I reviewed the Fjällräven Abisko Trousers last year and they’re now all-time favourites and still in regular use, in fact they got to go on some extra trips the past wee while because I forgot to repair a barbed wire induced tear on the Keb Trousers I’m reviewing here. However, the Keb’s were sewn up in time to go to the recent Mournes trip and after all their hard work through they year I think they deserve a few words.
Fjällräven make the Keb Trousers in five colours and nine sizes for the men and four colours and eight sizes for the girls. There’s some delightful wacky colours in there which were out of stock in my size when my samples were ordered up, but to be honest I think it worked out well as the green and grey combo is wearing well, looks fine when dirty and contrasts well with all the other bright stuff I wear. I’ve been quite happy.
Size wise I’m a 52 in the Keb’s and the Abisko’s which fits in fine with my regular large or 34/36 jeans waist size. The legs on the Keb’s are perfect on me as they’re around 33/34″, but aren’t adjustable as the hems have a few features and there’s no leg options to buy.
The Kebs are very well engineered and are very well featured. They’re cut from G-1000 polycotton which is a fantastic fabric, it keeps out the wind, dries quickly and wears well. It’s tough, I wasn’t upset that the arse tore on a fence, it was my fault. In normal use it takes the knocks and abrasion very well and polycotton feels better in warmer temperatures than synthetics I think. Plus, longjohns winterise it just fine giving you a do it all pant if that’s what you’re after. Application of Greenland Wax at home or at your local stockist who has a machine will waterproof your G-1000 and it’s something that will wash out too, so there’s no gamble in trying it out. Good for the lower legs if you don’t wear gaiters.
The grey sections are a stretchy softshell fabric which has a high nylon content to give it strength but the best thing it brings is total freedom of movement. It has a matching quick drying time and the stretch panels are well placed and shaped to make the Keb’s fit and forget.
The crotch is designed for leg lift rather than relying just on the stretch fabric and the knees are articulated and doubled layered which again adds to the movement and durability. The inside ankles are doubled up too.
Trekking trousers with mountaineering levels of design and detailing? Aye, exactly.
The waist has belt loops with a zip fly and a two-button closure. This spreads the load and makes a nice flat panel which is addressing the possibility of a pressure point, it’s little niggles like the this you notice when it’s fixed like it is here.
There’s two big hip pockets which would probably take a loaf of bread and below them on the front thighs are big cargo pockets. On the right leg the closure has two poppers and an internal stretch phone (etc..) pocket and on the left leg the double poppered flap hides an additional zipped closure. Both pockets have bellows to give them good storage capacity without distorting your trousers or making you walk funny
There’s long zipped vents on the thighs and the lower legs with smooth zipper faces and zipper garages at both ends of all the zips. The vents are great, I had them all open on the whole Slioch trip earlier in the year and they don’t interfere with the drape of the trouser when they’re open. The lower vents stop sensibly short of the ankle cuffs so you can cool down and still seal the crap out of your shoes.
The ankles are made tough and retain their shape which helps when you seal them onto your boots with the wee concealed hook. Adjustment is old school with big poppers and webbing inside the hem. It works fine even with the metal parts being well scuffed now.
You can see the repair below, it’s neater than it looks in the photie! The Keb Trousers have a lot of thought put into them, they’re complex in design and to produce which shows how seriously Fjällräven regard the humble trekker and backpacker like you and me. It means the Keb’s are a pair of pants you can pull on, set off and live in.
Wearing these I’ve got kit and niknaks to hand all the time even if my pack’s lacking in accessible pockets. I’m comfy, unrestricted, I can cool down if I need to and I can layer under and over if the weather wants to play dirty. The cut is sensible too, straight, neither neat nor baggy. Nice to see some trends being ignored.
Bottom line, the Fjällräven Keb’s are a fantastic pair of outdoor trousers.