The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Mountain Hardwear Keele Hoody - Women's Review

This fleece softshell hybrid is straightforward, affordable, and comfortable with good water resistance.
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Price:  $150 List | $59.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Fleece lining adds warmth, good water repellency, comfortable, thumb loops
Cons:  Not super breathable, thumb loops only work for short arms
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Weather Protection - 30% 7
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Mobility - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Keele Hoody is a hybrid fleece softshell focused on durability. It's cozy with excellent water repellency and harness-compatible hand pockets. Comfortable and decently warm, this layer is nothing extraordinary or overly technical — it's simply a good jacket. If you're in the market for something competent and well rounded at a very approachable price, this is one to consider.

Take a look at our Editors' Choice for Cooler Temps, the Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody, if you want to level up. It's more than twice the price of the Keele but the fit, mobility, and weather protection are all superior. Sometimes it's smart to spend more for something that's a better fit — literally. On the other hand, our other Editors' Choice, the Arc'teryx Sigma SL Anorak Pullover, is a top-notch choice for not that much more than the Keele. It's unlined and meant for warmer days with impeccable breathability and climbing-focused features.


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $59.99 at Backcountry
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$114.95 at Amazon$49.95 at Amazon
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Pros Fleece lining adds warmth, good water repellency, comfortable, thumb loopsHighly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durableVery lightweight, excellent mobility, highly breathable, great fit, affordable.Super breathable, great sun layer, excellent mobility, chest pocket doubles as stuff sack, thumb loopFull-legth side zippers, excellent fit, windproof, lined, thumbholes
Cons Not super breathable, thumb loops only work for short armsNot very warm, only one pocketNot warm, only two pocketsNot warm, less durable than other options, hem adjustment piece is bulkyLess breathable due to windproofing, expensive
Bottom Line This fleece softshell hybrid is straightforward, affordable, and comfortable with good water resistance.This lightweight and streamlined pullover is a fabulously durable layer that breathes like a dream and dries lightning fast.This smart and ultralight softshell is extremely easy to move in and highly breathable - an excellent pick for the movement-minded adventure seeker.This thin pullover is perfect for when you just need that little bit of extra protection while standing in the sun, working up a sweat, or shimmying up a rock face.This innovative hoody ups the ante with great features like full-length side zips, fantastic mobility, and excellent weather protection.
Rating Categories Keele Hoody Sigma SL Anorak Pullover Rab Borealis - Women's Whirlwind Pullover Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
4
10
0
3
10
0
8
Breathability (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
Mobility (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
Versatility (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Keele Hoody Sigma SL Anorak... Rab Borealis -... Whirlwind Pullover Ultimate V SO...
Measured Weight - Size Medium (oz) 13.7oz 9.5oz 8.3oz 8.2oz 13.1oz
Material Doubleweave Brushback (90% Polyester, 10% Elastane) Aequora Airperm - 86% nylon, 14% elastane Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR 86% recycled polyester, 14% spandex, 75D stretch woven 100% polyester
Lined/Insulated? Yes No No No Yes
Hood Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable
Helmet Compatible? Yes, underneath Yes Yes, underneath Yes Yes, underneath
Wind Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, windproof
Water Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 5 (2 hand, 1 chest, 2 internal mesh drop pockets) 1 chest 2 hand 1 chest 2 hand
Adjustable Cuffs? No No No No Yes
Available Sizes XS - XL XS - L XS - XL XS - XL XS - XXL

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Keele Hoody is a simple jacket at a comfortable price point. It didn't blow us away in any category, but it has good water resistance and is enjoyable to wear for cooler weather adventures.

Performance Comparison


The Keele Hoody is a fine jacket  but nothing to write home about.
The Keele Hoody is a fine jacket, but nothing to write home about.

Weather Protection


The Keele has really good water resistance. The moisture-wicking hardshell DWR exterior means that water sits on the surface without soaking in, wipes off the surface easily, and dries quickly. The cozy inner fleece lining stays dry even when the outside is damp, and it is able to hold in quite a bit of warmth. However, while this hoody is also wind resistant, it's not overly warm when the wind has a chill to it. While belaying on a windy spring day in the early spring, our testers had to pull on another layer to keep warm. If you're not moving your body and the wind is cold, this hoody may not be quite enough to hack it.

