Fjallraven – Keb Fleece

Unusually, I’m going to start this review with the price. You might want to sit down: It’s £155.

Take a moment, sip some tea, wait for the blood to return to your head and we’ll continue…

If you’ve never properly experienced the kind of gear that Fjallraven produce, then have a think about the conditions that their gear has to tolerate to get the picture. Imagine yourself in northern Sweden, where you survive by chopping logs, fishing and arm-wrestling reindeer. Extreme winters, blazing sun, physical work… you’re going to rip through cheap micro-fleeces in a week, and unfortunately it takes a week to get to the nearest store.

So, Fjallraven’s gear is built to last, and the cost needs to be thought of more as an investment and less in comparison to anything you will ever find in Sports Direct. In fact, try to ignore the name ‘fleece’ as well… it’s not a fleece like we know and love in the UK.keb1

The Keb Fleece is made from a mix of wool, polyester and elastane, which makes it behave somewhere between a man-made and a natural layer. It fits snugly and has loads of stretch to move with you during activities. It is fast-wicking, and fast-drying, and despite my best efforts to never wash mine it has yet to develop much of an odour.

The material is woven really, really tight which means that it is pretty windproof, and that it will shed the initial couple of minutes of a light drizzle. It will soak up water in anything persistent, but it dries really well and is pretty good at keeping you warm even when wet.

And indeed it is very warm. Too warm at times and it belies its thin finish – I have some heavy traditional fleeces that are less warm than the Keb.

We’re reviewing the version with a full-length front zip, but there are also alternatives which come with a half-zip and one with no arms – a gilet. I must say that I’ve worn it most of the time with the zip only done up a couple of centimetres, to maximise the breathability and keep myself from overheating.

The Keb has a high neck which is great for keeping out breezes, and a hood which comes in close to your head and keeps your ears toasty if the wind picks up.

It has a single chest-pocket, but lacks hand-warmer pockets – the only negative I have about wearing it as an outer-layer.

The waist and cuffs are non-adjustable, but have an elastication to keep things snug.keb2

Like all Fjallraven gear that I’ve tested, the Keb is super hard-wearing. Despite it’s snuggly-soft feel it has put up with everything from building works through to camping weekends and shrugged off dust, dirt and ick with ease. You can see in the photos here that it’s been recently employed as a site-jacket during some renovations.

So, back to that price. Is it worth it? Actually, given the abuse its had and the amount I’ve chosen to wear it instead of other tops, I think it is. Would I have paid for it? No, but that’s because I’m not the kind of bloke who saves up for investment-pieces like the Keb. I usually waste my money on cheaper gear which lasts a fraction of the time. Maybe I should think again about that.

5-hammersNote: Also available in Women’s