When I saw this jacket I feel instantly in love with it. Because it’s a bright, vivid, lime green. My pet hate with ladies outdoor gear is that it is generally found available only in pale pink or baby blue. Something pastel. Now while I’m sure there are many women around who like a feminine touch to their outdoor wardrobe, most of the girls I know who like to throw themselves merrily at rocky terrain in the not-always-terribly-hospitable UK countryside, are not particularly girly. I certainly am not. I’d far rather manufacturers concentrated on actually fitting the female form, rather than decorating it. (If you do like more subdued colours, you can also find it in black – GWA Ed)
So, my first box is well and truly ticked. My second, fit, is also a rousing success. The Keela Ladies ProSport jacket is designed well – it fits as though it was designed for women, rather than just being re-badged menswear, nipping in slightly at the waist to stop those pesky draughts, with an adjustable hem, and a scooped back giving a practical longer ‘tail’ to the otherwise fairly short overall length. With a wired, deeply peaked, corded, adjustable hood that folds easily away, wet hair whipping at your face is not a concern. It’s roomy enough for you to layer up underneath, and well-fitting enough to mean that if you don’t it won’t flap around everywhere, plus the sleeves are also nice and long. The design also has large zip vents under the armpits, ideal for those typical ‘rainy but sweating’ occasions.
On to my next box, technology. Or to put it another way, will it keep the rain off, while not allowing me to drown in my own sweat? Yes, yes it will. The jacket is windproof and waterproof, breathable and wickable, thanks to Keela’s own System Dual Protection technology, and it has kept me warm and dry in some really rather inclement conditions. It has a chunky double ended zip, with a Velcroed storm flap for extra protection. It also has external chest pockets, zipped and Velcroed, meaning you can still use them when you’re carrying a backpack with a waist strap, or when you’re tied into a harness. I do wish it also had ‘normal’ waist level pockets too, purely for when I’m partaking in less extreme walking, but that’s a decidedly minor personal niggle.
Overall, I absolutely love this jacket, it’s bright, it fits well, it’s practical, and it simply does what it should do, well. Keela are a new brand to me, but they have definitely established a new fan. My trusty old GoreTex jacket (mens fit) is retiring to the back of the wardrobe for a while.