Keela, in case you’re not too familiar with them, are an outdoor brand that, for the last 25 years, have been making kit to withstand harsh environments – basically the stuff they get on their doorstep on the east coast of Scotland. With this new launch from them, called the Talus, their expertise really is on show. It’s a synthetic insulated jacket designed not just with warmth but breathability in mind too. Then there’s it’s wet weather performance…
Who Is The Keela Talus For?
This is a jacket for anyone who ventures into cold and wet places. We can see it as being a great option as a standalone insulator during the warmer months, something to sling on on a windy summit or when the sun starts to set while you’re at camp. Then come winter, it’ll work excellently as part of a layering system. Scottish mountaineers should particularly like that aspect of it.
Materials and Construction
60gsm of PrimaLoft Gold synthetic insulation is used right across the jacket, including in the collar and hood. It’s actually been carefully zoned as well, so the bulk of it in the torso and then there’s a slightly lighter fill in the arms so that your movement isn’t hindered at all.
Now, the great thing about PrimaLoft Gold is that it basically brings the same kind of feel and performance as down, with an excellent warmth to weight ratio and lovely lofty feel. It even has a bit of an edge over down when it comes to wet weather use, because while standard down will flop and become useless with a bit of rain, PrimaLoft Gold will still carry on insulating, even when it’s absolutely soaked. What’s more, at least 50% of this fill is made from recycled content, more specifically, plastic bottles diverted from landfills.
Then there’s the outer shell fabric which, despite feeling very light actually has a surprising durability to it. That’s all thanks to the Cordura fibres that make up the ripstop thread within it – a seriously impressive touch, that.
Stretchy fleece-lined panels then line the sides of the torso and under the arms to add a bit of extra comfort and to aid the overall temperature regulation as well.
Features include an external zipped pocket on the chest that’s big enough for a phone and some snacks. There’s also a zipped pocket on the inside to stow your gloves and the two handwamer pockets which are large enough to take an OS map and just about accessible when you’re wearing a climbing harness or a backpackwith a hipbelt.
The elasticated cuffs are stretchy enough to allow a pair of medium-thick gloves to slip through them. There’s adjustment on the hem in the form of a glove-friendly cinch and there’s adjustment at the hood too. Speaking of the hood, this has a malleable wired peak to keep the rain off your face and it’ll fit comfortable underneath a climbing helmet.
Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic
“This is exactly the kind of insulated jacket that I look for – one that’s made for the normally rather wet conditions we get in the UK. You see, on a typically wet day here, you’re going to get damp no matter how good your waterproof jacket is, normally because moisture starts to seep in around neck, and it’s this inevitability that makes me prefer synthetic insulation to down. With an insulated fill like PrimaLoft Gold, you can accept that while you’re going to get wet, at least you’re going to still be kept warm – and that’s not usually the case with down, unless it has some impressive hydrophobic treatment.
What I also like about Primaloft is that it can take a bit of a beating and it won’t get irreversibly damaged. Again, the same can’t necessarily be said for down. OK, down might be a bit lighter and warmer but when rain is likely, I’m not really going to care about that.
Long story short, what I’m trying to say is that I really like PrimaLoft Gold jackets and this is a particularly good example of one. Why? Because it has that excellent, durable outer fabric that’ll shrug off pretty much all but the roughest of rock and there’s also the very impressive hood as well. I love its wire peak and the amount of fill in it makes it very cosy.
I like the fit as well. I’m 5 foot 10 and about 11 stone and I tested this in a medium, my usual size, and it fitted very nicely. I could fit my waterproof shell over the top comfortably and on particularly cold days I also found I could fit a couple of layers underneath it too. These aspects all make it a very handy addition to any layering systems in winter.
Granted, it’s not the kind of jacket I’d be relying on by itself in the middle of winter, but it’ll certainly do the job throughout summer. And that price? £140. That’s not half bad for a jacket of this quality."
Ash Routen, expedition writer and photographer
“Keela pitch their Talus Jacket as their perfect mid or outer layer. But as someone who tends to run hot, especially when active, it’s more of an outer layer for me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve given the Talus a run out on countryside walks, but my experience of Arctic travel means I have a good idea of how useful it might be when the mercury drops.
The first thing I noticed is that the Talus provides a surprising amount of warmth, and the coated Flylite Ultra fabric is impressively water resistant (although you’d need a shell over the top during prolonged rain). On my testing, it survived being dragged through a thorny hedge, so the added Cordura ripstop to the fabric obviously adds an element of toughness."
Let’s face it, nowhere in the UK does cold and wet weather like Scotland. So we were interested to test Fife-based Keela’s synthetic Talus jacket.
It ticks plenty of boxes, utilising tried and tested 60gsm Primaloft Gold wadded sheet insulation for core warmth, with lighter Primaloft fill on the arms, plus side stretch panels made from a heavyweight, hard-face fleece fabric. This combination of fabric and fills makes it pretty much windproof, yet offers improved articulation over conventional insulated jackets. It's comfortable to wear, though roomy, and you may want to consider sizing down for a more tailored fit.
