I had mixed feelings about the Keela Sherpa Jacket, on the one hand its from Keela and having had several bits of their kit over the last few years I expected it to be good. On the other hand it has zip off sleeves, and I’ve never really liked the idea of zip off sleeves (or legs for that matter…)
The spec from Keela says “High performance, versatile, warm and lightweight. The Sherpa Jacket is everything you want in a thermal jacket and more.”
I can add that the Sherpa Jacket performed nicely in a howling gale with driving rain. Keela only claim it’s water resistant not waterproof so I was quite pleased with that. The Durable Water Repellent finish didn’t seem to repel quite so well down the sleeve with the outer material noticeably getting wetted, but the rain didn’t seem to get to the inner lining at all.
Warmth is not an issue with the Primaloft insulation under the windproof outer shell, it kept me comfortably warm on some chilly ambles with the dog. With a bit more exertion I think the breathability of the materials should keep the sweat levels down. Should you get too hot with it on it shouldn’t be a problem to stuff it into your rucksack with it adding very little weight.
Now I have always had a problem with zip off bits; the zips are either bulky and stiff or so light weight they burst and are next to impossible to get right again. The zips on the Sherpa are… about right.
My armpits quickly got used to the zippy sensation and the little extra bulk over the shoulder kept Herman Munster comments to a minimum! The sleeves are simple to zip off and the resulting body warmer (sorry, gilet) is still cozy. When it gets colder the sleeve’s will only zip back on to the correct arm hole with the lightweight outer material being easy to un-snag.
The jacket feels very nice with a smooth inner lining that warms quickly next to the skin. Personally I’d prefer it to be a little longer at the back, just for that little extra warmth.
Now we come to the pockets. I like pockets. I like to keep my hands warm in pockets I like to keep things in my pockets. This is a problem for the Sherpa as the main pockets are on the side seam, which is too far back to make for comfy hand warming. They are also small. Big enough for a phone (even a big phone) but too small to carry an OS map, which to me is a problem.
I would wear the Keela Sherpa jacket in many places but walking somewhere new and interesting with a map wouldn’t be one of them, and thats a shame.