Keela Pinnacle Pro & ADS Baselayer and some thoughts on pricing too.

I never mention price in my reviews, I did try it once with a little fact box at the end of the review but I got bored of that after about ten minutes. It’s not that price is no object if I was looking around the shops, indeed these days it would be very much on my mind and empty wallet, but is it not just a little patronising for me to tell folk that something is too expensive for them or if they purchase this other thing they’ll be making do with cheap? What do you judge it by, your own income, the national average, some notional limit of perceived value?
The cost of something is very much a personal issue, kit is either good or not, and these days there’s not much if any in the “not” category in the real outdoor shops, so I like to say what I think of something and let anyone who might read it judge for themselves whether it’s right for their needs and budget.

In saying that, when I had to look at gear for folk who want to start hillwalking and have to make those first vital purchases I wanted to recommend without compromise, but also not price folk out of their initial enthusiasm.
Keela was a no-brainer for this, the Pinnacle Pr0 (UK medium dammit) is a real mountain jacket with a great hood and pockets, pit zips, good cut and it looks nice too for just under a ton.
It’s heavy at 776g and doesn’t have a cutting edge fabric, but the compromise has to come from somewhere and it’s not that big a deal, ten years ago I was happy to find a shell jacket around that weight and I see myself grinning in my old photies.
It’s a little old school in design and detailing, but totally functional, and as I know from a stack of these that instructors use, they’re durable too. It’s reasonably priced yes, but a cheap option? I think that’s a dangerous word to apply here or anywhere, so that decision would be up you, me and everyone else who wants to take it off the rack and look at it.

The ADS Long Sleeve Zip Top is another one to ponder, under £20 and at first glance no different from any other baselayer on the market. Are £40 baselayers twice as good? Are we paying more for better fabrics, more ethical manufacturing, more pre-production testing or just a flasher logo? All of the above to varying degrees maybe?
It’s a nice enough shirt, and I’ve got a short sleeve version on test which I’ll come back too.

I’m not singling out Keela here for any particular reason, it just kind of fitted in with some recent thoughts and conversations. Looking at my own favourites they span from cheapos to top end. Not all expensive is the best made or designed, not all cheap stuff is a bargain and not all of the middle ground is a safe bet, it’s a big market in there and some folk want to claim it at any cost.


9 thoughts on “Keela Pinnacle Pro & ADS Baselayer and some thoughts on pricing too.”

  1. Interesting thoughts. I remember a few years ago, when I was helping my sister kit out my niece for DoE, being really quite impressed at what you could get in Millets from brands like Peter Storm at very reasonable cost.

    I suspect there are some areas of gear – tents may be one, possibly rucsacs, possibly sleeping bags – where you do largely get what you pay for. Which doesn’t mean the cheaper stuff won’t do a job, but there may be more compromises to accept.

    But clothing seems like an area where price, quality and function are not as well correlated as we often like to tell ourselves. It’s obviously really – you only need to think back 20 or 30 years (or look back 100 or more) to see what folk were getting up to in the mountains and how they were dressed to do it. Sure there have been gains, and at the cutting edge they may be crucial, but for the mainstream player they’re rather more incremental than essential.

  2. I agree with the comments on tents/bags/packs Matt. Doing so many bags and tents on here and for Trail I’ve seen very few expensive ones with problems and some cheaper ones with real issues, did I ever mention the exploding Gelert tent pole?

    Clothing is indeed all over the place though, you have to sift through it to see the gems I think. Steps forward? There’s as much borrowing from the past as there is anything new, nothing wrong with that though.

  3. And it protects from midges in a way that Trailstar and others like it canny do. Most of the TN detractors have, I feel only put it up in the living room, or, at a push, the gairden…………….

  4. Been using Keela stuff for years. I’ve got one of their Kandura coats that was retired to the car coat last year, had it for around 10 years. Wear Peru and Scuffers trousers for walking, although the Peru trousers are more for casual wear now. I have a few ADS tops, a couple of freebies from Keela and they work great. Got a few other items aswell, good stuff, especially for the price.

  5. Aye, it’s good get-on-with-it kit.
    It was funny seeing a bunch of it in TK Maxx last week, it’s in there with Haglofs, TNF, Berghaus and Montane and the’re all the same prices.

  6. Fabric is always a big cost saver. But todays cheaper fabrics are probably miles away from the coated nylon I nearly sweated myself to death in all those years ago!

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