First test: Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Anorak (2015)

It’s no longer enough to say a jacket is waterproof and breathable, as just about every jacket can offer this. According to Fjällräven it’s now important that a garment is environmentally friendly too, so it has introduced the Keb Eco-Shell clothing collection to ensure hillgoers are looking after not only themselves but also the planet. The range is intended to be recyclable, so it has an eco-friendly fluorocarbon-free durable water repellency (DWR) treatment, with each garment being minimalist with clean lines.

The material has a hydrophilic (water-loving) polyester membrane that blocks wind and rain while drawing sweat in the form of water vapour out of the fabric, to ensure breathability is good enough to prevent condensation build-up. On the inside there is a polyester lining to manage any condensation that may develop. On the outside a DWR treatment is given to the polyester outer to help fend off rain. The result is soft and relatively rustle-free material that boasts a ‘hydrostatic head’ of 30m and breathability of 26,000g/m2/24hr – values up there with the best.

But as any walker knows there is more to being comfortable in the hills than a great fabric, as a jacket’s design is equally if not more important. So I took the Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Anorak into the Lakes for a few weeks of testing in mixed conditions to see how it fared. 

This is a smock, with a jacket also available. It is long enough to cover my bum, which many jackets aren’t. It is also quite a loose fit, but you still get a small amount of hem or cuff movement when raising your arms over your head. The hood fit and movement are outstanding, with a wired peak providing perfect protection and great vision. The two chest pockets are Napoleon-style and easily take maps, but the main drawback of this design is there is nowhere to warm your hands. You get two side zips to vent the body, which are useful but rarely needed now that waterproof materials are so breathable. I’d rather have two hand-accessible pockets

than side vents for hillwalking.

The design is free of unnecessary seams for maximum breathability and durability, and this also helps to reduce the weight, which is 508g (men’s L) – similar to many top-end waterproof jackets. But the price is a little steep as there are really good jackets with similar designs costing around £50 less. 

Verdict

The fabric is a good step forward, the weight and the hood are great, but accessible pockets for the hands would make the Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Anorak better for many hillwalkers. The price is also a little steep compared to what else is available.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine September 2015

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