Keela multi-activity jackets

Scottish outdoor clothing company Keela adds a men’s and women’s jacket to their multi-activity series

Keela has been working hard to design and produce an innovative “multi-activity” range of outdoor clothing. This does make a great deal of sense in an era when so many people take part in a number of different activities, including running, cycling and walking.

My worry was that a jacket that was meant to be suitable for different activities wouldn’t really work particularly well for any single activity but rather offer a compromise of sorts. The proof would be in the testing.

The Coyote is the female version of the Keela multi-activity ultra light jacket, while the male version is the Condor. Both jackets are aimed at outdoors people who are conscious of clothing weights and like versatility in their kit.

The Coyote and Condor are made from a Keela created wind-resistant material called Flylite Ultra that is also water resistant, fast wicking and breathable.

Added features are zip-off sleeves, a rear pocket, two hip pockets, stretch shoulder panels, a full-length zip with a storm flap, a scooped back and reflective detailing.

The women’s jacket is designed with a flattering feminine fit, which many women will really appreciate.

coyo-2On test: Keela Coyote jacket

My first opportunity to try this jacket came on a day of fickle weather and a long bike ride. The weather couldn’t decide between sunshine and rain and there was a bit of a wind blowing. So I started out with my Lycra jersey and arm warmers and the Keela jacket stuffed in the back pocket.

This is a big advantage of the lightweight jacket: It stuffs into a small place.

As predicted, after about 30 minutes of cycling, the clouds came over and it started to drizzle. I stopped, pulled on the jacket and enjoyed the water-resistant benefits. Actually, the raindrops rolled off the outside of the jacket so it looks like it has been treated with a water-repellent coating.

This is a neat fitting jacket yet it didn’t feel too restrictive while in the cycling position. The stretchy shoulders – they look like they are made of a Lycra style fabric – help with freedom of movement. I also liked the longer scooped back, which meant that I didn’t suffer from rain or wind on my lower back when bent over the bike.

One feature that could be better is the arm length. This isn’t apparent when standing up, walking or running in the jacket but when my arms are stretched out to hold on to the bike handlebars I saw a narrow stretch of bare skin. This is bearable in the summer, but not in the winter. However, I do have long arms so this might not be such an issue for people with shorter arms.

A back pocket on this jacket also makes sense if you are going to be using it for cycling. It is roomy enough for a few bits and pieces including, for example, a spare inner tube, tyre levers, a small pump and even a set of arm warmers.

Running in the Keela jacket

The next outing was a run. I don’t like to be weighed down by a heavy, flappy jacket and I especially loathe running jackets that make me sweat too much. That’s why I rarely run in my normal cycling jacket because they are made of a heavier, noisier fabric.

However, the ultra light Keela fabric works very well when running. It is so light that I didn’t feel as though I was really wearing a jacket and it works well to allow sweat to evaporate through the fabric.

The fabric of this jacket is also soft enough to wear against the skin.

I like that I can remove the sleeves of the Coyote jacket. On cooler summer days a gilet is a great item to pop on while cycling or running. The sleeves come off as one unit (both sleeves are attached to a top shoulder section) so you don’t have to worry about losing one or the other sleeves when unattached.

The shoulder and sleeves section zips back on to the jacket when you need more coverage.

Two front zipped pockets would be useful if using the jacket for a walk. I would rarely add items to front pockets when cycling or running because they would be annoying. In fact, I think the jacket would be fine without these pockets.

The jacket lacks a hood but it isn’t meant for extremely rainy conditions. In heavy rain this jacket will soak through. Instead, it’s a jacket that suits different activities in fairly favourable conditions, such as a mild UK summer.

The Coyote comes in raspberry colour, hi-viz and charcoal in sizes 8 to 20. It is priced £59.95. The Condor will be available for sale soon.

See Keela

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