The Fjällräven Keb jacket is part of the Keb collection – the most technical clothing line of Fjällräven – and is named after Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden. It is intended for demanding tours in high mountain areas and as such focuses on freedom of movement, ventilation, a high level of comfort and the ability to handle almost any weather.
The Keb jacket is intended as a “shell” for active outdoor activities such as hiking in the mountains or mountain climbing in demanding weather all year round. I mainly used the jacket during hikes in Scotland, where I also wore the Keb 52 backpack.
Like most Fjällräven jackets, the Keb is largely made of G-1000, the sturdy and durable blend of polyester and cotton of 65-35 per cent. Although this is often mentioned as a Gore-Tex alternative, the G-1000 is not entirely watertight. Although the wind and water resistance can be considerably improved by impregnating the jacket with Greenland Wax.
In spite of that, you still need a hardshell or raincoat for persistent showers, drizzle or a short shower are excellent. The advantage of not being 100% watertight is that the ventilation of the G-1000 is unparalleled and that the durability is incredible.
Features Keb jacket
Smart features are the stretch panels that cover the chest pockets. They are spacious enough to stash items such as smartphones, GPS, gloves or other items without hindrance.
As you would expect from a jacket like this, it has an elastic drawstring in the hem so that it fits nicely and snugly on the hips. This ensures that no wind comes through.
The first time I pulled the hood over my head, it turned out to be a big hood. It felt a bit ‘over the top’, but it did well in adverse weather conditions and kept the rain well out of my face.
Every advantage has its disadvantage. This also applies to the hood. Because the material is stiff, it is difficult to make it right “small”, which means that it sometimes flap in the wind. On the other hand, if you wear the hood with the wind, it will stay in place due to the stiffness.
The Keb Jacket can best be considered as an unconventional softshell, with the ability to vary the levels of wind and weather-resistant and breathability depending on the application of Greenland Wax. By waxing the jacket, you make it weatherproof (ideal for the Scottish climate), but you also make it less breathable. Wash it a few times and the breathability returns (suitable for the summer months). With 700 grams, it is not the lightest jacket, but it is not designed to be the lightest, but it is to be durable.
Fit & model
There is a Keb jacket for both men and women. It is absolutely “fitted” with a good fit over the shoulders and an ideal sleeve length.
In general, such jackets are designed to be used as part of a layering system, which means that the user must have sufficient remaining space for a base and mid-layer and in extreme circumstances even a hardshell. Nowadays, most insulation layers are filled with down or loft fibres, which means that they rely on the principle of air. This means that the user needs extra space to retain that “warm” air. With a tight-fitting jacket, the user will smother the mid-layer, nullifying the insulating effect – meaning he or she will eventually get cold. So even though this jacket is tailored, there is enough room for the base and mid-layer.
There are two substances used in the Keb, each with different properties.
G1000 Eco is made from 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton and is used in areas with high wear, including the hood, shoulders, front and lower back. This fabric is responsible for the overall durability of the jacket, which is exceptionally strong and durable. It is this material to which you can apply Greenland Wax, which helps to increase water resistance and – just as important – increases the overall durability of the jacket.
The stretch material is 63% polyamide, 26% polyester and 11% elastane. This material is not only stretchable, but it is also highly breathable – so it is used on the back and arms. Greenland Wax cannot be applied to this material. This fabric is not as durable as the G1000 Eco.
It is also worth noting that the cotton used in the G1000 fabric is organic, while the polyester in both the G1000 Eco and the Stretch is recycled. All in all, and the wear-resistant nature of the Keb Jacket, this makes it an attractive option for those interested in a lifelong investment that has an environmentally-friendly look that goes beyond the overall appeal of the implementation.
The Keb jacket is hard-wearing, durable, windproof and – if treated with Greenland Wax – very water-resistant. It is also extremely versatile, but that does not mean that it is suitable for everyone. For some, the price or weight will be the bottleneck of not choosing this jacket. One thing is sure: if you buy a Keb jacket, the chances are that it is a well-considered purchase and one that will probably last a very long time. For me, an investment that is more than worth the price.
What does the jacket cost?
The Keb jacket has a suggested retail price of € 299.95 and is available at Fjallraven.com, among others.