Keela Cairn Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Cairn is a new jacket from Keela, using Aquaflex 3-layer fabric, which is thin, flexible and slightly rustly, but it does help to keep the weight down to a competitive 337g (size M). There are two main pockets that extend to close to the hem. The third chest pocket is quite small and potentially too high on the chest. You do get a wired peak on the hood, though, which is good. 4/5

Fit

This is only available for men but there is a wide size range, from XS-XXXL. The fit is shorter than other jackets by quite a margin, but it does have a good fit with excellent freedom of movement in the sleeves without the cuffs or hem riding up. The hood also fits and moves with the head exceptionally well. Pity there’s no version for women, though. 4/5

Comfort

The material is light and soft, so this moves with the body and feels very comfortable. 
The hood fits closely and is very comfy too. But as it is shorter than others my bum is less well-protected, so the Keela Cairn is not a jacket for the wettest and coldest of conditions. The thin material also buckles in the wind more easily than that used in heavier jackets. 3/5

In use

The weight is a real bonus but this is less suitable for wild conditions as it does not trap warm air inside so well due to that short length and flexible fabric. The hood is great though. The pockets are annoying as the main ones extend to the hem so they can be difficult to fully access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. The high chest pocket is very small and a rucksack shoulder strap can partially cover it. 3/5

Value

The price is very good but with some slight changes in design this would offer far better performance for the money. RRP £176. 4/5

Verdict

The Keela Cairn is a light, well-priced jacket; but the details let it down, which makes it frustrating to use in challenging weather. 3.6/5

Keela Prosport (2015)

Features

The Keela Prosport features System Dual Protection comprising of a 2-layer waterproof and breathable stretch outer with a high-wicking ADS laminate lining to manage any condensation, so you stay dry from both rain and sweat. You also get pit zips for venting, and three outside chest pockets plus a dedicated map pocket under the stormflap. The hood has a wired peak too. 5/5

Fit

The size range is huge, with the men’s version available in XS-XXXL and the women’s in 8-20. The four-way stretch fabric allows a closer fit and movement in theory. On me the fit was slightly looser than some and did not quite cover my bum, which is like many jackets. The hood fits closely though and moves well with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Keela Prosport is heavy at 837g (size L) and feels bulky and obtrusive compared to other jackets. It’s also a little warmer due to the System Dual Protection construction, so in summer it may be too warm, but you can wear less underneath in winter of course. The good news is you don’t get any condensation build-up inside as this system does manage it very well. 4/5

In use

The weight and bulk are drawbacks for year-round use but the features are quite good. The hood fits and moves well and has a wired peak so vision is great. The two main pockets are map-sized and easily accessed while the third chest pocket is great for a GPS receiver or phone. The dedicated map pocket inside the main zip stormflap is great. 4/5

Value

There are a lot of features here so the Keela Prosport has to be good value compared with many jackets, but it is very heavy. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lot of great features and can tolerate the weight and warmer design then the Keela Prosport is ideal, particularly at this price. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

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Keela Saxon (2015)

www.keela.co.uk

Features

The Keela Saxon is a very lightweight jacket at just 263g (size XL), and it benefits from a hood with a wired peak and two main pockets. There is reflective piping as well, which would be useful at night. For such a lightweight option the jacket is slightly longer than might be expected. But it does lack the extra pockets and pit zips of heavier models. 4/5

Fit

Available in men’s sizes XS-XXL and women’s 8-20, the Saxon did not quite cover my bum but was longer than some lightweights. The fit was slightly looser than some, while the sleeve movement was excellent with cuffs and hem staying put when I raised my arms. The hood also fits and moves exceptionally well. 4/5

Comfort

The Saxon is made from a 2.5-layer FlyLight Aqua fabric, which is light and thin, which means it tends to buckle in the wind and does not hide condensation as well as 3-layer or mesh lining alternatives. The pockets are also mesh-lined so care is needed to prevent leaks through them. But the low weight aids the comfort of course. 3/5

