Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Pants review – feel like trail trousers but keep you impressively dry

UK brand Rab are bringing their huge outdoor experience to biking with distinctive fabrics and features delivering great results and these weather pants are a great example of that

Rab Cinder Kinetic Pants with a five star Bike Perfect logo
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

BikePerfect Verdict

Highly breathable, super comfortable ‘wear all day’ trail trousers that still give impressive weather protection


  • +

    Super breathable, comfortable, waterproof fabrics

  • +

    Slim, stretchy fit for on/off bike versatility

  • +

    Fully recycled fabric and PFC free too

  • +

    Cargo undershort compatible

  • +

    Regular or Long and men's or women's sizes


  • -

    You’ll still get damp if you’re going flat out

  • -

    Limited reflectivity

  • -

    Don’t stick your phone through the vent holes

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We'll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

Rab has a great reputation for mountaineering, hill running (and recently ski-ing) kit and now they’ve created the Rab Cinder range to fight for a place in the best bikepacking clothing market. The Kinetic Waterproof pants take the brand's proven, high-performance Proflex fabrics and build them into really comfortable, weatherproof wear all-day leg wear.

Rab Cinder Kinetic Pants rear view

The back of the trousers gets more waterproof, reinforced fabric (Image credit: GuyKesTV)


The front of the Kinetic pants uses the same 20 D Proflex stretch knit face 3-layer, PU membraned 100 percent recycled polyester as the Rab Cinder Kinetic jacket. The back half uses a woven version of that fabric. The seat panel, rear thighs, and drive side hem get more rugged reinforcing panels, and the crotch seam is offset to reduce wear too. They’re fully coated with a PFC DWR (Durable Water Repellency) treatment and all the fabrics, zips, cords, etc are fluoro carbon free too. 

Fabric stretch allows a much closer, tailored fit than most waterproof trousers. The raised, rounded back waist with a silicon grip print naturally sits high and secure but you can also adjust fit with a single-handed shock cord on the right, front side. There are two hand pockets with YKK AquaGuard zips and zipped thigh vents too. Double popper and zipped fly are handy for ’nature breaks’. Ankle zips make pulling them on / off easy without being tight on fat waterproof socks or looking weird off the bike. While all men's sizes come in regular or long lengths too, women’s sizes are all fixed lengths. You can get long Cinder Kinetic Waterproof shorts in both men's and women's fit for $185 / £150 / €180.

Rab Cinder Kinetic waist drawstring

The Kinetic pants fit and feel great, with a single-sided drawstring for fine-tuning (Image credit: GuyKesTV)


While fit is always a personal matter, Rab worked with as many different shapes and sizes of tester as possible. The mediums are perfect for me with a 31-inch waist that expands when I’m hyperventilating on hills. The soft fabric feel and stretch make them feel much more like a trail trouser than the rustling, stiff, clammy feel of most waterproof pants.

The highly breathable 35000g/m2/24 hrs MVTR (Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate) of the knitted front fabric and a 25000 MVTR rating for the woven back panels keep them sweat-free at cruising pace. The back panel fabric also gets a higher (20k versus 10k) hydrostatic head rating to reflect that most water is coming up from the back wheel when you’re riding. Whether it was the pressure of the saddle against the fabric or just because I sweated more I did still get a wet shorts pad and damp legs if I was working hard for long in persistent rain in the Kinetic’s. Then again that’s been the case with every pair of waterproof trousers I’ve ever tested apart from the far more expensive 7Mesh Thunderpants

The leg vents also help regulate temperature and dry undershorts quickly if they do get damp. They also allow access to the leg pockets on cargo liner shorts (Rab tested other popular brands as well as their own to ensure they lined up. Just be careful not to forget there’s no mesh backing and accidentally drop your phone down your leg like I repeatedly did. Despite all the features they still look ‘civilian’ enough to wear off the bike if you’re bike packing or rambling. 

Rab Cinder Kinetic Pants

Leg vents aid cooling and let you get to cargo pockets but don't drop your phone in them (Image credit: GuyKesTV)


While Rab doesn’t treat their legendary mountaineering reputation lightly, prior experience with waterproof pants (and waterproofs in general) made me deeply skeptical of their ‘game-changing ride all day’ claims for the Kinetic Pants. There are some high-energy/relentless river ride situations where you will end up with a wet backside. 

Fit and extended wear comfort are outstanding for trousers that will keep you dry and warm in most wet conditions. That means I’ll happily head out in them just in case the weather turns bad later rather than saving them for storm-only use. That versatility and Rab’s excellent reputation for customer service (including repairs) make them better value than they might first appear and it’s good to know the planet isn’t unduly suffering at your expense.

Close up view of the Rab Cinder Kinetic Pants ankle zips

Generous ankle zips make putting on or taking off the pants easy and you'll always be ready for a '70s disco too (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Tech specs: Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Pants

  • Price: $225 / £190 / €220
  • Sizes: XS-XL Male, 8-16 Female
  • Options: Beluga black or Orion Blue (tested) in men, Beluga black only in female
  • Weight: 300g (medium) 
Guy Kesteven

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since we launched in 2019. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Forbidden Druid V2, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg