Fjällräven’s Keb Jacket is something else altogether. It’s been my first choice as my woodland ranger jacket, partly because it kinda looks the part but also because it’s perfect for the task. But it’s a complex bit of kit and it’s given me dilemma’s when using it. I shall explain.
Looking at the basics the Keb jacket is cut from the same fabric as the Keb Trousers reviewed immediately below this post. The lighter coloured fabric is the G-1000 polycotton and the darker panels are the softshell.
The same attention to user detail and function apply here too along with a slightly fitted but not too neat cut with perfect articulation around the arms. Over a baselayer the size large (794G) is a joy to wear with a good length on the body and nicely long arms
The paneling of the fabrics is done the right way with the G-1000 where you need it’s wind resistance on the chest and it’s abrasion resistance on the shoulders, forearms and hem. The big softshell back section is positioned to keep you drier and a pack cuts out most of the wind so it works well in most situations.
There’s zipped side vents which can be zipped open from top or bottom and these are great hand warmer as well which is usefull as the chest pockets are napoleon style. These pockets are a big with stretchy softshell external bags sewn onto the G-1000 which mean you can stuff kit into them without any effect of the fit of the jacket. Both popckets have wee internal stretchy extra pockets for your phone or things of a similar size and shape to your phone, like someone else’s phone or two Nestle Animal bars perhaps.
There’s another small zipped pocket on the left upper arm and like at the zips it’s got a magic wee leather pull tag with an arctic fox on it. Love that wee touch.
The main zip is chunky and has stiff internal and external stormflaps with additional poppers top and bottom to seal you in. The lower hem is adjustable, a bungee cord with caoptured cordlocks and the cuffs have old-school self-fabric wide velcro tabs. The cuffs pull around half way up my forearm which has been fine, there’s enough venting here for me not to need them up to my elbow in the cool weather the Keb works best in.
Then there’s the hood. The hood is all G-1000 and based on a polar design which gives you a tunnel in front of your face for complete protection. The stiff peak can be folded back to give you better vision and even when folded down the hood protects with a high collar, I can get my nose in it when the jacket’s zipped right up.
There’s velcro tabbed volume adjustment and cordlocked bungees to draw it in around your head and face.
The hood is a work of art.
But, it doesn’t fit on the this jacket for me, it’s too heavy and bulky and offers more protection than the rest of the jacket, so you you’ll have to throw on another layer in bad weather and this hood will not layer under anything I have, even the biggest helmet compatible hood.
I’d keep the G-1000 up to collar height and then make a more basic hood from the softshell so it can be layered more easily. The fabrics used are very breathable and quick drying, they layer under Gore-Tex and eVent perfectly, but the hood thing had me keeping the Keb at home and taking out other kit although I knew that the rest of the jacket would work perfectly.
I love the Keb Jacket and I use it all the time around the Kilpatricks, but the hood limits it for me. It’s been incredibly frustrating as it’s a jacket that’s been built for the mountains.