The jacket has twin fleece-lined zipped hand pockets, plus both inner and outer chest pockets. Elastic-bound cuffs and a hem drawcord help to minimise heat loss. The main zipper is a reverse coil design with an inner stormflap and a chinguard. You also get an excellent grown-on-hood with three-point adjustment and, uniquely among the synthetic insulated jackets we tested here, a wired peak. On test, it proved a cosy and protective layer that combined all the advantages of synthetics - superior wet weather performance and quick drying ability - with high comfort levels and practical features.
A no-nonsense synthetic layer that uses high quality fill and boasts plenty of features, offering performance, practicality and good value.
This is one of those garments that seems to work for many applications. It is light, very packable, warm and highly wind- and water-resistant. So it ticks a lot of boxes for many times of the year.
The Talus jacket has proved ideal for exercise periods outdoors in a wide range of conditions.
This jacket from Keela works well as a mid or top layer. If doing so was possible these days, it is plenty smart enough for a visit to the pub. The Talus Jacket, available in Blue in six sizes or more tactical Charcoal in three, has 60gsm Primaloft Gold as its insulation so straight away you know it will be good. It has two useful sized ‘hand pockets’ which are part-lined with soft feel fabric, an internal pocket and for me, importantly, a decent sized chest pocket. We all have and use mobile devices these days, to stay in touch and often to track and navigate with and to grab those photo opportunities when out and about, so it is essential they are handy.
The Talus has a very good permanent hood which is fully adjustable – the collar makes a great neck warmer when not in use as a hood.
The Talus has a built-in fixed hood. This is a good one and very usable. Not only is it a good and adjustable hood, but it also works really well as a neck warmer. A feature I have found very handy when out early on cold mornings. As I mentioned above, the timing of this was ideal. I got to wear the Talus pre-lockdown but, once limits were imposed, I took to getting out for exercise very early to avoid other people both on my bike and on foot. Mornings were often frosty and quite breezy especially on my bike, but the Talus has proved to be ideal. No worries if I encountered a shower of rain, as it is able to cope with that as well.
The side panel feature is elasticated for ease of movement when the wearer is active
This jacket is made for active use, with adequate room in the arms to allow for movement and with elasticated cuffs to keep the chill out. Also elasticated are side and part arm panels, so again when fully zipped up the jacket will move with you and allow for your movements without rucking up. All together very comfortable and easy to wear. At the front is a two-way zip with a storm flap so it is both easy to adjust for airflow ,if needs be, or to keep that dreaded cold breeze outside. The Talus has proved to be all I was told it would be and I can assure you I have worn it a lot and will continue to for sure.
Chest pocket is extremely useful for the likes of my Land Rover Explore phone, which I use to record and navigate on trips out as well as for taking photos
Alongside the Talus on my chill dawn outings I have also been making use of some other Keela items worthy of note and previously covered in my Gormley’s Gear section. The Scuffer Trousers make an ideal match for the Talus, being light and stretchy, very wind-resistant and good on the bike – No, I am not a black Lycra cyclist! The Extreme Gloves have also proved to be appropriate, as has my time-served Micro Pulse fleece top (not reviewed on here). All in all, these added up to be a great combination for my early morning sojourns.
The last piece of kit I reviewed from Keela was the Cairn 3-layer shell, which performed very well and won a 'Best Budget Buy' award, so I was excited to see what the brand had to offer in an inisulated jacket test.
As I found before, Keela knows how to put together a decent bit of kit, with a fantastic design and quality for the price.
For a start, the Talus jacket has a very good set of features. As per most jackets, there are two lined hand-warmer pockets, an internal zip pocket, elasticated cuffs and two glove-friendly hem toggles. Meanwhile, the hood offers a fantastic amount of warmth and pulls in nicely around the fce thanks to the volume adjuster at the rear and the two toggles at the front, both of which are simple enough to use while wearing gloves. This, along with a high level of insulation and loft, ensures this is a very warm jacket. Of course, this warmth also means that the Talus jacket is not especially lightweight (566g in medium) or packable, being one of the bulkier synthetic options here.
Generally speaking, the jacket fits pretty well, but I did find it a tad short (I'm 6ft 2in), while it can also feel slightly restrictive across the shoulders and upper arms if you have another layer on underneath. Having said that, the sleeves are plenty long enough, and everything comes together well to ensure no cold air can slip inside.
In a line - The Talus jacket offers fantastic warmth and a great set of features.
If you love the warmth of an insulated jacket but hate the Michelin man-style bulk of a puffer style, you’ll love Keela’s sleeker Talus jacket. It’s stuffed with 60g of Primaloft Gold synthetic insulation, so it’s still very warm even when wet, and the outer surface or the Talus is windproof enough to help trap in heat even when it’s blowing hard outside. We like the stretchy side panels, which are lined with fleece rather than insulation and are designed help the jacket to move as you do when you’re getting active.
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