In use

The two pockets are mesh-lined and placed where access is easily obscured and there is no third chest pocket, so in use this is not as good as other jackets. The hood and sleeves are both great though and a major benefit. The weight is the biggest plus point here though, and for some it will be the feature that overrides any other drawback. 3/5

Value

The weight is superb and the price is superb, and if you are able to accept the drawbacks with the pockets this jacket will be considered stunning value. 5/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket this is the best here, but the features are not as good as in many higher-priced alternatives. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2015

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Keela Saxon / Storm (2014)

Features

At just 251g (men’s L) the Keela Saxon definitely won’t weigh you down – and that is the big feature here. To save weight, however, it is a little lacking in features. So there are just two body pockets, no external stormflap on the main zip, and no pit zips. But you do get a hood with wired peak, plus rear and face drawcords that can be rolled to the collar. 4/5

Fit

The men’s Saxon comes in sizes XS-XXXL and the women’s Storm in sizes 8-20. The body is short (as are most lightweight jackets) and did not quite cover my bum. The body does fit very well though with excellent movement in the sleeve without the cuffs or hem riding up. The hood fit is outstanding with excellent movement to allow really good vision. 5/5

Comfort

The Keela Saxon/Storm made from 2.5 layer Flylite Aqua, which won’t be as comfortable as those made from 3-layer laminates or those with mesh linings. But it is still waterproof and breathable of course. There is no external stormflap over the main zip, so it’s possible this area may be cold or even damp in really bad weather. Also, as this is quite a thin fabric, it generally does feel a little colder than stiffer, air-trapping fabrics. 3/5

In use

The low weight is a real performance benefit. The pocket access is not ideal when wearing a rucksack, however, which is a drawback, but the hood is superb and really is better than many higher-priced options. So it’s a mixed bag of pros and cons here depending on what your performance preferences are. 4/5

Value

The Keela Saxon/Storm’s performance and features are limited and I suspect many would prefer a more general hillwalking jacket for a few pounds more. 4/5

Verdict

Ideal if on a budget and low weight is your main need.

4.0/5

www.keela.co.uk

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2014

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Keela Cumulus MRT Pro (2103)

Designed in close collaboration with mountain rescue teams throughout the world according to Keela, and also the lightest jacket in its Dual Protection range, the Cumulus MRT Pro still weighs in at nearly a kilogram (size L). This weight is due to a huge feature set and the fabric. The material used is a robust outer and a liner that moves moisture away so that condensation is very well-managed, although these days most waterproof jackets do control condensation pretty well in a lighter package than this. However, there are four main external pockets, plus two additional Napoleon (chest) pockets under the main zip stormflap, so if you like plenty of storage then this is ideal for you. There is an additional small pocket on the sleeve too. I like pockets, but this is more than even I could use! The two hip pockets are well-placed to allow access above a rucksack hipbelt, but only the two pockets under the main stormflap are large enough to easily take an OS map, so it’s going to be hard to find a use for some of them. The Keela Cumulus MRT Pro can be quite warm due to the liner material effectively adding insulation, but there are pit zips to reduce overheating. The hood is very good, though, with a great wired peak plus superb fit and movement, making it by far the best feature of the jacket.

Weight 926g (size L)

Fabric Innovation 8

Lining ADS Laminate

Men’s sizes S-XXXL

Women’s sizes none

External pockets 6

Can hood be rolled down? yes

Side/pit vents yes

Website www.keela.co.uk

Verdict

Mountain rescue teams may love the Keela Cumulus MRT Pro; but for hillwalking there are too many pockets, which add to the weight. The hood and price are superb though.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2013

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Keela Cumulus MR Pro (2013)

The Keela Cumulus MR Pro is designed as a 4-season jacket and it was developed in partnership with mountain rescue teams. On paper it sounds great and there are some instant boxes ticked in terms of its design. Firstly it’s made from Keela’s waterproof and breathable fabric, which has a wicking liner that rapidly moves moisture away, and this works well. You get four main external body pockets, plus a dedicated map pocket under the main stormflap and a small sleeve pocket. Only the dedicated map pocket is map-sized, while the two hip pockets have limited access when wearing a rucksack and the two chest pockets are a touch small for a map. The hood is pretty good, though, with a wired peak and good movement when adjusted. The body length is about average, but there are plenty of good longer jackets available. The major downside is that the Keela Cumulus MR Pro is quite warm and heavy, meaning in winter when it is worn all day it is good, but on a mild, wet day it may be too hot and when it is stashed in your pack its 900g weight (size L) will make a significant difference to your rucksack.

