Fjallraven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket Review

Fjallraven Eco-Shell Jacket Review

The Fjallraven Keb Eco-Shell is a 3-layer waterproof/breathable jacket built for backpacking and technical adventures. Made from Fjallraven’s recycled Eco-Shell fabric, the Keb Eco-Shell Jacket breathes, wicks, stretches, and completely protects against wind, snow, and rain. With a highly adjustable hood, ample chest pockets, side ventilation, and adjustable wrist cuffs, the Keb Eco-Shell checks all the boxes, performing better and better with each season of use.

Fjallraven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket

Water Resistance
Breathability
Comfort & Mobility
Hood Adjustability
Weight
Durability
Packed Size

Expedition Class Jacket

Fjallraven’s Keb Eco-Shell is a 4-season hard shell jacket that checks all the boxes a hard shell should check and truly excels in changeable weather in technical backcountry situations. Made from a 3-layer recycled polyester fabric, the Eco-Shell is climate compensated, lightweight, soft to the touch, stretchy and adaptable. With a hood that adjusts to any head or helmet, side ventilation zippers, adjustable cuffs and large pockets where you need them, the Eco-Shell provides highly breathable waterproof protection from the wind, snow and the rain.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Best Use: Trekking, Backpacking, Backcountry Skiing, Climbing
  • Material: 100% polyester/climate compensated – 3-layer Eco-Shell
  • Breathability: 26,000 g/m2/24h
  • Water Column: 30,000 mm
  • Waterproofing: PFC free DWR on outer, Aquaguard zippers, welded fabric seams
  • Pockets: 2 Napoleon chest pockets with internal cellphone security holders, 1 upper arm, 1 interior mesh
  • Hood: Fully adjustable, helmet-compatible, visor wire
  • Ventilation: Torso side zips
  • Weight: 21 oz

Jacket Cut and Fit

The Keb Eco-Shell is tough where it needs to be and supple everywhere else.  The jacket has an athletic fit that layers well.  It doesn’t feel clammy against bare skin, it doesn’t crinkle when you move, and in many respects feels more like a shirt than a jacket. Every seam in the jacket is welded or seam-taped and the back of the neck and chin areas are lined. The Keb has adjustable Velcro cuffs at the wrists so you can slide the arms up to the elbows for added ventilation, while a drawcord cord waist and drop hem lets you seal out drafts from below.

The hood is fully adjustable with a high collar for added wind protection
The hood is fully adjustable with a high collar for added wind protection

Hood and High Collar

What makes the Keb Eco-Shell truly special is its fully-featured hood. While it is helmet-compatible, it has a rear volume adjuster and neck toggles so you can fine-tune the fit even if you don’t wear one. The hood has wire brim to keep rain, snow, and wind out of your eyes, a feature that’s rarely found on US-made hard shells and more common on European ones. The high collar provides superior wind protection when it’s not raining and allows you to let off some heat through the top of your head while keeping your collar area, chin and your entire neck warm and protected from the elements.

Torso Zips

While the Keb has top-notch breathability and waterproof specs, it also comes with side torso zips that you can use to shed excess body heat when you’re working hard. These run from the waist all the way to the bottom of your armpits. Perspiration can quickly overwhelm the ability of any breathable jacket to vent water vapor if you’re backpacking, ice-climbing or skinning up a mountain, so having vents like these is essential for self-regulating your heat output.

The Keb’s Napoleon Chest Pockets don’t interfere with a hip belt - backpacking in Austria
The Keb’s Napoleon Chest Pockets don’t interfere with a hip belt – backpacking in Austria

Napolean Pockets

There are two very large Napoleon pockets on the chest that are bellowed to increase their volume so you can carry maps, food, extra gloves, hats, climbing skins and electronics in them. Napoleon pockets are great because they don’t interfere with a backpack hip belt or climbing harness. Each of the pockets also has a mesh inner pocket large enough to hold a cell phone, a nice touch that doesn’t favor right-handed or left-handed people over one another.

The Keb also has a small pocket on the left upper arm that it is big enough to fit a small knife, car keys, compass or ski pass. A large interior mesh pocket also comes with headphone ports.

