Gear Review: Fjällräven Keb Jacket

The Fjällräven Keb Jacket is a perfect choice as an outer layer for when heading out hiking, backpacking or camping. Constructed from both pliable nylon and durable G-1000 (made from 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton), the jacket fits comfortably and is well designed. G-1000 material is meant to take a beating, and you will find it in all of the right places. Two of the most valuable G-1000 protected areas are the hood (to save you from the elements) and the shoulders (to save you from abrasion while wearing a backpack). On the flip side however, large swaths are covered by breathable nylon such as the back panel (great venting for when you wear a backpack) and under the armpits which also allow for a great range of motion such as when using hiking poles.

The hood is perhaps the most curious part of the jacket, which may cause a double take, but performs exceptionally well. When the wind and rain starts to pester you, flip up the attached hood (which includes both a drawstring, and a strip of velcro to help control how the hood sits on your head) and adjust the wire rim to your liking. While wearing the hood you will notice how far it extends, giving you a bit of tunnel vision which serves to cut off wind. Not only does this extra overhang keep you from wind shear, but as an added bonus kept my glasses dry from prevailing rain so that I didn't have to keep trying to dry them all of the time. If the skies start to brighten up a bit, you can roll back the extended hood, turning it into more of a traditional hood shape. 

Front dual zippers allow you to zip up the jacket, and then unzip the bottom to gain access your pockets in your pants, but the best zippers are under the arms. These dual zippers allow you to dump a lot of extra heat as they are quite long all while allowing easy access to shirt pockets within. While the jacket has no standard hand-pockets (which are usually blocked by the belt of a knapsack anyway), the front of the jacket has two easily accessible chest pockets  which are both really large and have stretchy inner pockets to keep devices or snacks secure. There is also a little zippered pocked on the left arm for smaller gadgets.

The Keb Jacket stands up to a lot, letting you hike through thickets that would tear thin shells to tatters. Combined with the ability to add water resistance using a bar of Greenland Wax (read our review here) you will love this versatile jacket. Although it is a little heavier than most jackets (a size medium is 823 g), while wearing it you will keep marvelling at the thought that went into it. Wearing a heavy knapsack? Areas that would see wear and abrasion from buckles are protected with by G-1000. Wind creeping up on you? With the hood folded back, it sits high enough to protect the back of your neck. Stitching through-out is tough and unobtrusive and the entire front is made from G-1000 for wind resistance. You can tell that this jacket is made for outdoor adventures and I highly recommend it!

Stay connected to Fjällräven by following them on Facebook and Twitter, and there is free shipping on orders over $75 on the Canadian online Fjällräven store.

[Related: Gear Review: Fjällräven Greenland WaxFjällräven Opens Their First Store in Canada]

Gear Review: Fjällräven Greenland Wax

Fjällräven has a line of great clothing that includes their durable G-1000 fabric, that stands up to almost every condition. When the heavens start to threaten your adventure with the possibility of rain however, it's best to go protected and that's when you need Greenland Wax. The Fjällräven Greenland Wax improves water and wind resistance while still offering the breathability of the fabric. Once applied, it also increases the garment’s durability and lengthens its lifespan. It is made from two natural ingredients, paraffin and beeswax and is environmentally friendly.  It isn’t sticky and has a soft smell of beeswax.

A large block should do about ten applications on a Greenland jacket but can be used for a multitude of handy things such as to help sticky zippers, or as a seam sealer on tents and knapsacks (It will also prevent ice from forming on zippers!).

Simply rub the bar evenly into your clothing on a clean, solid, flat area such as a table. You can always go back and apply more layers to areas that might be affected by rain the most such as your hood, shoulder areas of your jacket, or the front of your thigh and knees of your pants. You can also leave sections unprotected for better ventilation such as your lower back which can get sweaty after going backpacking. By throwing the garments in the washing machine a few times, the wax will be removed.

Even on the low setting, it only takes one pass to melt the wax

Even on the low setting, it only takes one pass to melt the wax

You can use an iron or hairdryer to impregnate the wax into G-1000 clothing. The Greenland Wax has a low melting point (use the 55 to 60º C (99 to 108º F) range) which is rather perfect as this temperature won't melt the stretchy nylon areas, or draw-strings upon contact. A hair dryer is effective for any tough to reach areas such as pockets, seams or melting the wax to a Fjällräven cap. If you find a spot that is letting moisture though while out exploring, bring a small block of wax with you (it comes in two sizes, the full-sized bar, and a travel pack) and you can use your camp stove to adhere the wax (start by holding it a fair distance away and slowly move it closer. Don’t wear your garment while doing this).

The versatility of both the G-1000 clothing and the Greenland Wax is a real winner when looking for clothing for the outdoors. Although it doesn't waterproof the garment, every type of dew, mist and light rain were of no concern after applying the wax. In addition of it adding to the longevity of the clothing, I highly recommend it.

Stay connected to Fjällräven by following them on Facebook and Twitter, and there is free shipping on orders over $75 on the Canadian online Fjällräven store.

[Related: Fjällräven Opens Their First Store in Canada]

Harper Government Has Formally Protected Ukkusiksalik National Park

Earlier this week the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada announced that the Government of Canada has taken the final step to create and protect Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada by enshrining it in the Canada National Parks Act through an Order-in-Council.

“Our Government is committed to ensuring our natural heritage and rich biodiversity is protected for all Canadians today and into the future. Canada’s North is home to the world’s most spectacular scenery and pristine wilderness and I’m tremendously pleased to be announcing Ukkusiksalik will be protected for future generations. This final step, that supports our Government’s National Conservation Plan, marks the completion of years of hard work and dedication of many Northerners.”
  • Ukkusiksalik National Park surrounds Wager Bay in Nunavut. It contains an impressive variety of land forms including eskers, mudflats, cliffs, rolling tundra banks and unique coastal regions. 
  • Named Ukkusiksalik, after the soapstone found within its boundaries, the 20,880 km2 park is home to caribou, muskox, wolf, polar bear, barren-ground grizzly bear, and arctic hare, as well as golden eagles, peregrine falcons and other species.
  • The Harper Government has added an area nearly twice the size of Vancouver Island to the network of federal protected areas, including: a six-fold expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories, the world’s first protected area extending from the mountain tops to the sea floor (Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site); and the world’s largest freshwater protected area (Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area).
  • Northern national parks and national historic sites are key natural, cultural, recreational and tourism assets and provide the setting for culture or nature-based tourism activities, science/research, and conservation as well as for the continuation of traditional activities. 

On the Newsstands: Backpacker September 2014

The September 2014 issue of Backpacker has his the newsstands. In this issue...

  • American Wild: 28 Top Trails & Hidden Wonders
  • How to: See more wildlife, Survive getting lost, make no-stove meals
  • Survival Secrets
  • Treat hiking injuries
  • .... and more! 

This digital issue of Backpacker Magazine is $3.99, or $14.99 a year for a subscription on the iOS Newstand app or the Google Play store. The physical issue is $5.99.

Stay up to date with Backpacker on Facebook and Twitter

Trail Swag's On the Newsstands: covers the latest magazines in an effort to let you know what great new content or digital issues that have hit the shelves