Weight 900g (size L)
Fabric Innovation 8 with System Dual Protection
Lining polyester mesh
Men’s sizes XS-XXXL
Women’s sizes none
External pockets 6
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips yes
Website www.keela.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Keela Cumulus MR Pro is a great winter jacket, although extra length and improvements in the pockets would make it even better. The drawbacks are the weight and excessive warmth.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013


Keela Pinnacle (2012)

Keela is well-known for producing fully featured, well-priced kit – and the Pinnacle is no exception. It’s made from a robust 3-layer fabric that is a bit stiff and noisy. Put the jacket on and you get a double stormflap over the front zip to keep the rain out with an extra map-sized pocket behind these flaps. There are two chest pockets placed very high on the body (in fact they are just a few centimetres too high), which are map-sized and can also be accessed while wearing a rucksack belt or harnesses. The hood gets a wired peak, volume adjustment and face drawcords, which helps it fit closely and move easily with the head. I have seen better hoods, but it is more than capable of providing good protection. There are pit zips under the arms for improved ventilation control too. The main problem with this jacket is that it is a little short and the sleeves ride up when stretching upwards while scrambling. The weight-conscious may also consider it to be heavy.

Weight 752g (men’s L)

Fabric 3-layer Blizzard

Lining none

Men’s sizes XS-XXXL

Women’s sizes none

External pockets 2

Wired hood yes

Side/pit vents yes

Website www.keela.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Keela Pinnacle is a reasonable jacket for the price, but the short style, weight and high chest pockets are drawbacks that mean it is not the perfect hillwalker’s option.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


Keela Munro 2010

The Keela Munro’s fabric provides better condensation control than others; four external pockets; pit zips; removable snow skirt; double stormflaps over main zips for better water resistance; dedicated map pocket. But 1095g (size L) is very heavy; pockets are relatively small; hood is not as good as higher-priced options.

The Keela Munro is a good general-purpose jacket with superior condensation control, but heavy.

First published in Trail magazine November 2010


Keela Simpson 2010

The Keela Simpson is a frequent winner of this category and there is a special limited edition colour available this year: Tyrian Purple (in this colour the Simpson comes with a matching scarf). The price remains the same as last year though, as do the basic features. The full-length zip gets external stormflaps to keep the rain out and there are two equally well-protected pockets on the body too. I particularly liked the large fleecy chinguard, which is ideal for protecting the child from the main zip. Also there is reflective piping on the front and rear of this jacket. The hood can be rolled into the collar when not needed, but it also has a good chance of fitting well as it benefits from volume adjustment at the rear and elastication around the face. The hood also gets a wired peak so that the child can see more easily.  But if you pay more you can get a jacket made of fabric that is rated with higher performance levels in terms of breathability and waterproofness. Some jackets are also lighter than the Keela Simpson, which you may feel is important if you are going to end up carrying it more than your child wears it!

Outer Rainlife 5000
Inner polyester mesh
Fabric waterproofness waterproof
Fabric breathability breathable
Sizes 1 to 14 years
Weight 416g (3/4 years)
Made in Sri Lanka
Stores in the UK 30

The Keela Simpson is a great jacket at a great price for kids heading outdoors in all weathers. It won the ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2010


Keela Pinnacle Lite 2010

The Keela Pinnacle Lite general-purpose jacket uses Innovation 8 waterproof and breathable fabric; mesh lining; pit zips; main zip gets external stormflaps; two large chest pockets are accessible with rucksack hipbelts on; hood rolls to collar and has wired peak. But 754g (size L) is heavy; short body means overtrousers will be needed often; chest pocket zips are relatively short.

