Keela Belay Smock Review
Well I’ve probably missed the ideal time of year for this smock in Britain as winter has now left us and a warm spring has already had me in shorts several times. I like getting ahead on seasonal goods though as it gives me a chance to make sure I’m prepared and I have plenty of time to get a bargain.
The insulation is a microfiber creation known as Primalof Gold. This is reported to be one of the worlds best clothing insulations and has some very interesting properties. It feels like you are wearing a down jacket which makes it incredibly soft and light, yet very warm, and it compresses down reasonably well. If you want something to keep in your pack for emergencies then this is definitely a good contender. It’s well padded in all of the right areas to keep your torso warm in some nasty weather. I didn’t get to use it in the colder months, but I do know a restaurant manager with a walk-in freezer who didn’t mind me standing around in it at the end of the day. It was -18 and I stayed in there for a good 20 minutes before eventually needing to warm up but, only because my nostrils had frozen shut. My body stayed warm enough given that I wasn’t able to move around and use metabolic heat generation to keep me going. Also I didn’t have any thermal layers on underneath the smock, just a long sleeved T-Shirt, but obviously more layers are vital in extreme weather conditions. Besides sitting around in freezers I have taken this camping a couple of times as the nights still get particularly cold and as I sleep in a hammock I have opened the side zips up and spread the smock out to help provide a comfortable and warm thermal layer between me and the air that obviously circulates around the hammock. I must say that its been one of the best items I’ve had for this, as if I ever get really cold then I can always put it on and protect my vital core temperature more.
It comes with side zips that open from the waist up to your elbows for ventilation making it similar to a poncho. This is particularly good if you are in cold weather and you start to warm up too much as your sweat can cause to get hypothermia faster when you stop moving. So this allows you to reduce core body temperature without having to remove the extra layer which is very handy. Besides this there is a concealed hood which doesn’t provide any insulation properties but, will keep your head dry. It also comes with two large pockets on the front. One kangaroo style pocket which can be loaded from the top and has rather a lot of space in there for things suck as a hat and gloves and one main pocket across the waist. The waist pocket goes through to allow you to keep your hands together and help retain your heat in your precious fingers and one side has a sort of fleecy material, although it would have been nice if both sides had it.
Overall I’m quite pleased with this smock in general but I would like to see some changes on it in the future. I’m not happy with Velcro on any products. I find it wears down over time and would much prefer a different system to adjust the waist and cuffs like button fasteners or some sort of sliding belt. It would also be nice if they fitted the hood with insulation as well although I rarely use hoods as I find them restricting. So really, there nothing major about this that lets it down. Besides this the only warning I would give to you is not to wear this near a fire as the rip-stop nylon will melt if you get embers on it. Really though, this isn’t designed for sitting around the fire, but for walking around in the colder weather and, for that, I think its great. Excluding the warmer seasons this will be accompanying me on every excursion for the foreseeable future. It’s incredibly warm and versatile, feels and looks great, and the quality is as high as the mountains you will be climbing.
Check out the Belay smock and other products from Keela here.
Keela Belay Smock Review