Zippers and Pull Tabs

The jacket comes with waterproof Aquaguard zippers and pull tabs so they can be opened and closed while wearing gloves. I appreciate this attention to detail and

The velcro wrist cuffs are wide enough so you can pull up the arms for added ventilation
The velcro wrist cuffs are wide enough so you can pull up the arms for added ventilation

Fjallraven’s Eco-Shell Fabric

Eco-Shell is a 3-layer waterproof/breathable fabric that is smooth, lightweight, soft to the touch, and very stretchy. It is coated with a PFC-free DWR that repels water, rain or snow from the face of the fabric. All Eco-shell products are made with recycled polyester and the manufacturing and distribution process is climate compensated to offset the green gas emissions associated with its manufacture.

Performance in the Field

Since I’ve owned this jacket for over a year, I’ve been able to field test it in all four seasons, and I have found that it can effectively handle extreme swings in temperature and weather – hot to cold, cool to warm, high winds, rain, sleet, snow…

  • In the Winter, I use this jacket for all of my outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and snowshoeing.  Whether the temp is frigid minus 20F or 36F degrees and melting, the Eco-Shell adapts well over thicker layers.
  • During the Spring and Fall shoulder seasons when the temps fluctuate from hot to cold and back again and rain turns to snow, sleet or just stinging wind in your face and fog, the Eco-Shell quickly adjusts to changing needs for warmth and wet protection.
  • And in the Summer, when it is warmer but heavy rains can bring a chill, the Eco-Shell breathes while keeping you dry over the thinnest of base layers.
The Keb Eco-Shell Jacket goes wherever I go.
The Keb Eco-Shell Jacket goes wherever I go.

Recommendation

Fjallraven’s Keb Eco-Shell is a 4-season hard shell jacket that checks all the boxes a hard shell should check and truly excels in changeable weather in technical backcountry situations. Made from a 3-layer recycled polyester fabric, the Eco-Shell is climate compensated, lightweight, soft to the touch, stretchy and adaptable. With a hood that adjusts to any head or helmet, side ventilation zippers, adjustable cuffs and large pockets where you need them, the Eco-Shell provides highly breathable waterproof protection from the wind, snow and the rain.

Disclosure: The author owns this jacket.

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About the author

Erik Birkeland is an avid hiker with a backpacking problem, that is, he just can’t seem to get enough. Living in Duluth, Minnesota with the Superior Hiking Trail just outside his backdoor, daily hikes and weekend treks fill his free time while he contemplates the next big adventure. He has completed numerous backpacking trips into such diverse landscapes as Escalante, the Wind River Range, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the BWCA, Isle Royale National Park, and even Iceland. While he hasn’t gone the farthest, fastest, nor the ultra-lightest; he does aspire to establish as many trekking BKTs (best known times) as possible - meeting the wilderness as it is, by simply getting out there.

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5 comments

  1. Philip, I like that it has full length torso zips. That’s one of the features that has been mandatory for me ever since you sold me on the OR Foray. Overall, how does this shell compare with the Foray?

    • I like them too. I don’t think Erik (it’s his review) has ever tried a Foray (chime in buddy if you have).
      I think the biggest difference is the Napoleon pockets, which I have had on previous jackets I’ve used, and they are FANTASTIC!
      The Foray doesn’t have this feature.
      These are huge too and make an excellent extension to your packing system for carrying stuff close at hand.
      I could see using a jacket like this for off-trail navigation (in non-forested places like Scotland or Sweden) where being able to keep all of your navigation gear and maps within easy reach would be great. The same goes for any winter sport where you want to have extra gloves and a few high energy snacks within easy reach.

      • Thank you for that. I realized it was Erik’s review right after I hit send. My Foray has a single nepolean pocket, but it is very small. Do you say off trail in non forested areas because of durability? I tend to bushwhack a lot in the cats where the trees tend to be pokey.

      • Exactly. Trees shred rain jackets and shells off-trail (in the Whites). I dress down for those trips.

  2. Sorry guys, I haven’t tried the Foray jacket. I can get everything but the kitchen sink in those pockets.

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