In this paper, the potential of load adaptation for enhanced backoff efficiency in RF power amplifiers (PAs) has been investigated through a 0.13-mum silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS fabrication technology. The RF power performance of the adopted SOI CMOS process has been preliminarily characterized by on-wafer load-pull measurements on a custom unit power transistor. A 2.4-GHz 24-dBm 2-V SOI CMOS PA with fully integrated reconfigurable output matching network has then been designed and experimentally characterized. A significant efficiency improvement of up to 34% has been achieved through load adaptation, peak efficiency being as high as 65%. Linear operation has also been demonstrated under two-tone excitation, as a 16-dBm output power has been attained while complying with a - 40-dBc third-order intermodulation distortion specification.