Keela uses its own Air Xtreme Advanced fabric, which is a 3-layer laminate with stretch that is water- and wind-resistant but not as breathable as an open-weave material; but you do also get side zips to aid ventilation. You also get two Napoleon chest pockets plus two handwarmer pockets. There is a hood with a wired peak and the cuffs get Velcro adjustment. At 663g it’s not the lightest option, though. 4/5
The size range is S-XXL for men. On me the fit was slightly looser than some and allowed some space to wear an insulating layer underneath. The hood fitted particularly well and easily moved with the head, while its wired peak allowed excellent vision. There is very little movement in the cuffs when raising the arms, too. 4/5
The Air Xtreme Advanced fabric is softer than many membrane materials while the air-channelled soft-brushed backer adds great comfort against bare arms and over other layers. The fabric is less breathable than more open-weave options but you can wear it in wetter and windier weather, so it depends where you sit on these two preferences. 4/5
There is great weather protection here, meaning the Keela Hydron is ideal for mizzly mountain days. The hood is so good that you can wear it all day and still navigate to the end of your route. The two Napoleon chest pockets are larger than many, making them useful for GPS receivers or phones as well as a small guidebook. The lower pockets are OS-map-sized but access to them is easily obscured by rucksack hipbelts. 4/5
The price is very good for the number of features and the level of wind and water protection being offered here. 5/5
The Keela Hydronoffers outstanding protection from wind and rain, along with a range of very practical features. 4.2/5
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2016
At just £20, the Keela ADS 100 Short Sleeve Round Neck Top is such a bargain that you might choose to buy a few, and with such a vast array of colour options you could really go to town with your walking wardrobe. Truth be told, you’ll probably want more than one if you’re going on a multi-day hike – the 100 per cent polyester fabric can really start to pong after a hard, hot day. But in a budget base layer the fabric’s ability to shift moisture is more critical that its ability to remain odour-free. The Active Dispersal System (ADS) material wicks well, demonstrating that Keela has got its priorities right. Because the wicking properties are inherent to the yarn and the weave of the fabric rather than any special coating, it’s not affected by washing either, ensuring this top has a good lifespan.
Material 100% polyester
Colours grey, white, orange, green, blue, black
Weight 158g (size M)
Of the base layers we looked at, the Keela ADS 100 Short Sleeve Round Neck Top is the best budget option.
Review by Ben Weeks
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013
The Keela ADS Long Sleeve Zip Top base layer is a steal at the price; if it was a tenner more it would still be a bargain. Keela is very good at backing up its fine reputation for affordable quality, and this base layer is a great example of a basic yet does-the-job piece of kit which outperforms many comparable items at twice the price. Plus, Keela is a Scottish company, and it bases its designs on the specific rigours of British hill-walking. The base layer is comfortable, the fabric sleek against the skin and the outside durable-feeling and untroubled by an abrasion test. It’s light, and the ADS (Active Dispersal System) is UPF 40 rated and is quick to remove moisture away from your skin. A crew neck is also available. But the Keela ADS Long Sleeve Zip Top base layer is at the lower end of the price range and although it is stunning value, it has a couple of shortcomings that you won’t find on other, more high-end products. The material and overall design don’t appear as refined as base layers such as the Montane, and it does feel quite ‘synthetic’, which – while not unpleasant – won’t appeal to everyone. The neck label rubs a little, and the cut in the sleeves and the back could be a bit more generous, but these are very picky points as this really is a great buy.
Fabric 100% Polyester Keela ADS
Colours black; orange and grey (men’s); black (ladies’)
Sizes XS-XXL (men’s); 10-20 (women’s)
Weight 186g (men’s size S)
Made in Sri Lanka
Stores in the UK info not provided
Verdict: The Keela ADS Long Sleeve Zip Top is an unbeatable-value, high-wicking base layer for British hill-walking that outperforms much higher-priced models. It won ‘Best Value’ in our test.
Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine October 2009
Review: Not the softest fabric, but it stretched easily enough to allow unrestricted movement. The seams were more noticeable than most. The Ads felt dry against the skin and dried quickly when things did get a little sweaty. It loses a couple of marks as the neck-zip is shorter than most and it was also quite smelly after use.
Colours: Orange/grey, black
Fabric: ADS Activewear (Active Dispersal System)
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01592 777000, www.keela.co.ukVerdict: A value-for-money offering that looks good and copes well with moisture. It can be worn alone, or as a layer, and is casual enough to wear in the pub for a post-
Extremely comfortable, a great cut and nice and snug at the neck. It also has a lovely, soft fleecy lining. Claims to be waterproof as well as windproof and certainly kept showers and cold winds at bay. Heavy, but not too hot or bulky. Small pockets, and fabric reinforcements on the shoulders/elbows crackled with movement.
Colours: Grey/black, black, moss green/black
Fabric: Zetland 100
Contact: 01592 777000, www.keela.co.uk
Verdict: A great value-for-money jacket. Fussier to wash than most.
The waffle-patterned fleece lining felt comfy. The two-way stretch fabric felt light and didn’t restrict movement, but the cuffs were too tight to pull up. With waterproof fabric, taped seams and a hood, the Quantum is really weatherproof, but it loses out on breathability – the real calling card of soft shell – and wouldn’t work at all as a mid-layer.
Fabric: AirXtream Advanced
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01592 777000, www.keela.co.uk
Verdict: A waterproof/windproof shell jacket that falls somewhere between a waterproof and a true soft shell. Will do a job in winter, but there are better options for the money.
This soft shell jacket boasts waterproof fabric (but not taped seams); side vents; chest and hip pocket just about take an OS map. But 700g is relatively heavy; less stretchy than some; access to hip pockets is easily obscured by rucksack belts; no collar adjustment or hood to keep draughts out.
If you want a waterproof fabric that is durable and can tolerate the hip pockets this is worth a look, but others are more practical.
First published in Trail magazine September 2008