a single exit hem drawcord. The Kinetic, also like the Pulse, comes in a medium cut, and that is where the similarities end. The Kinetic weighs in at one ounce more than the Pulse, and that extra ounce comes from the addition of a stiffened brim, two mesh-back hand pockets in place of the single chest pocket, and adjustable velcro closures on the wrists in place of the elastic. Undoubtedly those changes will be well worth the extra weight to some and not worth the bother to others.

Rab Kinetic Jacket Review - 2
The Kinetic has a helmet compatible hood that includes a foam stiffened brim, 3-way adjustability, and can be rolled away when not in use.

I have been using the Kinetic both on the trail and in town for the past couple of months and have found the performance quite favorable. Here in the Southeast, I find it practically impossible to hike with any hard shell during the warmer seasons. With our ridiculously high humidity I always find myself wet, either from my own perspiration or simply the rain itself, so unless hypothermia is a risk I usually choose the rain. With that said, if you're looking for a lightweight shell capable of dealing with foul conditions the Kinetic is an excellent piece of gear.

Rab Kinetic Jacket Review - 3
The Kinetic includes two mesh-backed zippered pockets with the left doubling as a stuff sack.


Year/Model 2012 Rab Kinetic
Style 2.5 L hard shell jacket
Weight Manufacturer Specified: 8 oz (227 g) in men's L
BPL Measured: 7.8 oz (221 g) in men's S
Features YKK Aquaguard full zipper with storm flap, stiffened roll down helmet compatible hood,
two zippered mesh-backed hand pockets, single exit drawcord hem, velcro adjustable wrist
closure, left pocket doubles as stuff sack
MSRP US $185


"Rab Kinetic Jacket Review," by Chris Wallace. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2012-09-04 00:00:00-06.


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Rab Kinetic Jacket Review
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Rab Kinetic Jacket Review on 09/04/2012 21:49:12 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Rab Kinetic Jacket Review

Chris Joseph
Where to Find this Jacket for sale online? on 09/05/2012 05:42:24 MDT Print View

Hard to find this jacket for sale online.....looking for a men's medium....

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Pulse and Kinetic on 09/05/2012 08:12:28 MDT Print View

The hood on the Pulse has a stiffened brim. It might be a bit smaller than the one on the Kinetic.

My Pulse has held up really well over the last 11 months. Very impressive fabric. Rab generally are really outdoing themselves lately.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: re: Pulse and Kinetic on 09/05/2012 10:46:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for the clarification on the hood Dave. I (shame on me) was going solely off the Rab descriptions.

This has quickly become my go-to shell for everything from backpacking to around town to motorcycle rides.

Casey Greene

Locale: upper rattlesnake
(Ptex+) Kinetic vs Helium II on 09/05/2012 11:18:17 MDT Print View

Hood looks way better then the one I have on my Helium.

Edited by caseygreene on 09/05/2012 11:19:40 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rab Kinetic Jacket Review on 09/05/2012 11:25:39 MDT Print View

I take it that the jacket has no pit zippers. Do you use the pockets to aid ventilation? If so, do the pockets dip below the zipper opening enough to retain small items?

Thanks for the review.

Nick Brown

Locale: Highland Park
Rab Kinetic Jacket Review on 09/05/2012 12:43:53 MDT Print View

My 2011 Kinetic has deep mesh lined pockets than run below a waist belt on a backpack. They vent really well and will allow you to trap items below the waist belt while keeping the above the belt portion unzipped. No pit zips. I hate hoods but Rab has converted me. Their hoods are amazing and do not obscure vision at all. Rab has become my go to brand for everything. It's a great jacket. I got mine on sale for $72 from Campsaver last year. 40% off I believe.

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Re: Re: Rab Kinetic Jacket Review on 09/05/2012 12:43:58 MDT Print View

Hi Dale,
I own a kinetic (the 2012 PS+ version reviewed here) and can answer your questions:

I take it that the jacket has no pit zippers. -> Correct, no pit zips.

Do you use the pockets to aid ventilation? -> Yes. This was part of my reasoning for going with the Kinetic over the Pulse.

If so, do the pockets dip below the zipper opening enough to retain small items? -> The pockets extend about 4.5 inches below the end of the zipper track, and you don't need to have them open all the way if your goal is to aid ventilation. As the pockets are fairly deep, I don't think you'd have much reason to worry about items falling out in most situations.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the jacket. Breathability is pretty decent and the jacket is a very functional minimalist design. Weight is a mere 231g for my unmodified men's medium. I agreed with Chris' assessment of the feel of the fabric on skin - it's pretty comfy for a WPB, not plastic-baggy at all. The hood is great.

One caveat: I find the cut in the shoulders is a little narrow compared to the shells I've tried from other manufacturers. I'd recommend interested buyers consider sizing up depending on the intended layering strategy - I have a 39" chest, broad shouldered, and layering a rab infinity down jacket underneath is a no go for me (although I do have room for a lighter weight insulated jacket such as my stoic hadron or rab xenon).

Edited by Dianoda on 09/05/2012 14:54:08 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Rab Kinetic Jacket Review on 09/06/2012 18:19:02 MDT Print View

I agree with Joseph, calling the fit "medium" is misleading if it is the same as the Pulse. My Pulse is quite narrow in the shoulders but seriously wide in the waist. I had to size up to an XL for my shoulders and chest, but I have nothing but flapping fabric below them. It's the only thing I don't love about the Pulse.

Also--where are the details and serious testing in this review? It feels more like a Backpacker blurb than a BPL review.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
yeah on 09/06/2012 23:08:17 MDT Print View

a little unclear why this was reviewed...

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: yeah on 09/08/2012 10:01:45 MDT Print View

This was more of a "show and tell" than a full fledged, trail tested review. That's ok.

I would like to know how that tissue like 2.5 layer Plus handles shoulder strap rubbing and hipbelt wear over extended periods of time. Also, what sort of "foul" conditions is the Kinetic designed to contend with?

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Missing Substance on 09/11/2012 16:25:16 MDT Print View

That's fair--I am fine with spotlight reviews (isn't that what BPL calls them?). However, Chris has had the time to test this on the trail. I know that Dave did a mini-review of the Pulse, but he hikes in different conditions than Chris, had less space to give to testing and review (as he was doing several jackets at the time), and BPL billed this as a full-fledged review. Spotlight reviews are fine and good, but this seems like a missed opportunity on a (at least potentially) popular product.

What the issue really comes down to--at least for me--is that there are three paragraphs in the review. Much of the information appears to be a repetition of Rab's own press release on the jacket.

Frankly, that is not up to BPL's editorial standards.

Adam Kramer
(rbeard) - F

Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
sizing on 09/12/2012 07:18:26 MDT Print View

im 6'0 180, 34 think a large would be too tight/restrictive? want to wear this in summer and winter. thanks.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: sizing on 09/12/2012 23:13:12 MDT Print View

The waist will likely be fine. How broad are your shoulders? That's the bigger question and where the fit is the tightest.

If you order from Campsaver, their fit guarantee makes getting the right size about as easy as it possibly can be over the internet.

Josh Laurandeau
(jlaurandeau) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Availability? on 03/29/2013 15:42:19 MDT Print View

Looks like a great jacket. I have however been unable to buy one. I had a Kinetic Jacket ordered (for about a monty) from 123outdoors and finally today recieved an e-mail that the earliest that they could get one to me was August!

Does anybody have any suggestions for jackets of this weight and quality that are actually available??

I've Already looked at the Golite tumalo 2.5 layer jackets, but the largest size they come in is large. I am an XL normally, but prefeer XXL so I can have a layer underneath...