Keb is our most technical trekking collection. It’s the culmination of years of tweaks, failures and successes, of many hours field testing, discussions with manufacturers and suppliers, of listening to you – our customers – and our partners. It’s been a long process, one which will never be 100% complete.
A few years ago we saw some gaps in the collection. We didn’t really have a soft shell; we needed something for ski touring and spring hikes on steep terrain. When we started with Keb, the materials with the kind of sustainability credentials we required didn’t exist, at least not a price that was doable. That’s changed.
With our Keb Touring and Keb Lite products we’ve incorporated new types of stretch material into G-1000 Eco to offer that sweet spot between durability and freedom of movement.
Let’s take a closer look with help from product designer Elisabet-Elfa Arnarsdottir.
“For the Keb Touring Jacket and Trousers we decided to use a double weave fabric,” explains Elisabet-Elfa. “The pros with using a double weave over a bonded/laminated material is that there is no adhesive added to the fabric. That means fewer chemicals have been added to the process, and that the fabric can’t de-laminate over time. It also means you can optimise the face and backside of the fabric to make the inside more moisture wicking and the outside more durable.”
The Keb Lite Jacket and Trousers are, as the name suggests, lighter. They don’t offer the same level of weather resistance as the Keb Touring gear but they are softer, airier and even stretchier. This is because we’ve chosen to combine G-1000 Eco with a single weave fabric.
“We wanted to make the Keb Lite garments noticeably lighter than the classic Keb gear but we didn’t want to sacrifice durability. Our solution was to add a ripstop weave and a four-way mechanical stretch. We also thought about the design. We reinforced the Keb Lite garments only in the most relevant places, to ensure we were able to create a lighter technical trekking garment with outstanding freedom of movement.”
Sounds great. What’s the catch?
There are drawbacks of course, namely that it’s expensive. Plus, the extra work lengthens production times. But we feel these are necessary compromises. Our priority is to develop a product that lasts, that you’ll like to wear for many years, that does what it should do outdoors and that doesn’t have a big negative impact on the environment.
So what’s the difference between the classic Keb garments, Keb Touring and Keb Lite?
“In the Keb Trousers, for example, there is more G-1000 Eco for increased durability and versatility. The double weave stretch is also a relatively light double weave construction. For the Keb Touring garments we chose a burlier double weave fabric that is more wind resistant and slightly warmer, as we’ve designed these garments for autumn and winter use. We also wanted to have full freedom of movement and therefore only chose to add G-1000 Eco in key places for increased durability. Keb Lite garments on the other hand have a square metre weight of just 185g, they give you the protection from the elements that you need during the spring but they don’t hinder your movements or slow you down.”
When and where should you use them?
The new Keb Touring Jacket and Trousers are designed for winter trekking and ski touring. They are the perfect combination of wind resistance, warmth and ruggedness you need on challenging winter adventures in tough terrain.
The jacket has a helmet-compatible hood, shaped sleeves, large chest pockets and an upper arm pocket, so is ideal for climbing and glacier travel when harness and helmet are essential. Zipped ventilation under the arms and gusseted sleeves mean you won’t get all hot and bothered on tough pitches or when scrambling over uneven, steep terrain. And seeing as your mobile phone is often your camera when you want to keep weight to a minimum, we’ve included a secure internal phone pocket.
How about the trousers?
The inside of the lower leg is reinforced to help protect against the accidental brush of a crampon. The hem is expandable to fit over ski-touring boots and, of course, there is zipped ventilation on the outside of both legs for letting off steam on steep ascents.
The Keb Lite Jacket and Trousers are designed for autumn and spring, on trails covered in snow, stones or grass – often all three. They’re much lighter than the Keb Touring range, so not as warm or wind resistant, but won’t restrict movements or leave you sweating when taking on new challenges.
Seeing as light is the name of the game here, our designers have kept things simple: jacket pockets are minimal – just on the chest – so as not to get in the way of a harness or swinging arms carrying walking or ski poles; there are reinforcements over the shoulders to protect against wear and tear from backpack straps, but they also provide a little extra comfort when carrying heavier loads.
The same attention to keeping things simple applies to the trousers, too. Spring mountain hiking and exploration are kept in mind with details like zipped ventilation on the outer sides of both legs, quick access buttoned leg pockets, articulated gusset inside the legs to reduce chafing and reinforced hems to resist rubbing from rocks.
“The Keb Touring garments are my new favourite for all my winter activities,” says Elisabet-Elfa. “With full range of motion without restrictions, I feel I can move freely in the mountains. I hope you like them as much as I do.”