The fleece lining of the hybrid Keele is cozy and helps hold warmth in when water is present  though cold wind still cuts through.
The fleece lining of the hybrid Keele is cozy and helps hold warmth in when water is present, though cold wind still cuts through.

Breathability


We wouldn't say breathability on the Keele is bad, but with a fleece lining and DWR-treated exterior, it's not stellar either. This hoody is best suited for spring and fall activities where nothing gets overly aerobic. Yes, it will provide more warmth than a thin unlined model, but it's at the expense of its ability to breathe super well.

The Keele is just okay with breathability. It's not stifling as long as you're keeping it casual and it's not too hot out  but it's not the best option for highly aerobic activities.
The Keele is just okay with breathability. It's not stifling as long as you're keeping it casual and it's not too hot out, but it's not the best option for highly aerobic activities.

Mobility


Again this jacket is decent but nothing special. It has great mobility for all your day-to-day activities, but it's a tad bulky, there's a bit of constriction across the shoulders for those with a climber's build, and the sleeves are short if you want to use the thumb loops. As just a sleeve the length is fine, but the thumb holes sit high enough up that many of our testers found them unusable.

The sleeves on the Keele are fine by themselves  but short if you want to use the thumb loops.
The sleeves on the Keele are fine by themselves, but short if you want to use the thumb loops.

Weight


At 13.7 ounces for a size medium, this jacket is a decent weight for a fleece hybrid — we've certainly had them come much heavier. It's light enough to consider for outings where space and weight are somewhat limited, though it does have enough bulk as to exclude it from objectives where all your gear needs to pack down super small.

If you're car camping this hoody may be perfect  but it's not what we would grab if space is at a premium.
If you're car camping this hoody may be perfect, but it's not what we would grab if space is at a premium.

Versatility


Again the Keele is decent but not spectacular. It's durable and fairly stylish but also not appropriate for anything overly exertive due to limitations in breathability. The features are mostly well-executed — the hood fits nicely under a helmet, and the pockets are accessible while wearing a harness, but the thumb loops only work if your arms are short and we felt cold when a chilly wind picked up.

Some features of the Keele are optimized for climbing  though there are other issues that give us pause when considering it for a highly technical outing.
Some features of the Keele are optimized for climbing, though there are other issues that give us pause when considering it for a highly technical outing.

Best Application


Depending on what you're getting into, the Keele can be a very decent wardrobe companion at an excellent price point. It's best for spring and summer activities where you need protection from some weather situations but nothing too intense. It repels water decently and is compatible with a harness, so light hikes, casual climbing, canyoneering, rappelling, and urban bike rides all come to mind as appropriate activities. However, this layer doesn't breathe the best, and it's only warm and wind resistant up to a point, so if you think temperatures might dip, it most likely won't be enough.

If you're keeping swing season outings relatively simple this hoody is a nice choice at an approachable price.
If you're keeping swing season outings relatively simple this hoody is a nice choice at an approachable price.

Value


When considering the price range of softshells on the market today, the Keele falls on the low end. It's more of an entry-level jacket, and the price reflects that. While it's perfectly adequate for a lot of adventures, if you know you'll be focusing on something specific there are likely better available options.

Conclusion


The Keele Hoody is a good all-around jacket. It's nothing overly technical or impressive, but it's comfortable, decently warm, and will get the job done. While not the most breathable, it's features are compatible with climbing and hiking gear, and it's got good stretch and mobility. All in all, there are better models for specific outings, but many of them will cost you a lot more.

A decent jacket at a nice price  the Keele served us well while camping  hiking  belaying  and more. It's not an overly technical piece  but not everyone needs or wants that.
A decent jacket at a nice price, the Keele served us well while camping, hiking, belaying, and more. It's not an overly technical piece, but not everyone needs or wants that.


Penney Garrett