A great technical thermal (Primaloft) jacket that can be used either as a mid-layer or stand-alone outer jacket, the Sherpa is very good value for money. It’s useful for all facets of outdoor life, with arms that also come off so it quickly becomes a gilet.
High- Points: As it was designed with the hills in mind, it’s fairly light and water/wind resistant. It also has lots of nice ergonomic touches, the neck baffle and hem are adjustable with one hand, there are two zipped hip pockets, a map-sized pocket, hand-warming pockets, adjustable cuffs, and a two-way main zip.
Low Points: None
The Sherpa jacket from Keela is a versatile garment that is at home either as a midlayer on cold days or an outer layer when it’s not quite so cool.
It has a Flylite ripstop nylon shell which will resist a shower, and features PrimaLoft Gold insulation. This makes it one of the warmest in the test.
The Keela jacket has detachable sleeves, which when zipped off turn the Sherpa into a gilet. We found this useful when moving hard uphill when the jacket was a little too warm. Taking off the sleeves provided extra cooling, though they are a bit fiddly to unzip and we had to take the jacket off to achieve this.
Removing the sleeves also provides a bit more mobility for the arms when tackling scrambles.
Keela also provided the optional hood, which has a press-stud loop that attaches it to the rear hanging loop of the jacket. The hood is made from the same material and also has the PrimaLoft insulation, making it very warm.
The Sherpa Jacket’s full-length main zip has double pullers and is backed by a baffle to keep out the wind. There are two zipped hip pockets and a smaller zipped chest pocket. The collar covers the neck well, and it has a drawcord with a spring toggle at the back to cinch it in further if needed.
The jacket’s hem also has a drawcord to help keep out updraughts.
The sleeves have hook-and-loop adjusters.
The Keela Sherpa Convertible Jacket performed well on cold days. On cool days when on the move uphill, it was a little too warm, but removing the sleeves helped.
Windblocking was very good.
The hood, available at extra cost, attaches to the jacket by just one press-stud loop which means it has a tendency to flap about if you put it down. Better to remove it completely if not required and put it in the supplied stuffsack, which has a roll-top closure. The hood has a press-stud fastening at the front, with hook and loop strips to enable it to be closed to keep out the weather. There are also front drawcords and a rear halo adjuster, so it’s a fully-featured item that can also be used with other jackets, as it essentially sits on the head and its lower hem covers any collar.
The Keela jacket was by far the warmest in the test, thanks to its PrimaLoft insulation, which also kept the wind out completely. There was a fair build-up of moisture inside the jacket when moving fast and its slight bulkiness make it a little less comfortable than some of the thinner midlayers.
Keela’s forte is offering good value for money and the Sherpa Jacket has plenty of features at a competitive price. It works best on cold days when the insulation will keep you warm. On the move on less cool days, you may find it a little too warm, though removing the sleeves helps, we found.
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 78/100
Straight away I gain respect for this Keela Sherpa Jacket as, having spent time in Nepal, I have great esteem for the Sherpas, writes Mike Gormley.
That said, I would have very much liked to have had the Keela Sherpa with me when we trekked to Everest Base Camp. We would have had some better photos as well.
This is one of those really versatile jackets and has been my ‘go to’ jacket for some time now. Working very well as a standalone top for a trip to the pub on a chill evening or as a top/mid layer for days ‘on the hill’. Adding to the Sherpa’s versatility it has concealed zip-off arms so converts to a gillet if required.
As insulation Keela have used Primaloft Gold which is about as good as it gets in this department. Not only providing warmth, it is also highly water-resistant in its own right. All this and it is extremely lightweight and packable. The outer shell is Flylite Ripstop. Even after a load of use it shows no signs of wear and it never ceases to amaze me how these modern fabrics put up with real use. Apparently frail and lightweight, they seem to put up with a lot of hard use and even resist the likes of brambles and hard brushes with unforgiving rocks. All this and the Keela Sherpa is wind-resistant and amazingly water-resistant.
The jacket itself, which is available in Black, Red or Blue, has a very useful zipped chest pocket and two zipped side pockets. Drawcords are provided on hem and collar. There is a generous amount of cuff adjustment with rubberized Velcro tabs. Notably there is no hood on this jacket, but, Keela separately offer a standalone Sherpa Convertible Hood which pairs with this and/or their Belay Jacket and it works well on its own.
The first day I had this jacket I went to a pub meet of our Moorland Training Group and had to be extremely mindful to ensure it was not ‘proffed’ by someone.