Essential Kit: Rab
Finding the right gear for a day out walking or climbing can be a difficult task, especially when it comes to cost and getting your head round the complicated specifications. When I first started going out to the mountains, I felt a little intimidated by the whole process and used to ‘borrow’ my dad’s climbing gear from his shed.
Rab have been brand that my father and I have turned to over the years. He put me on to them when he got his kit for his trip to Everest Base camp. I also loved the heritage behind the brand; Rab Carrington creating his own sleeping bags and jackets in the attic of his Sheffield home. They also got bonus points for their ‘Mountain People’ tagline as my son’s middle name was inspired by the Super Furry Animals song also called ‘Mountain People.’
THE KINETIC PLUS JACKET
I’ve tended to use a hardshell over the years but have found those to be a bit rigid and restrictive, especially with climbing. Since most of my days out now involve a toddler for company, the old backpack is often swapped for a carrier. This also made wearing a hardshell tough going.
I’d always thought that a softshell jacket meant less protection from the elements. The hardshell I had from another brand was rigid and certainly not breathable but these seemed like the compromises you had to make if you wanted to stay dry on the mountain.
That was until I found out about the Kinetic Plus jacket from Rab. The Kinetic Plus is a super lightweight an breathable softshell and wearing it was a joy. There was no rigidity with it and was lighter than any jacket I’d worn before. The Proflex™ fabric also meant that there was plenty of stretch; a must when it came to climbing or carrying a wriggling two year old.
The jacket also had a ‘flexible membrane’ meaning that the outer shell was treated for water repellency while the inner wicking moved moisture away from the body. How many times have you taken off a backpack and your jacket has been stuck to you? We tried the jacket on with a backpack and also a carrier and there was no such problem.
Let’s be honest though, a jacket has to also look good. It shouldn’t be completely utilitarian to the point that you’d wear it out in the middle of nowhere but hide it in your backpack once you hit civilisation.
The Kinetic Plus is a good looking jacket. The taped seams, adjustable sleeves and hood and those A-line pockets made it a handsome piece of kit.
The Kinetic Plus is an amazing jacket. It’s lightweight to the point that you forget it’s there and unlike a hardshell is compact when stowing it away in a bag. It’s a jacket you can trust to deal with the elements, be it challenging weather conditions or a challenging child on your back. Aesthetically, it’s also a lovely jacket; beautifully constructed and designed.
Put simply, if you’re looking for a jacket that’s super lightweight, breathable, flexible and looks marvellous too then this is the jacket for you.