The Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic Waterproof jacket is an outer layer with plenty of breathability and waterproofness you'd likely not attribute to such a soft-feeling garment. On wet winter rides, this jacket has been absolutely brilliant and further benefits from the use of recycled materials and great quality.
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Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket - Technical details
The Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic jacket is part of the brand's wider Kinetic range and is made from stretchy Proflex fabric, which has the protective properties you’d expect from a hardshell jacket – yet remains highly breathable, lightweight, and soft to the touch.
The jacket is engineered for days in the saddle and it features a longer back and silicone grip to secure the jacket in place. The sleeves are extended so they sit over gloves and keep the hands warm.
The large, peaked hood is designed to fit over the helmet and can be adjusted and cinched sleekly around the helmet, with one hand. If not needed, the hood can be rolled down.
There are two pockets on this jacket, a "Napoleon-style" zipped chest pocket that easily fits a phone, and an expandable, zipped pocket within easy reach at the back. Both of the zips are AquaGuard, which should keep water from seeping into the pocket contents.
The Cinder Kinetic waterproof jacket is made with a three-layer construction and from 100% recycled fabrics. The hydrostatic head number (HH) of the jacket is 10,000mm and the MVTR (moisture vapour transmission rate), which measures breathability, stands at 35000g/m2/24 hrs. These mean that the jacket remains waterproof under lighter pressure rain or snowfall, and is extremely breathable.
There are five sizes available of the jacket, ranging from 8 to 16 and three colours: marmalade (orange), Orion Blue and Patriot Blue (pictured here).
Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket - Performance
Fortunately, I've been blessed with a home located in ideal testing grounds for jackets like the Cinder Kinetic, in Scotland. With rain barely ceasing to be a nuisance even through the summer months, the Kinetic has become my go-to jacket for the unpredictable days out on the saddle, and it's very much impressed me with its capabilities.
The first thing to notice about the Cinder Kinetic jacket is its softness – it's got a little bit of stretch to it, too, making it really nice to pull on. It's very different to most waterproof jackets that have a rustling sound to them because of their waterproof, hard-shell nature.
Despite Rab's claims of this jacket having the waterproof qualities of a hardshell rain jacket, in my testing, I found it to be best suited for what is best described as "dreich" weather (cold). It takes quite a lot of moisture to hit the Proflex fabric before it starts to seep through, but if the rain is heavy this jacket is not beating one with a higher HH rating – although it does perform better than I'd expect a 10k HH jacket to do.
I would say that in about half an hour of (very) heavy, constant rain, patches of moisture start to puddle on the jacket and the beading seems to give in and let the water in. The jacket does excel in damp conditions and light rain though, because of its excellent breathability which makes moisture transfer through the Proflex fabric with ease. Riding in heavy rain conditions isn't probably ever comfy, so I think this jacket's performance in "normal" conditions is still more than good.
The overall fit of the jacket is great and I found the size 8 fitted me perfectly. What Rab describes as a "slim" fit is not a figure-hugging fit – it's not baggy at all, though. The sleeves are perfect length and extend well over the hands or gloves, and the dropped tail keeps the bottom protected even if I'd forgotten to put a mudguard on. Overall, the jacket is very comfortable to wear and the stretchy materials help with that.
The two pockets of the jacket are enough to store ride essentials: the chest pocket holds a phone easily and the extendable back pocket can take spares and snacks. The spacious nature of the rear pocket surprised me, really, as it looks like just a small pocket but extends to take whatever you can squeeze through the zip opening. The zips are equipped with proper draw pullers which are easy to grab even with gloves on.
Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket - Verdict
Although Rab is well-established in the outdoor sector, the brand is a relative newcomer to the cycling field. It has, however, nailed it when it comes to details with the Cinder Kinetic waterproof jacket.
To some extent, the jacket reminds me of the Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium women's jacket, which is also soft to the touch and although claimed as waterproof, it's not as waterproof as other jackets. The Rapha jacket retails for £275 which is a fair bit more than the £240 price tag of the Rab jacket.
The 7Mesh CoPilot Jacket that Ty tested is even pricier at £300 but benefits from an on-the-bike-carrying system and is a little more waterproof. But then we also have Endura GV500 Waterproof Jacket (£160) which is cheaper again.
None of the competitors listed above quite match the sustainability credentials of the Rab Cinder Kinetic, though, and especially for me, that is something that holds weight when I make a considerable purchase.
Overall, the Rab Women's Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket is an excellent, comfortable bad-weather jacket that is well designed. It's not for the heaviest of downpours, but for everyday riding, it's hard to beat in terms of quality and use of recycled materials.