Friday, 23 August 2019 09:25

Rab Kinetic Pants tested and reviewed

Written by

I can’t say I’m much of a fan for waterproof trousers. It’s something we are often told to pack during Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and now outside of the awards it’s something I often have to remind myself to pack.

Of course, they have their uses, the obvious in that they keep your legs dry but the art of putting them on or removing them is something highly amusing!

Do you sit down gracefully and take your boots off and on again if the trousers have limited poppers or zips, or do you just hope they will fit over your boots which you could had sworn weren’t that large when you first put them on. Once on, waterproof trousers are very warm and not enjoyable to hike in, let alone go scrambling or mountaineering.

Rab Kinetic 1

The waterproof trouser has one use and that is, as I said before to keep your legs dry during wet periods. Here steps in Rab’s new Kinetic alpine pants. Unlike traditional waterproof trousers these are very comfortable to walk about in and go scrambling with and better yet they are waterproof and provide some wind protection and all weighing in at 280g, when they aren’t needed as an over trouser they can be tucked away inside the stow away pocket which fits neatly inside a trouser or jacket pocket. Better yet, you can use the Rab Kinetic Alpine Pants on their own as they function as a walking trouser.

What does Rab say:

Forget everything you think you know - the Kinetic Alpine Pants will change the way you dress for the mountains. Fully waterproof, highly breathable and stretchy, this is a radical re-approach to protective yet comfortable clothing systems.


  • 280g / 9.9oz
  • Proflex™ stretchy, breathable and waterproof fabric with tough nylon face
  • Ceramic print overlays on seat, knees and instep
  • High gauge knit wicking lining
  • Low profile drawcord waist adjustment
  • YKK® reversed fly opening
  • 2 YKK® zipped handwarmer pockets
  • YKK® zipped expanding ankle closure
  • Knee articulation
  • Webbing loops at hem for under boot cord attachment
  • Fit: Slim

Using the same material as the Kinetic alpine jacket, utilising the Proflex material which has plenty of stretch and protection from the elements as well as rocks and sharp edges if used for scrambling. I must admit like many others who first feel the material you may be concerned as to how strong it is, great it's lightweight, but if I’m paying £100 for a pair of trousers I want them to hold up to a thorny bush and rock face. In the few months I have been using them they certainly have held up to everything I have thrown at them and have transformed my thinking with waterproof trousers.

From gentle walks on the coastal paths, too hiking up a mountain with 35kg on your back and facing off sub-zero temperatures to finally taking the full force and impact of rock faces, shuffling and razor-edged rocks during grade 2 scrambles up a few munro’s. The Rab Kinetic Alpine pants have had it all and not suffered a rip, cut or scuff to the material and when it came to deal with the rain and wind it kept my legs warm and dry throughout the day. In the sub-zero conditions they were cold however, but these trousers have no insulation so is to be expected. However, they became great over trousers with the Rab vapour rise guide pants, which although are weatherproof, are not waterproof and in the bitterly cold winds we experienced on Snowdon and Carnedd Llewelyn for the UTS2019 mountain checkpoints, doubled up with the Rab Vapour rise and Rab Kinetic alpine pants was plenty warm whilst stood about for twelve hours at 1065m above sea level.

Rab Kinetic 6

So, who are these aimed at? With them being £100 they can seem expensive for the everyday walker, but for someone like myself for longer journeys in mixed conditions and activities they are perfect as a lightweight, waterproof trouser that can do it all.

The Rab Kinetic Alpine pants have become a must have now in my rucksack and I’m always sure to pack them to hand near the top for when rain beacons.

Now, as I mentioned with traditional waterproof trousers, the Rab Kinetic alpine pants have the same problem in that they have no full-length zipper or popper, after all they are more a walking trouser than the waterproof variety. So, when it comes to putting them on with boots on, you will have to do that old age dance to put the, on or by removing your boots. That is, if you use them purely for the waterproof extent but why would you need to? When they function perfectly as a walking trouser. You wouldn’t that is why. And, if it was to get hot as we have found recently the Proflex material is plenty stretchy to enable you to roll them up as shorts.

35kg,24c heat and running down the Pyg track on Snowdon with just a top and Rab Kinetic pants rolled up as we hurtle ourselves down the mountain to get home. Although hot work in general, my legs didn’t feel hot and sweaty, but my body did hurt from the heavy pack weight and lack of sleep.

Rab Kinetic 7

Added benefits to the Rab Kinetic Alpine pants are the two YKK zipper pockets which can happily hold a large smart phone, however due to the style or the waist cinch I would advise not leaving heavy objects in the pockets to avoid having to pull the trousers up every now and then.

Rab Kinetic 4

The waist doesn’t have belt loops to hold the trousers up but uses a draw cord cinch on the front which you pull to tighten and lock in on the clip. It’s very easy to use and can be adjusted with one hand. This draw cord is plenty strong enough for holding the trousers up whether hiking, running or climbing but putting heavy objects inside as I mentioned might make the trousers sag somewhat but easy fix. Leave your phone or items in your rucksack instead which when climbing I often do regardless for added protection to screens and digital devices.

Rab Kinetic 5

In addition to the YKK pockets at the waist, the Rab pants have zippers on the rear of the ankles to help with wider shoes/boots. So, if you forget your gaiters the Kinetic Alpine Pants can do the work of keeping your ankles and some of the boot dry. The zips on the ankles aren’t needed in order to put the trousers on.

“Forget everything you think you know” says Rab and it couldn’t be truer with these revolutionised walking/waterproof trousers which not only are lightweight but are very durable and had no issues with gentle walks, hard climbs for example up the Clachaig Gully or Bidean nam Bian and the Hidden Valley routes to finally shrugging off the freezing winds on mountain summits, both working as a trouser on their own or as an over-trouser.

When the Rab Kinetic Alpine pants aren’t needed the handy stuff sack keeps them small and can be easily hidden away in the top of your pack or jacket pocket.

Rab Kinetic 3

The Rab Kinetic Alpine pants have become a must for my trips and walking, whether they are worn or simply in the bag for when rain strikes. They have changed my opinion of waterproof trousers.

MyOutdoors Scores:
Comfort 18/20
Breathability 20/20
Wind resistance 20/20
Water resistance 20/20
Durability 20/20

Total: 98/100

The reason why comfort hasn’t got a perfect 20 is for one reason and this being the belt, or lack of. Although the draw cord used to cinch the waist works, a belt or having the belt loops around the waist wouldn’t have gone a miss so you had an option between the two. With the draw cord tightened and pockets fill, I found the trousers wanted to drop and had to readjust and pull them up.

Transparency Notice: Please note that MyOutdoors receives free products for reviews from brands and manufacturers, but we only accept products for review on condition of total independence and no guarantee of endorsement.