'It's not the lightest, smallest-packing or warmest down jacket out there, but the neatly made Kabru is still a capable outdoors all-rounder for mainly dry and cool conditions missions'
Outdoors Magic: Nice fit, eco credentials, reasonably warm, reasonably light, packs into pocket, close-fitting hood, under-arm stretch inserts. Great colour.
Outdoors Tragic: Other down jackets warmer for the weight and bulk, under-arm panels not windproof. Wrist seal slightly loose for us. A little expensive.
Outdoors Grabbit? The medium-loft down and micro-baffled construction mean that the Kabru isn't as warm as some other higher-specced down jackets of similar weight and bulk, but it's neatly designed and nicely cut, plus VauDe's commitment to sustainability means the down is ethically sourced and the Eco Finish DWR is PFC free. Under-arm inserts improve mobility slightly, but they're not very wind resistant, which can give cold spots in some situations. Overall it's a nice all-rounder for cool and dry conditions use, but there are lighter and/or warmer alternatives albeit at a higher price.
Kabru Hooded Jacket 2 Ratings
Outright Warmth [rating score="3"]
Packability [rating score="3"]
Damp-proofing [rating score="3"]
Overall: [rating score="3.5"]
Down-filled insulation jacket / 0/10 650 fill-power RDS duck down/feather blend fill / Polyamide outer fabric with PFC-free Eco Finish DWR / stretch inserts under arms / 2 front pockets with inverted zips / 2-way inverted front zip with back flap / elastic cuffs / hem adjustable via cord in pockets / packs into own pocket / hood with elasticated opening
Full Review Below
VauDe Kabru Hooded Jacket 2 - The Fill
The Kabru uses medium level 650 fill-power duck down which is certified to the Responsible Down Standard, so you know it's been ethically produced without any likelihood of animal cruelty.
'The Kabru - along with other duck down jackets we've tested - doesn't smell noticeably at all.'
Duck down is cheaper than goose down and traditionally been a bit of a poor relation, partly because oilier feathers often had a distinctive 'down' aroma.
However improvements in down processing, seem to have changed that and the Kabru - along with other duck down jackets we've tested - doesn't smell noticeably at all.
Finally, the fill doesn't have any water repellent treatment. That's not necessarily a problem. Down is more resilient than it's sometimes given credit for and will survive 20 minutes or so of dampness without major problems, but you still wouldn't want to get it soaked as it'll both lose its loft and need careful drying to restore it to full effectiveness - think a big tumble drier along with tennis balls or similar to agitate the down during drying.
VauDe Kabru Hooded Jacket 2 - Performance
The Kabru's a neat jacket with classic micro-baffled styling, albeit with bigger down compartments at shoulder level. In ultimate performance terms though, there are lighter down jackets, which are significantly warmer - the Berghaus Ramche 2.0 is an extreme example, but something like Rab's Electron is in a similar weight and price bracket, but appreciably warmer thanks to higher loft down and larger baffles.
That said, there are plenty of things to like about the Kabru. It has a neat cut, a close-fitting hood which sits neatly under a climbing helmet if you're so inclined and is nicely made. It's reasonably warm too and packs down reasonably.
We figure the relative lack of insulation is partly down to the medium-loft down, but also the narrow, micro-baffled down compartments which mean there are more stitch-line cold-spots.
Talking of which, as with the Haglofs Essens III jacket stretch inserts under the arms increase mobility slightly, but in cold, cutting winds, create a bit of a localised cool spot. We also found the elasticated, non-adjustable cuffs didn't seal well on our finely-turned wrists.
Both those are relatively minor issues most of the time. Generally we found the Kabru was a dependable, outdoors and post-outing all-rounder. In cold, dry, conditions, you can use as a light-ish belay jacket, but bear in mind the hood won't fit over a helmet, though it sits neatly enough under one.
Finally, VauDe's eco-credentials mean you get ethically-sourced Responsible Down Standard certified down and the DWR on the polyamide shell fabric is PFC free.
VauDe Kabru Hooded Jacket 2 - Verdict
The trouble with using so many insulated jackets is that we've got a little spoiled by some of the high-lofting, lightweight options out there. Viewed in isolation, the Kabru is a neatly-styled and nicely-made medium light insulated jacket, which does a decent all-round job.
And if that's what you're looking for, it's a reliable choice for dry, cool conditions. If you're after the ultimate warmth to weight and pack-size ratio though, there are better options for not much more outlay. What a great colour though!