The Fjällräven Keb Touring Down Jacket is a down jacket from the Keb Touring line. “Keb is a series of technical outdoor garments that have been developed for demanding treks where freedom of movement is just as important as durability and protection from difficult terrain,” states Fjällräven about the Keb family.
When you hear the word “touring” you might think first about ski-touring, and the Keb line is absolutely suitable for that. But also for trekking, hikes and technical walks. In the Keb line, you can also find among other products the Touring Trousers / Pants and a Shell jacket. The down jacket that I am looking at in this review is made for colder winter hikes. You can wear the jacket as an outer layer, but also as a mid layer under a shell jacket when it snows or rains.
I have used the Fjällräven Keb Touring Down Jacket under various conditions and different activities:
- In the Netherlands during camping out at temperatures from 0 to +10 degrees.
- At hikes in Stubai, Austria, with temperatures ranging from -5 celsius (north slopes and faces around 3000m) to +10 degrees, south slopes around 1800 meters.
- In daily life frequently, dog walking, forest walks, through the city and standing at the sides of sports fields, with windchill dropping to -40 ;-). In dry weather and in the rain.
Comfort & wear
The fabric feels comfortable, the jacket is not too thick, it moves well during the hike, the cuffs and hem lie well, the higher collar feels good, the hood fits perfectly…it’s simply one of the most comfortable products I have ever worn.
Honestly, the first thing that came to mind on hearing of the combination of a down jacket with touring is that touring is an aerobe activity. Your body warms up, you sweat over a prolonged period of time, and down jackets are just not that breathable (which you need to get rid of that transpiration moisture). Down is specifically good at retaining heat. That is the point of wearing down. Normally I would wear a shell jacket with a good breathable mid layer and base layer during this type of activity. So how smart is this combination?
There are of course circumstances that a down jacket is fantastic and even necessary for touring adventures: during touring at lower temperatures (from -5 Celsius and below) and when you rest during your tour or when you arrive at your campsite, bivouac or final goal.
I noticed during my hikes that on the higher, somewhat flatter parts at lower temperatures it was wonderful to walk with the jacket as the outer layer. The microclimate on my body was well regulated (not too hot or too cold). Despite the fact that the down layer naturally does not breathe very well, the outer materials do, although I honestly did not feel that very consciously. I did notice I walked longer segments of the trail at a fairly high pace without feeling to warm and clammy (and that while wearing a backpack as well.)
I think that if you spend a day between -10 and -15 degrees Celsius the jacket can be very good as an outer layer (certainly in combination with a warm mid layer), and that with lower temperatures you can wear it as a second mid layer under a good shell. An alternative is to take the step to the even heavier “expedition” jackets from the Keb line.
Warmth en insulation
On my breaks during the hikes, it was wonderful to snuggle my already warm body in that lovely jacket, which envelops you like a super-light (600gr for size medium) and comfortable sleeping bag. It really insulates very well, and is certainly windproof. The hood that can be set with one hand on the back of the head is very comfortable and fits well around your head. The high collar is lined with fleece on the inside so that it feels soft against your face / mouth.
The down works perfectly, and it is worth mentioning that this concerns “ethically produced down”, in which the origin is traceable and the down is a by-product of the meat industry. That means no live animals were plucked. For more info about this interesting Get The Low Down On Our Down is an interesting read.
As mentioned, the down jacket is extremely wind resistant. On the one hand because of the down, but also due to the outer layer of 100% recycled polyamide. The outer layer is reasonably water-repellent due to the PFC-free DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating. When I wore it in the rain in the Netherlands, however, the material saturated or “wetted out” quite quickly. After having had the coat inside for a while (1 to 1.5 hours) the jacket was dry on the outside again, but I still felt a bit of chill in the jacket, though I don’t think the down itself got wet. That chill also quickly disappeared when I put the jacket back on. But if you do expect rain or snow it is advisable to wear a shell jacket over it.
The jacket is reinforced on the shoulders, the back, and forearms with double layers of fabric. Especially on the shoulders, it is also visible through the shoulder pieces in different colors. The jacket has two hip/side pockets, a “Napoleon pocket” on the chest and two spacious pockets on the inside of the jacket. What’s cool is that in the right hip/pocket there is an extra safety pocket for eg your phone that can be closed with an extra zipper. A pocket in a pocket.
The jacket is subtly finished with the traditional Fjällräven logo of the Arctic Fox on for example leather zipper labels, buttons and on the shoulder. It also gives the jacket as a whole a stylish feel.
Versatility is increasingly becoming an important review point for us at GearLimits, because we believe that the more versatile something is, the more sustainable it is. Simply because then you only have to buy one product for many different activities. The less you buy the more sustainable you are. And you have more value for money!
That is also very much the case with this jacket. Because of the style that the jacket has, it is versatile in the sense that you can wear it in daily life and even in more formal business settings. It does not look extremely technical; although some people may find that a disadvantage.
I stood along windy and cold Dutch sports fields where the wind can blow freely and during those many hours of standing still where the only action was cheering on my kids, I was only too happy with my Keb Touring Down Jacket and the warmth it brought.
The Fjällräven Keb Touring Down Jacket is first and foremost a technically good product. For extra warmth when needed (and possible) during winter hikes at low temperatures. But it is more versatile than that; the great design and beautiful color, comfort and warmth makes it extremely useful in everyday life as well.