I was recently humiliated at a potluck where the host (who was a bit of a jerk) derided my mispronunciation of “Adidas.” Apparently I’ve been saying it incorrectly all along.
After retaliating by hiding several essential kitchen items and at least two sets of his car keys, I packed into my new Fjallraven jacket and escaped into a dark and stormy night.
Fjallraven- Let’s get this right-
Say it faster now, aaaaand you’ve got it.
Fjallraven enjoys similar roots to hit music makers Abba- Founded in a 1960’s basement in Sweden, Fjallraven’s signature garments boast major staying power and durability in a constantly churning and changing market.
What I like: These Greenland Wax treated fabrics can keep you dry in a Waterloo downpour, making an S.O.S wholly unnecessary. The military-like cut and utilitarian aesthetics of the Keb shell make me feel like a Super Trouper, where the lights may try to blind me, but it’s the winner that takes it all; Rain, snow, sleet and abuse.
The proprietary G1000 fabric was developed back in the day, initially as a tent fabric, but company founder Ake Nordin saw its potential as a heavy duty garment alternative for various Greenland expeditions. Needle and thread in hand, his efforts paid off and Fjallraven has enjoyed euro cult success status ever since.
Just like Abba.
Knowing me, knowing you, our gear sees a lot of punishing weather and use. I was initially sceptical about the hoop-style, reinforced hood on the Keb, but the recent warming trends and long rainy days in the valley bottoms see that same hood performing in tip top fashion. Even when the hood isn’t in use, I’ve grown accustomed to the cervical-collar effect that the lowered hood has around my neck and throat- It keeps the wind and chill off the ol’ larynx, and the high-zip collar keeps the upper reaches on lock down.
Fit-wise, it’s an easy one for me. Whether my ectomorphic body type is the norm in Sweden or not, the Keb series (and a lot of the Fjallraven line) are cut for the long and lanky set. The sleeves are a generous length, and the softshell material that complements the G1000 fabrics are stretchy and accommodating both for layering, varying shapes and sizes, and for required, explosive plyometric movements- Like when that jerk from the potluck starts chasing you down the street, up and over fences and handrails as you make your escape.
When all is said and done, Fjallraven may currently be enjoying a groundswell of support from the fashion forward set, but its long-range viability and sturdy design practices are what will see the brand and its products continue to be highly coveted.
I look forward not only to seeing new and improved items from the arctic fox, but in putting tried and true items through the wringer, too. The Keb jacket looks, feels and fits great, and its performance thus far has been exemplary. Getting it out on the skin-track this weekend, my expectations are that it will perform similarly well in the backcountry, generous pit zips, reasonable packing weight and mixed fabric-type-form perfect for late winter and early spring sessions.
Two greasy paws up for this versatile, thoughtful Swedish shell.
Review By: Tyler Bradley