A funny thing happened when I put on this jacket over a T-shirt for the first time. I was instantly transported back to 1987 on a blustery Yorkshire hillside when the rain was just starting to roll in and I donned my faithful but sweaty cagoule which clung to my skin and felt colder than the surrounding world in some weird heat-sapping way.
The Kento jacket ticks all the right boxes, don’t get me wrong, but it has that same weird cold feeling on your skin which isn’t altogether pleasant and is unlike a lot of other waterproof jackets these days. So, how would it fare against the elements despite this throwback feeling?
First thing to note is that this is gorgeous jacket. You put it on and your back straightens, you stand taller and you feel good. It fits flatteringly and feels made ready for action. It’s cut generously around the shoulder and elbow so it doesn’t constrict, and the hardshell material has a fair bit of stretch in it, so reaching up isn’t a problem. This is a jacket designed for scrambling and climbing by people who do those activities.
It’s also designed to be uber lightweight and live at the bottom of your pack until you need it. It weighs just 365g and packs down to a couple of handfuls with ease.
In terms of protecting you from the elements it is pretty much everything-proof. A hydrostatic head measurement of 20,000mm is about as waterproof as fabric gets, and yet the breathability is also pretty good. Mammut state 20000g/m/24h which means something to a few boffins somewhere. In real-world terms that means that you’ll be pretty manageably dry if it’s cool and wet out and you’re warm and dry. The main zipper is rainproof and has a storm flap so any leakage is directed out of the bottom of the jacket.
To help manage the breathability, the Kento jacket has large pit zips and the pockets are mesh-lined to let a little breeze through when they’re open.
The pockets are fairly high on the side (although not as high as some jackets), so it should be harness-friendly. A third chest pocket has a waterproof inner so it won’t let your phone get soaked if you have the jacket open and it rains.
As with all Mammut gear, the quality of finish and detailing is fantastic. The toggles, zip ends and zippers are all neat and work brilliantly. This is an expensive jacket and that shows in its manufacture.
There’s a small drop in the hemline at the rear to help cover any exposed skin when you bend and flex, and the cut, on me at 5ft9 wearing a Medium, is long enough to cover my backside, to it could be good for cycling too.
Velcro cuffs and a bungee waistband work with an adjustable hood to seal out any harsh weather. The hood’s peak is stiffened, but not wired, so although it will keep rain out of your eyes, it may give in a strong breeze. If you’ve battened down the hatches, the chin piece of the hood will easily cover up to your nose, and is lined in a fleecy material which is pleasant.
Back to that material. It’s what Mammut call DryTech Premium. It’s a 2.5-layer material, which means it has an outer shell (the orange part), glued to a membrane layer, and then a half-layer of patterned plastic is applied to the inside of the membrane to protect it from your abrasive skin and hair, and baselayers. That’s what you’re looking at sometimes when you see the inside of a garment covered in little patterns (in this case diamonds). Mammut’s membrane layer is cool to the touch and plasticcy, which is what gives it that sort of clingy feeling when you first put it on.
SUMMARY: The Kento Jacket is beautifully designed and made, and at 365g is certainly a great jacket to stuff away until you need it. It’s very waterproof and protective from wind, and seems very breathable too. On those days when it’s been just cool enough to wear it, it’s never seemed particularly sweaty. It’s priced well against other top-end 2.5-layer waterproof jackets and feels great to wear. The material is cool to the touch.