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Waterproof Jackets

Keela Munro Waterproof Mountain Jacket | Review

Unusual double-layer fabric system works decently, but it's very heavy and the cut and design need refining for the 21st Century.

‘Heavy but oddly effective in the right conditions, the Keela Munro is the brick-style Volvo of waterproof jackets in a heavy and outdated sort of way’

Outdoors Magic: Feature rich, protective feel, okay breathability, warm and with a reasonable hood.

Outdoors Tragic: Improbably heavy, huge, odd, bat-wing cut, hard-to-use pit-zips.

Outdoors Grabbit?  The fabric system, though heavy, doesn’t do too badly if you run cool, but the design and cut are seriously outdated, or if you prefer, ‘traditional’. It’s protective all right, but it feels clunky and cumbersome compared to contemporary jackets. And it’s phenomenally heavy, over 1000g for a medium, which means it’s essentially an all-day jacket. All that and it’s relatively expensive too.

 

Full Specification

Heavyweight winter mountain jacket / System Dual Protection fabric / 4-way adjustable roll-away hood / chin-guard / reinforced shoulder panels / two zipped chest-pockets / map-pocket / fleece-lined zipped hand-warmer pockets / detachable snow skirt / 2-way front zipper with double storm flap / adjustable hood, waist, cuffs and hem.

Full Review Below

The cut is traditional, super roomy and with a sort of bat-wing sleeve arrangement that doesn't stop the cuffs pulling up as soon as you reach forward or up - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
Cuff adjusters are classic Velcro tabs and work fine. We found the sleeves tended to pull up though - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
Classic map pocket lurks under the storm flap on the lefthand side of the jacket - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
Main zip gets a 'belt and braces' double storm flap. There's also an adjustable waist cord - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Keela Munro Jacket – The Tech

The heart of the Munro is something Keela calls System Dual Protection. It’s an unusual double-layered fabric system that the brand claims works ‘like double glazing’. On the outside there’s a waterproof laminated fabric, but it’s backed up by ‘a mesh lining, which has a high wicking hydrophilic (water loving) membrane laminated to it.’

A Bit Like Double Glazing?

The idea is that in cold, damp conditions, moisture from your body passes through the inner liner, then condenses on the inside of the colder outer layer of fabric. Once it’s done that, it falls down and exists through a mesh layer at the bottom of the liner.

In addition, the gap between the two layers is claimed to trap insulating air making the jacket warmer than conventional fabric systems and making it ideal in winter conditions.

The downside of all this is that the jacket is very heavy, over 1kg for a medium, which will either bother you or not. It does mean that it’s not a jacket you’re likely to carry around with you ‘just in case’.

Back In Time

The rest of the jacket is like a check-list of features from ten or more years back with Velcro-secured double storm-flaps on both the main zip and pit-zips, an adjustable waist cord as well as hem adjustment and a traditional map-pocket under the main-zip storm-flap.

There’s nothing essentially wrong with all that, but when all the other kids on the block are using water-resistant zips, it all feels a little dated and adds additional weight too.

Reinforced shoulders should cope with regular pack use no problem - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
The hood complete with wired peak works pretty well - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Keela Munro Jacket – Performance

It’s bulky and heavy, but there are positives to the Munro. Hammering up a local hill in cold conditions, the jacket proved to be reasonably breathable and we didn’t fug out. The double-layer construction gives it a reassuring protective feel too and, as Keela says, it’s warmer than conventional single fabric shells.

Less impressive is the cut. It’s big and baggy with odd bat-wing sleeves that seem to have been borrowed from a 1970s army combat jacket. We also found the cuffs rode up disconcertingly if we reached up or forwards when scrambling.

Traditional Or Dated?

The features seem similarly dated or ‘traditional’. Two chest pockets with zips and a pair of fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets that sit under a pack-belt. Then there’s the Velcro-secured double storm-flaps over both the main-zip and the pit-zips.

The latter make the vents slightly awkward to use compared to a simple water-resistant zip version and create noticeable extra bulk under the bat-wing upper arms.

On the positive side of things, the hood is pretty good with a wired peak and a decent seal around the chin and lower face. It moves with your head and adds to the overall feeling of being protected from the elements, which is the one thing the jacket does passably well.

Pit-zips sit under a double storm-flap making them slightly awkward to use – Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Keela Munro Jacket – Verdict

It takes a while to get your head round the unusual ‘System Dual Protection’ technology – shouldn’t that be ‘Dual Protection System’? – but in cold, wet conditions, it works pretty well and the extra air-gap and bulky feel plus an effective hood gives a reassuring, protective feel.

Less impressive is the high overall weight, voluminous cut – it really does feel like an old army combat jacket – and dated features. It might appeal to a certain type of traditional walker as is, but we reckon, reduced weight, a more contemporary cut and updated components would make it a whole lot more attractive to a wider outdoors audience.

More Information

See keela.co.uk

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