Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Keela Falkland ventile coat review

In my blog biography I've tried to modestly describe myself as 'Some of the gear and some idea' but one area that I have really needed to redress is a decent outdoor coat. Helping Woodlife Trails as a course assistant means that when the weather doesn't play nice most of my time is under trees but out and about my thoughts had turned to ventile...but it costs a bomb...doesn't it?

I spotted this coat on the World of Bushcraft stand at this years Bushcraft Show (at a show price) and was invited by one of the staff members to try it on and I did, for future reference you understand, I would know what size I needed, how it felt and so on. 

When I returned I told my wife that I tried on a lovely coat and she said that I should have got it and kept it to one side for my birthday. I didn't think of that. So through a mobile phone text chain I got a message to Jason Ingamells, one was put aside and the order was completed.


Well my birthday arrived and as you can see, my wife did a cracking job wrapping it(!). As I laid it out on my bed it still felt like a good purchase with it having a nice weight to it but equally not too weighty as to be restrictive.


Notwithstanding the ventile, the other features that caught my eye were the design of the detachable hood which has press studs that do high up, has an internal flap behind them, a tensioning strap on the hood's crown, toggles to tighten and the coat buttons up under the flap. There are also two tensioning toggles at the bottom and waist of the coat too.


The front zip is a decent size and chunky with press studs to fasten the front up too, and the cuffs caught my eye because they are edged with leather for added durability (and also has a strap with three press stud settings to tighten up the cuff round the wrist). The sleeves have press studded loops to fasten a fleece into if desired.



Onto the pockets. Two angled pockets which you can put your hands in (there's a studded strap attached to the inside of these pockets which is shown above, does anyone know what it's for? #1) Two hip pockets which can comfortably hold an OS map and, as shown above, have a small flap formed by the top of the pocket which folds inwards as the pocket flap itself is flopped down or studded, an internal zipped chest height pocket which will also hold an OS map, and there's also an internal velcro fastened pocket inside in the corner of the coat which I'd only use for light items. There is also a  zip in the central part of the hem which accesses the gap between the two layers of the coat and again, I'm not sure what that's for...Does anyone know what it's for? #2?

Well I got the coat in August and I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds some online product reviews annoying and useless when statements like 'I think the wife will be pleased with it' or 'I haven't used it yet but it looks like a good buy' are posted so I wanted two tests in heavy rain. The pic above shows what the coat looks like and  whilst it's not obvious because I am under a tree, it is raining heavily. Even though the hood isn't enclosed in the picture it is still effective. The brim is a baseball cap, not part of the hood just for information.


My  initial thoughts were that the rain was forming in to droplets and readily running off the coat as the two pictures above show.


The acid test was spotting a broken drain and sticking the sleeve under the water issuing from it. I held it there for the duration of three photographs and the right hand side one was the most impressive as the arrows point to the water fairly scudding off the sleeve.

And this is the sleeve after the drainpipe test, no dark patches and looking like the initial pictures I took further up the review.

My second test was not only to validate the first one but to see what happens with a pack on my back. I went out with a modestly loaded (day size) Snugpack rucksack with the chest and waist straps done up, and Fjallraven G-1000 trousers on.


The first test was an urban one with 'just' heavy rain, the second was part urban, part wooded, and part exposed hillside with the rain coming in at an angle. You can just about see the start of the darker wet area towards the bottom of the trouser leg where the coat stops (and a shot of my boot tops to show what a good job the G-1000 trousers had done but I digress).

The hood also performed well, the cap is the same colour all over and the peak is quite clearly darker. So the acid test. There were some darker marks on the shoulders where the straps had been but the wearing of a pack had not let rain through onto any area. This coat isn't a massive wedge more than some popular non-ventile coats and I think this could well pan out as one of the best outdoor buys I've ever made.

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