 

The Keela Pinnacle Lite is heavy and not perfect in every way, but for the price it is good for general walking.

First published in Trail magazine November 2010


Keela Zeus Smock 2009

The Keela Zeus Smock multi-activity jacket uses Rainlife 2000 waterproof and breathable fabric; smock design ideal for biking, climbing, running; huge chest pocket; pit zips aid ventilation; good basic rollaway hood; reflective piping. But 522g (L) is quite heavy; hip pocket access is easily obscured by rucksack belts; higher price brings more waterproof and breathable fabric.

Verdict: The Keela Zeus Smock multi-activity jacket is superb for the price; decent for biking, runs, climbing and hiking but more money brings better performance.

 

First published in Trail magazine November 2009


Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket 2009

A superb choice for kids heading outdoors, the Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket is a frequent winner of Trail awards. The fabric is waterproof and breathable, and feels robust enough to cope with scuffs and scrapes. The mesh lining adds a little extra comfort too. There is a full-length zip, and the chest pocket and lower pockets are all get zipped access. All these zips are protected by stormflaps to keep the worst of the rain out. There is a large, fleecy chinguard at the top of the main zip, which is ideal for protecting the child from the zip. The hood can be rolled into the collar when not needed, and it has a good chance of fitting well as it benefits from volume adjustment at the rear and elastication around the face. The hood also gets a wired peak so that the child can see more easily. Reflective piping is provided on the front and back of the jacket for night walks.  But the Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket’s fabric is not as waterproof or as breathable as some others, but of course you have to pay more for that extra performance. Some other jackets are lighter too, which can be an advantage if the parent ends up carrying it all the time!

 

Outer Rainlife 5000
Inner polyester mesh
Fabric waterproofness waterproof
Fabric breathability breathable
Sizes 2 to 14 years
Weight 416g (3/4 years)
Made in Sri Lanka
Stores in the UK 30

Verdict: The Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket is a great jacket at a great price for kids heading outdoors in all weathers.  It won both the ‘Best Value’ and the ‘Best in Test’ accolades in our review.

 

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2009

 


Keela Isla 2009

The Keela Isla utilises the tried and trusted classic design for a general waterproof jacket. So it comes in a waterproof and breathable fabric with a mesh lining for extra comfort. The main zip has a double stormflap to keep the water out too (a relatively rare feature these days). The jacket has two base pockets but the body is long enough to allow access to these pockets while wearing a rucksack. The hood can be rolled into the collar when not required. On the head it benefits from reasonable fit. Drawcords at the hem and waist plus Velcro cuff adjustment mean you can enhance the fit and lock out the wind. This is a simple, sound and effective design that’s ideal for generally being outdoors walking. But the Keela Isla’s hood is a little strange as it has a wire at the base of the peak, rather around the peak rim. This wire doesn’t appear to help in any way to keep the rim of the peak in shape so it seems pointless to me. For more money you get less weight and more breathable fabrics of course. And it’s no good if you are male, either.

 

Outer 2-layer waterproof and breathable fabric
Inner polyester mesh
Fabric waterproofness very waterproof
Fabric breathability breathable
Sizes 10-20
Weight 608g (size 14)
Made in Sri Lanka
Stores in the UK no info provided

Verdict: If £80 is your budget then you’ll struggle to find a better general outdoor waterproof than the Keela Isla.

 

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2009


Keela Zeus Smock 2008

The Keela Zeus Smock features Rainlife 2000 waterproof, breathable fabric; smock design; huge chest pocket; pit zips; good basic rollaway hood; reflective piping. But 546g (L) is quite heavy; hip pocket access is easily obscured by rucksack belts; higher price would bring more waterproof and more breathable fabric.Verdict
The Keela Zeus Smock is a superb, low-priced jacket for biking, running, climbing and hiking; but more money brings even better performance.

