Bombproof armour for all season use.
- Bombproof construction and mega waterproof.
- Easy repairs done in the UK
- Great features and generous fit.
- Heavy and bulky
- Keela Aquaflex Extreme not as breathable as Gore-Tex.
Some companies like to proclaim themselves loud and bold through social media channels and ‘ambassadors’ of dubious provenance. Some companies like to operate in the background producing high quality, functional kit at half the price. Keela is one of the companies.
Based in Fife, Scotland Keela have been making high quality, robust outdoor clothing for the military, outdoor professionals and the emergency services for over 30 years. They also produce a complete range of outdoor clothing and accessories for the likes of you and me.
The Keela Pinnacle Jacket is not the full top of the range jacket Keela offer, that is the Munro which is designed for MRT and expeditions and comes with a weight tag of over a kilo so packing that for a winter day out is big ask. The Pinnacle jacket weighs in at a lower 680g (although the CGR scales weighed the jacket in at 650g) so is a much more sensible proposition for packing. Maybe a little too heavy and bulky for an emergency throw on in summer conditions. Think “I’m heading out into some ‘weather’ and I know I’ll be using this for most of the day” conditions.
The Pinnacle jacket is designed for 4 season use and its totally bombproof construction is definitely suited for all season wear. The high stitch count and fully sealed seams help to throw off all the rain the UK mountains can throw at it. The seam seals are full 2cm seals so no micro sealing here to shave off a few grams.
Aquaflex is Keela’s own proprietary fabric and is a fully 3 layer fabric. The Extreme is a more durable version with a more robust finish. The Pinnacle jacket performed well in rainy conditions and I stayed dry in all conditions except active exertion (i.e. hiking up steep hills). The pit zips did help with ventilation and they were easy to access and use with nice sized tags.
The breathability is not as good as Gore-Tex and will need washing and reproofing when the breathability starts to become impaired. If I’m honest (and for those who regularly read my hardshell/waterproof reviews) breathability of a hardshell is a tricky call as we all perspire differently. I have worked as a Mountaineering Instructor, teacher before retiring and am still a keen outdoor mountaineer and I feel the best you can ask for is to be warm and damp for a day out on the hill in dodgy winter conditions. You pay a high premium for Gore-Tex and although you may get some breathability benefit from mild exertion – when working hard you will ‘wet through’, especially if it’s raining.
The fit is generous with more than enough room to fit over a fleece or soft-shell. In fact the jacket is well sized for winter use as it fitted over two base layers and a fleece. The test size was a size Medium and my chest size is 40”. The arm length was OK for my 5’ 7” frame and could be tightened using the flexible wrist closure tabs. So, size wise I would say perfect for winter adventures and colder days when a fleece may be worn. It didn’t feel too baggy when worn with a harness for climbing in.
And talking of climbing the helmet compatible hood is excellent. It’s fully adjustable with easily located cord locks which are easy to use with gloves on. It also works well for general hiking and worked very well with my usual cap/hod combo. I find that works best as if I have a beanie under a hood my head boils. The hood is finished with a stiffener and wire so you should be able to get a fit that works for you.
The Pinnacle jacket has four useful pockets: two hand warmer and two chest pockets. The chest pockets are especially useful for access to kit when wearing a climbing harness or pack waist belt. All the rubberised coil zips have well sized zip tabs that are easy to use with gloves on. There is no internal zipped pocket so keeping gloves warm involves stuffing inside the jacket. I did find the chest pocket and zip pull great for stashing my compass in. I attach the compass cord to the zip tag for extra security. Finally the finishing touches include reflective Keela logo on the shoulder and forearm. Brushed micro fleece chin guard and neck and a tab for rolling the hood away. The hem cinch is easily located on both sides of the hem and if you like to have your jacket permanently tightened at the hem then there are couple of tags for clipping the excess cord on the inside, which is a neat touch.
All in all, the Keela Pinnacle jacket is a great technical hardshell that is more than up to the job of keeping your dry(ish) and warm(ish) on the most foul of winter adventures. It is well featured for both mountaineering and technical winter climbing and the price point is excellent with first class aftercare service.
The Keela Pinnacle jacket comes in 4 colour options: blue, red, orange and black.
Sizing options are XS – 3XL and the SRP is £184.95.
There is also a female specific version that comes in 3 colour options and sizes: UK8 to UK20. The SRP is the same.
It is available direct from Keela and specialist retailers.