Type: Softshell jacket
KEELA are fast becoming my favourite outdoor kit specialist. Their Scruffer trousers, which I reviewed in the November 2018 issue, are still my favourite hiking trousers, and this softshell is now my go-to when I need a light outer layer.
It’s wind-resistant and water repellent, but fully breathable in durable stretch-tec fabric. “Water-repellent” doesn’t usually stand up to much in the Scottish climate, but this jacket held up well in light to mid showers, and in a sudden downpour it kept me dry long enough to grab a waterproof from my pack.
Good breathability, and side zips for ventilation make the softshell perfect for more strenuous exercise outdoors. It’s wind-resistant not wind-proof, though, so you’ll need something thicker in cold, blustery weather.
“When Keela say ‘hi-vis yellow’ – they really do mean hi-vis yellow!”
I wore this jacket on gnarly traverses of An Teallach near Dundonnel and the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glen Coe. Even on tough scrambles, the fabric’s durability, as with all Keela kit, did not let me down.
One point to note – when Keela say “hi-vis yellow” they really do mean hi-vis yellow! The shell does come in a more serene raspberry or uniform black, but the hi-vis is great for running at night, or in bad weather.
My first outing with the softshell on the Aonach Eagach ridge caused some amusement amongst my hiking pals. They would put sunglasses on to speak to me, and panic every time I took the jacket off – “We’ve lost her! Where’s Katrina? She just vanished!”
I did have the last laugh, however, when the mist came down and visibility got lower and lower. My hi-vis yellow jacket and I became rallying point – it was the only thing visible through the fog.
The side ventilation zips are well positioned, and, unlike many zips of this kind, they have a black lighter mesh lining underneath.
Least Favourite Feature
The thumb loops aren’t as well thought-out as the rest of the jacket. They’re not hugely comfortable, and I’d prefer a little more reinforcement.