First published in Trail magazine November 2008

Keela Cumulus

The soft fabric rustled a little but was easy to move in. No problem with fit – good length in the body and sleeves and plenty of adjustment. Hood quite small, though. Kept the rain out, but very sweaty, even with the venting pockets and pit zips wide open. Light and reasonably compact in a rucksack, though, and the chest pockets can also hold a map.

VITAL STATS
Colours: Khaki, black, charcoal
Sizes: XS-XXL
Fabric: Innovation Lite
Key features: Rollaway hood with stiffened peak and volume adjuster, drawcord hem, pit zips, two chest pockets
Weight: 680g
Women’s version: Unisex
Contact: 01592 777000, www.keela.co.uk
Verdict: The Cumulus is a slightly lighter waterproof jacket that isn’t too much trouble to carry. A good thing as some may find it too sweaty for really strenuous walking.

Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket 2008

A regular winner of Trail reviews of kids’ jackets, the Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket is still very hard to beat. It’s made from a good waterproof and breathable fabric with a mesh lining, so it should be comfy. The chest pocket and lower pockets are all zipped, with stormflaps to keep the rain out. The front zip gets a large, fleecy chinguard too. The hood is particularly good, with face and volume adjustment plus the ability to roll it away in the collar. Finally, reflective piping adds a little security for when the nights draw in. But the Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket’s fabric is not as waterproof or as breathable as some other fabrics.

Outer Rainlife 5000 Inner polyester mesh
Fabric waterproofness waterproof
Fabric breathability breathable
Sizes 2 to 14 years
Weight 554g (11/12 years)
Made in Sri Lanka
Stores in the UK no info provided
Verdict
The Keela Simpson Advanced Jacket is an ideal jacket for most children heading outdoors in all weathers. It was awarded both ‘Best Value’ and ‘Best in Test’ in our review.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2008

Keela Stashaway 2008

The Keela Stashaway is a lightweight jacket that weighs just 366g (L); Rainlife 200 waterproof and breathable fabric; external stormflap over main zip; hood rolls into collar; two large chest pockets; comes with stuffsack.  But very basic hood with dangly drawcords, and poor fit and poor movement.Verdict
The Keela Stashaway is a very low-priced lightweight jacket with good pockets but a very poor hood.

First published in Trail magazine November 2008

Keela Munro 2008

The Keela Munro has been a popular low-priced option among winter jackets for many years and it is still hard to beat in terms of value. It comes with a unique fabric called Dual Protection System that ensures the wearer doesn’t suffer from the build-up of condensation often associated with other systems. It has loads of features including a removable snowskirt for deep winter snow. The jacket is a little longer than some and so the two external chest pockets can take an OS map at a squeeze and two hip pockets can be accessed below a rucksack belt. The rolldown hood, which has a wired peak, fits superbly and moves effortlessly. Use this in cold weather and it is ideal, particularly if you are on a tight budget. But the Keela Munro could be regarded as Best Value in our review, in many ways, but the lining adds a little extra warmth and weight to the jacket that is not welcome. The added warmth means you don’t need to carry so much insulation in colder weather but this is still a drawback in mixed winter weather. The chest pockets are a little smaller than ideal.

Outer: Innovation 5 Ripstop
Inner: High Wicking ADS Micro Laminate
Fabric waterproofness: extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability: extremely breathable
Sizes: XS-XXL (men’s) ; 10-20 (women’s)
Weight: 1015g (men‘s L)
Made in: Sri Lanka
Stores in the UK: no info provided

Verdict: The Keela Munro winter jacket is a  superb price for so many features and exceptional condensation control, but the weight is a drawback.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2008

Keela Sonic/Prosport 2008

The Keela Sonic/Prosport general-purpose jacket weighs just 644g (men’s L): Blizzard waterproof/ breathable fabric; sonic welding to reduce bulk; rolldown hood; chest pocket just about takes a map; excellent movement in sleeves; excellent hood movement. But you get higher levels of waterproofness and breathability at higher prices; two waist pockets obscured by hipbelts; front zip lacks stormflap.Verdict: The Keela Sonic/Prosport jacket has poor access to waist pockets, which lets down a light jacket with a good hood.

First published in Trail magazine November 2008