/ REVIEW: Fjallraven Keb Jacket

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The Keb Jacket is more than tough enough to sustain heavy use whilst scrambling on rough rock Rob Greenwood gets out his hairdryer (yes, really) to test the Keb, an adaptable, durable and ecologically friendly softshell jacket from Fjallraven.

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Ramon Marin 01 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

You don't own an iron Rob? Of course you don't ;-)

MonkeyPuzzle 01 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Looks tempting. My trusty Montane finally died a death last year and I was astounded at how much jacket prices had seemed to go up over a few years. If these are as bombproof as they sound then the outlay could be worth it.

DaveHK 01 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

If there are large areas of stretch fabric you can't apply the wax to what's the point of waxing the rest of it? Unless the stretch fabric is made water resistant in some other way?

MischaHY 01 Jul 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

The G1000 is in the 'high impact' areas where rain tends to hit and seep on a softshell i.e. shoulders etc. Remember it's only a softshell so the waxing is just to offer the chance of improved water resistance. 

DaveHK 01 Jul 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

So surely it just runs off the waxed panels and soaks into the stretch panels? Doesn't sound like the waxing offers much of a benefit to me.

MischaHY 01 Jul 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

The waxing is simply a feature that Fjall offer on any clothing that has the G1000 fabric. It's not a hardshell and shouldn't be viewed as one - it can simply be mildly more water resistant than without, and will remain warm when wet. I'd compare it to the Rab Vapour Rise in that respect - warm, comfy and not bothered by a day out on the hills in misty, damp conditions. 

Ridge 01 Jul 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

> So surely it just runs off the waxed panels and soaks into the stretch panels? Doesn't sound like the waxing offers much of a benefit to me.

Agreed. Seems like a solution in search of a problem, unless I haven't yet discovered a need for a partially sort of waterproof jacket.

DaveHK 01 Jul 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

I understand what a softshell is and how they work I just don't understand why you'd want to make some parts of a softshell significantly more water resistant than others. The rab vapor rise you compare it to doesn't have that feature and I'm not aware of it being a common feature of softshells. The keb might work well but I suspect it's not because of the waxing.

andi turner 01 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I've had mine for a few years now and really stand by it as an excellent jacket. You feel very 'protected' in it. 

Granted, those stretchy panels don't take the wax, but at the same time, you don't seem to get very wet through them either, it's well thought out. Combined with a woolen underlayer, it's pretty much my go-to top half for three quarters of the British year.

In reply to DaveHK, MishaHY, and Ridge

Morning all,

Sorry for the delayed reply, we're out in Germany at the moment attending OutDoor.

As per the review, it's best not to think of this as a waterproof - more as a softshell which can provide quite impressive levels of water resistance. When it comes to the stretch panels, there are ways of making this more water resistant if you should wish, such as using something like TX Direct, which is exactly what you'd use on a Rab Vapour Rise. In fact, referencing the Vapour Rise it's worth noting that if we're criticising the stretch fabric on the Keb we're essentially criticising almost every other softshell product on the market, because this is the sort of stuff they're all made of (give or take).

I also agree with Andi's sentiments that you don't seem to get that wet. The only time I did it was well and truly hammering it down, and I was only out in it that day for the purposes of testing its limits (really I should have been out in a full blown waterproof jacket on that particular day). 

baron 02 Jul 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

> I understand what a softshell is and how they work I just don't understand why you'd want to make some parts of a softshell significantly more water resistant than others. The rab vapor rise you compare it to doesn't have that feature and I'm not aware of it being a common feature of softshells. The keb might work well but I suspect it's not because of the waxing.

I saw one of these jackets earlier this year.

Liked the look and feel of it, tried one it, felt very comfortable.

I wasn’t sure about paying £265 for a jacket but figured that it would probably last a long time.

Then I discovered that it wasn’t waterproof.

Really? £265 and then I have to wax it myself. And even then only parts of it are waterproof.

Maybe I’m biased as I’m not a fan of softshell despite some people swearing by the stuff so the jacket went back on the hangar and back on the rack.

It did look good though.

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Frank R. 02 Jul 2019
In reply to baron:

> Really? £265 and then I have to wax it myself. And even then only parts of it are waterproof. Maybe I’m biased as I’m not a fan of softshell despite some people swearing by the stuff

Have you seen prices of e.g. Arcteryx softshell jackets lately? They are not waterproof either  It's just pricing, it can seem ridiculous at times, but it is what it is (although I would be more amenable to their high price if the products, at least in case of most Fjallraven trousers, were made in the Europe instead of Vietnam - I don't know where the jackets are made)...

BTW, from my own experience with Fjallraven trousers, waxing them really well is quite a chore, even with an iron instead of hairdryer but it does help. Of course they are not waterproof, it's just water resistant.

