The Mountain Equipment Kinesis Jacket is apparently aimed at keeping alpinists and ski-mountaineers warm, yet breathable, and incorporates Polartec Alpha to achieve this end. So what’s it like, and does it work – read on for our Mountain Equipment (ME) Kinesis Jacket review.
The ME Kinesis is described as a ‘hybrid layer’, which isn’t always a good start, but due to the design and materials here works out pretty well. At first sight, you’ve got a very lightweight windproof shell fabric, backed with ultralight micro-grid, with an additional Polartec Alpha 60g layer in the main body.
Total weight for a large jacket on our scales was a respectable 343 grams, and in a handy feat of origami packs down into one of the hand pockets to save carrying a stuffsack. There’s even a little tab to clip it to a harness, which is a nice touch, and this is exactly the type of jacket you’d be pleased to have after topping out.
In spring UK conditions it’s a perfect insulation weight, and the grid interior does promote breathability as ME claims. The hood is decent enough for a midlayer, easily covering a helmet, and the drawstrings are neat enough. Weight saving means the cuffs are simple elastic (see below), but that’s not too much of an issue here, and means they can easily be shoved up the arm if required.
ME’s own Helium 30 outer face fabric is certainly windproof enough, and incredibly light. We’re always a bit dubious about mountain gear that isn’t windproof, but this lightweight does a great job on that front, and packs down well – you’ll struggle to fit it in a pint glass, but not by much.
Polartec’s Alpha is really on the front foot here, ultralight, breathable, but chipping in some good insulation. It’s kinda like a development of an old Rab Generator jacket in use, just less burly (and much lighter too as a result), faster drying, etc. It’s a well-executed design, as you’d expect from Mountain Equipment, with nice little touches like a velcro logo on the hood that doubles as an attachment point for rolling the hood away, and hidden adjusters for the hood itself.
On the downside, ME’s Helium 30 outer face fabric is on the delicate side – granite will see this off sharpish, unless you’re guide-like balletic and careful with your gear. That’s really the compromise here – light vs durability – and to be honest it’s an endless debate, although we’re always a little on the ‘light is right’ side personally.
Overall, the Mountain Equipment Kinesis Jacket doesn’t disappoint – it’s light, warmer than it should be, windproof and a decent cut. Ideal for extreme alpine, but also great for most spring/autumn UK wanderings. As a lightweight all-rounder it’s a strong choice, whether you’re planning striding up Snowdon’s Pyg track or leading sea cliffs, this’ll see you right.
Available now from all good retailers – best price we found was Facewest for £135.
Still not convinced? Here’s Mountain Equipment via the BMC doing a quick rundown of the Kinesis in video format: