“As soon as my Kinetic Plus jacket arrived I was impressed with how soft and comfortable it felt.”
Charlie Low is a climber based in the Peak District. She runs the popular Women’s Trad Festival every summer, she climbs and she’s all round outdoorsy – perfect for a review of the Rab Kinetic Plus Softshell Jacket!
What I love:
My previous softshell was quite stiff and not very form flattering, but in comparison the Kinetic Plus fits extremely well; it felt comfy straight away.
Where I tested it:
I wanted to try it out in a variety of environments over a couple of months, so the places I tested it include sea cliff climbing in Pembroke, scrambling in the Cairngorms, and climbing in the Frankenjura forests.
The Kinetic Plus is quite a fitted jacket – I was testing an XS which is my standard size, and I was able to fit a t-shirt and fleece underneath, but I couldn’t fit it over my synthetic jacket. If you are looking for a softshell to fit over quite a few layers, I would recommend sizing up by one size.
The jacket is a good length on the torso and the arms, and the close fitting stretch hood fits really well over a helmet which makes it perfect for windy climbing days. It’s also just an incredibly comfortable jacket – it’s made from is super stretchy kinetic Proflex fabric, meaning you have full movement when climbing. The adjustable cuffs are another feature which make it a great choice for a climbing softshell.
As the jacket was much thinner than I was used to in a softshell, I was worried that it might not be as warm. However, it has an inner flexible waterproof membrane teamed with an outer layer of Proflex treated for water repellency, and this means it beads really well. It’s also an incredibly breathable jacket; a long walk-in to the crag wearing a heavy rucksack would normally have me sweating, but I was fine in the Kinetic Plus. The zips on the jacket have taped seams which means you stay dry, even when it’s soaking wet outside.
The only quibble I would have is that as the jacket is so lightweight and soft, it could be quite easy to snag on sharp rock. My old, stiff softshell avoided any bobbling and I never worried about ripping it, whereas the Kinetic Plus’ lovely stretchy fabric instils the fear of ripping it in you.
It’s quite easy to leave little marks on it when climbing on sharp limestone cliffs, like those in Pembroke.
I found the Kinetic Plus to be a much more attractive jacket than most other softshells I’ve seen. As well as wearing it to the crag and in the mountains, I will also wear it to work if it’s a bit rainy out, as it’s very form-flattering. It comes in two colours: Steel (which I tested) and Nightshade, an awesome garish shade of bright purple. It has a nice contrasting logo and zips, which add a bit more character to the jacket. It would be great to see it in a couple of other colours – perhaps a bright yellow or green.
The Kinetic Plus is a well fitting, super lightweight softshell that looks as great as an everyday jacket as it does up in the mountains. Its waterproofness, breathability and comfort all justify the price tag.
Price: RRP: £170
Where to buy this: There are loads of places, but our favourite is specialist retailer for women Gear For Girls.
Thanks to Charlie for the awesome review.