Post edited at 11:34
Ridge 02 Jul 2019
In reply to baron:

> Really? £265 and then I have to wax it myself. And even then only parts of it are waterproof.

You can get a half decent wax cotton jacket for £40

Fruitbat 02 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I read somebody describing his Fjallraven jacket (one of the waxed ones, not sure which model) as 'what he wears when he wants to be not quite dry enough and not quite warm enough.'

Fruitbat 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Frank R.:

> Have you seen prices of e.g. Arcteryx softshell jackets lately? They are not waterproof either  It's just pricing, it can seem ridiculous at times, but it is what it is (although I would be more amenable to their high price if the products, at least in case of most Fjallraven trousers, were made in the Europe instead of Vietnam - I don't know where the jackets are made)...

I seem to recall that some of their jackets are made in Vietnam and others in Europe (Portugal?). Yes, fairly high prices but they do seem to be well-designed and made and I suppose they would cost even more if they were all made in Sweden (I believe it was originally made there). Maybe they could be compared to Patagonia whose clothing is equally as well though-out and solidly made but is usually made abroad, although they do seem to make a few occasional pieces in the USA. 

Not sure about the Keb jacket in this review but I understand that Fjallraven's traditional/original garments (the 'Numbers' clothes) were designed for use in cold, dry(ish) climates, hence the waxed cotton. Like all these things, though, they get spotted by the fashionistas who don't worry that their £400 jacket isn't ideally suited to the British climate; it certainly didn't seem to concern all the hipster/IT types I spotted in Glasgow earlier this year who all seemed to be issued with Fjallraven kit to keep them snug in the coffee shops.

Post edited at 19:55
Frank R. 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Fruitbat:

> it certainly didn't seem to concern all the hipster/IT types I spotted in Glasgow earlier this year who all seemed to be issued with Fjallraven kit to keep them snug in the coffee shops.

I would not mind being issued a few more myself, the trousers are quite comfortable in coffee shops, come in nice colours and in the city, when the weather turns bad, they are pretty good at keeping the autumn wind out

On a more serious note, the price is high but I found the fit pretty good, especially for slim and taller people who have a hard time fitting slim but long legged trousers (some of them you can trim the length yourself to fit, they are produced over length). And I usually bought them for 1/2, since it seems some colours were not selling that well

When well waxed, I found them pretty ok for hikes, snowshoeing and such in drier winters (as you note, the environment they were mostly made for), the fabric is pretty windproof and the wax resists the occassional snow or light drizzle pretty well (of course, for more serious conditions or outings, full waterproofs are my choice).

Toerag 03 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Have you worn it in the car Rob? If so, the bobbling on the right chest pocket is from the seatbelt.

To others - this essentially providing similar levels of weather protection to military clothing, ventile garments and softshells without looking military, 'posh hunter-ey', or 'softshell sporty'.

Ridge 03 Jul 2019
In reply to Toerag:

> To others - this essentially providing similar levels of weather protection to military clothing, ventile garments and softshells without looking military, 'posh hunter-ey', or 'softshell sporty'.

I'd argue it doesn't give the same level of weather protection as ventile, a bit more than softshell and military stuff tends to be a layered system including hardshells.

It's probably a nice enough jacket, just seems to be an odd compromise of materials, especially for UK conditions.

ColdWill 06 Jul 2019
In reply to Fruitbat:

My missus just bought me a Skogso jacket, does that me a hipster wanka????

wbo 06 Jul 2019
In reply to Ridge: remarkably popular in Scandinavia (unsurprisingly) particularly for hunting and similar.  Don't hear many complaints although I've never fancied it myself.

A bit like buffalo in that sense?

toad 06 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I really like fjallraven stuff except in horrendous downpours. I'm more canoeing and walking atm and it feels quieter and less obvious than a goretex shell and lighter than paramo. G1000 Does wear at the seams if you dont keep it waxed, mind. 

Dave the Rave 06 Jul 2019
In reply to ColdWill:

I’ve got one too but I’m not a hipster;).

Personally I think it’s a cracking jacket. Good fit, good hood.

Its not a substitute for a shell jacket even when waxed but it keeps off a shower. Breathabilty is excellent.

nathan79 06 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Looks like a nice bit of kit apart from the hood which looks absolutely terrible. A real shame as I like the body of the jacket. 

I generally like the look and quality of Fjallraven gear, I've got a Greenland parka as my general everyday autumn/winter coat (when it's not bucketing down). I've never bothered with the wax, preferring the ease of Nikwax cotton and canvas proofer spray-on. 6 or 7 years on it still looks brand new.

ColdWill 07 Jul 2019
In reply to Dave the Rave:

Annoying about the cuffs being too tight or too loose isn't it?


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