Mountain Hardwear Keele Hoody - Women's Review
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.
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 can 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.
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 very well.
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, 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.
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 to exclude it from objectives where all your gear needs to pack down super small.
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.
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.
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.