Will AppleyardDiver, mountaineer, climber and paraglider pilot, Will communicates his passion for adventure through his photography and writing and is the author of several books.
The Pinnacle is a classic, durable outershell jacket design for which anyone interested in spending time exploring outside must own. It’s a tried and tested multi-discipline piece of gear that many brands produce, but for sure Keela’s version is up there with the best. Great for the belayer, scrambling, hiking, biking or snowsports.
Aquaflex Extreme 3 layer
Waterproof, windproof, breathable
Classic multi-use outer shell
Waterproof and windproof
High chin guard
Fully taped seams
Excellent value for money
What I’m Looking For
Exactly this design. Something waterproof, windproof, tough and with a hood that fits with a helmet. An outer hardshell jacket that can be worn over a medium fill down jacket or simply worn over lighter garments on warmer days that threaten rain. It needs to be light and durable, something that won’t get ruined quickly against the rock or damaged when being carried inside a bag full of climbing hardware.
Many brands produce this type of jacket and it’s a design that never
needs reinventing. Keela, a Scottish based brand (that I wasn’t so
familiar with before), have not tried to reinvent it at all. They have simply produced a well-cut, well-made technical jacket to do the job of this outer shell. I’ve been wearing Rab’s version of this style of hard shell for years, to the point of near destruction. Keela’s version is almost identical in style and quality. I actually prefer this one over my old Rab however, as the neck and chin guard sit much higher and you can tuck yourself behind it nicely when the wind and rain want a piece of you.
Fiddling with the pockets, I found a note inside one of them telling me that the pockets are ‘not 100% waterproof’ and to ‘protect my valuable items in a dry bag’. I like that honesty and yes, I once discovered this problem when the pockets of my Rab shell filled with water during a drenching. The fit is spot on, I selected a size small and lastly, the colour “rescue red” – I love it!
This item has now been with me on several multi-pitch climbing days with hour plus walk ins to the routes. I just loved this jacket as soon as I opened the parcel and could barely wait to get the thing into the mountains. Recently the weather here in the Catalan and Spanish Pyrenees has been a real mixture. One minute 20-plus degrees and the next much much cooler, with fast approaching black clouds, gust fronts and light showers. Ideal conditions for this shell and layering clothing beneath it.
Starting the morning hike with a combination of a base layer, light down jacket and then the Keela outer shell, we quietly wound our way through forest road. Leaving the tree-line, the wind picked up while up on the rock plateau as we followed random cairns toward the base of our climbing route at La Predicadera in the province of Huesca. On this particular trip I wore the garment for the full hour and a half hike to the rock, never feeling like I needed to relieve myself of it. On other trips like this, it was too much thanks due to higher temps and came in and out of the backpack only when exposed to wind.
I led the first pitch of the planned 4-pitch route that day and stuffed the shell and the down into my backpack before ascending, climbing in just the base layer. Clambering onto the first belay point at the end of pitch one, with the breeze setting in, bringing up Núria as second, the light down and the jacket came back out of the bag. The wind came and went, the Keela keeping those gusts well away. It would probably have been enough wearing it on its own at that moment with just the base underneath. Although the fit is pretty much perfect, there is still enough room in the arms and back to climb in this jacket too. I left the underarm vents open to allow the Aquaflex Extreme fabric to further breath while hauling up the rope before Núria followed.
With the hood designed to be worn with a helmet and the high chin guard, one can feel nicely protected ensconced within this jacket. The material feels tough and will certainly enjoy a long life on the mountain. The rock types along the Pyrenees vary massively and here in La Predicadera, it’s grippy conglomerate rock of superb quality. Great for trusting your feet when climbing, notoriously bad for clothes. This jacket came back from that trip without a scratch however and I used it frequently. The pockets are generous and where you would expect them, in this case big enough to take a radio, phone, a fist full of climbing slings and some easy to reach snacks. As mentioned, Keela told me not to store valuable items in these pockets when being rained on, owing to their limited water resistance.
With the hood designed to be worn with a helmet and the high chin guard, one can feel nicely protected ensconced within this jacket
Who is This Jacket For?
If you don’t own a classic hard-shell jacket like this, then you need one for sure. As Keela state on the items tag, this jacket is an ‘all-season must-have’ and I couldn’t agree more.
What Stands Out
High Neck and Chin Guard
With the high neck and chin guard it’s super cosy, especially with the soft lining material that’s been added to protect one’s chin when it rubs against it.
Helmet Compaitable Hood
The hood has been produced to accommodate a helmet, as you would expect from any good quality mountain jacket.
The pockets are of a generous size, two hand warmers at the waist and two breast pockets. Each zip has a really handy large toggle too making them super easy to negotiate even with gloves.
And the all-important underarm zipped vents are present also. If you intend on using a jacket during mixed conditions and during variable exercise, pit-zips are a must. I’ve found myself using these frequently meaning I can stop less to change layers.
The adjustable Velcro cuffs are of a decent size and can be opened and closed even with gloves on.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Pinnacle jacket from Keela is excellent value for money. You can pay way more for the same type of jacket from another brand.
BASE Bottom Line
As Keela say themselves, this really is an all-season, must-have outershell for anyone serious about exploring beyond mild dog walking territory. It’s a tried and tested design, well made and does exactly the job it’s meant to do. A firm favourite in my jacket repertoire.
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