The brand new Rab Kinder Smock (£160) is based on an original design by the British based company from some 30+ years ago. This smock design has long been recognised as ideal when in situations that might need a harness worn, such as rock climbing, but here we are seeing it as an eye-catching piece of apparel for general outdoor use.
Materials & Production
The outer material used in this Rab Smock-style jacket is Pertex, and it comes in a choice of three colours: anthracite, deep ink or the colour of ours which is rust. Pertex is a durable and water resistant soft-feel material and here it covers a down filling, which in turn has been through a Hydrophobic treatment which stops it absorbing too much water and helps it keep its shape. The stitching on this garment is excellent, with good straight lines keeping the down in place within the fabric. There are two rugged YKK VISLON zips used, both of which have insulated baffles covering them and are lightweight and easy to use. In fact, this Rab Smock is extremely light and airy to wear.
Wearing and Use
The first thing to be aware of is the fact that, because of the smock style, when donning this particular Rab jacket you do need to pull it over your head. To help in this there is a long vent zip on the right side of the smock which allows you to pull on and take off the jacket in comfort and without a struggle. Once on, the first thing we noticed is just how lightweight it is - as light as a feather, so to speak at 708g - which is 100g lighter than the similar in class Snugpak SJ6 Jacket. It also fits snugly and is well-tailored, with an elasticated pull cord around the waist to help in the shaping and to keep out the weather. The wrists are also elasticated with a Velcro adjustable fastening.
As soon as you have this jacket on, your hands go straight into the amazingly spacious kangaroo pocket which extends right across the lower front. Of course, this is the beauty of the smock style and something not to be ignored, as not only does it keep your hands and wrists truly warm, but it's an amazing space for the reasonably safe storage of items you wish to carry. Nevertheless, Rab have also included an inside zipped pocket over the left chest area, the opening of which is angled and makes it ideal and easily accessible for the safe storage of wallets or mobile phones, etc.
Obviously the true test for this Rab Kinder Smock has to be wearing it outdoors in some reasonably bad weather. Well, as it happens, we have had some really strong 70mph gales here in recent days and one thing is for certain, this jacket does not let the wind through. Belying the fact that it is so lightweight, the down filling keeps your body's warmth insulated and very snug - it feels like you have a heater around you. Once the rain starts the Pertex keeps you dry and with both zips having insulated baffles, that are also fastened by press studs, there is no ingress of either wind or rain via these. The only shame, when in heavy rain, is that there is no hood within the collar, but perhaps this is something Rab might consider in future production. The collar itself is actually full of down and does keep it's shape with regular wear, keeping out the cold and, it has to be said, looks sharp style-wise.
The retro Rab Kinder Smock is a very good-looking and fashionable outdoor jacket. At a retail price of £160.00 it has definitive tried & tested durability and weather resistance built-in. The truth is though, that although it is designed as a piece of outdoor clothing for rugged use, we would not hesitate to wear it anywhere, because it looks good as a garment and makes an excellent fashion statement.