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  • Writer's pictureHenry

Gear Review - Rab Khroma Kinetic Ski Jacket

Updated: Feb 21

Rab aren't a name you'd immediately associate with ski gear. Ask any outdoor enthusiast in the UK and they'll say Rab make some of the best down jackets in the land. And they really do. Rab have long been the industry leaders in down insulation, not just in the UK but worldwide. From insulating layers to belay jackets, about town pieces to sleeping bags, if it has down, it's gotta be Rab.


Which is good for Rab, as a lot of their other stuff has been utter crap at the same time. Aside from their Sawtooth walking trousers - that my partner and I both have and swear by - their attempts to create a more diverse range of outerwear has always been ... misguided. Using waterproof materials lacking in name recognition or quality, and focusing on softshells and fleece lining has meant that the 2010s have been a distinctly weird time for the brand.


Rab's expansion back into outerwear and more specifically skiwear is therefore a really exciting step in the right direction for one of the best and most historic British outdoor brands. But is it any good? I got the chance to try the new Khroma Kinetic jacket and take it out for a spin, and this is how I got on.

 

Ignore me doing my best alpaca impression to mimic the skis - the Rab Khroma Kinetic looks dead smart in Orion Blue colourway

 

The Khroma is a lightweight, breathable, stretchy jacket designed for skiing and specifically - although not limited to - ski touring. Straight off the bat, at least on the surface, there are a couple of drawbacks here; it only has a 20-denir face fabric, really soft for ski jackets that normally push 80 denir, and it is waterproof rated to 20,000m³ (not bad, not great). But to call these drawbacks is missing the point of the jacket. Its a ski touring jacket. A 20 denir flexible face fabric allows it to breather far more than a heavier face fabric, and 20,000mm³ hydrostatic head is more than sufficient for almost all skiing needs (which reminds me, I really need to do a piece on waterproofing).


And boy is this thing light and flexible. I barely noticed I was wearing it, which, for me at least, is a golden rule of high quality outdoor clothing. I didn't feel it rustling, I didn't feel its weight, and I didn't feel it restricting me as I tried to move. As I got moving in it I really noticed the breathability, as it turned into quite a warm day. It vented heat really well.


It fitted really well and true to size, too, with a large - my normal size at 6'2" and 100kgs - being perfect over a midlayer and t-shirt.


 

Who doesn't love a chairlift selfie?! The Khroma Kinetic sits really well, with the collars and hood (non-detachable) staying out of the way.

 

The Khroma was fairly well thought out in terms of its features too. High quality zips had ergonomically hoops making them easy to grab whilst wearing gloves, and a bi-directional zipper could be useful for some folks. The usual stuff like a lift pass pocket in the sleeve and powder skirt are all there.


Initially I was thrown by the choice of two napoleon pockets over normal pockets. However, the more I thought about it the more I realised this was a perfect choice for a touring jacket. All too often the straps of your pack can get in the way of proper waist pockets, and it's easier to grab things out of a chest pocket as you skin up or, even more so, when clipped to a rope. The placement, size, and build of these pockets was done really well.


The jacket lacks pit zips, however, which does see, an oversight. I was skiing in it on warm days and found myself instinctively reaching below my arms to rip open the vents to cool off, only to be sorely sweaty and disappointed. Skiing up on a war, day may prove to be a bit toasty!


 

Overall, the Khroma represents one piece of a barnstorming return to ski outerwear for Rab. Alongside an excellent range of more hard-core ski wear and their traditional excellent insulating layers, it's going to be exciting to watch as Rab carve out a new future from there brilliant past.

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