Mountain Hardwear Kepler Review

When working in the mountains I need to be able to count on my gear. Wether thats keeping me dry while climbing Ice, regulating my temperature on a long touring day, or protecting me from heinous winds on summit day.  This season KMG has chosen to meet our demanding needs with the Mountain Hardware Kepler Jacket.  Through out my past seasons I have used various jackets that have been touted as best in class and latest and greatest.  I was enthusiastic to find that this jacket above all has been able to meet the rigorous demands of a KMG guide.

Alec rocking his Mountain Hardwear Kepler

Technical Specs

■        Cost:               $400

■        Weight:            1 lb. 7.oz. / 652 g.

■        Material:         Synchro NBT  with DryQ ELITE technology

Features

■        Alpine Fit

■        Total waterproof protection

■        Chest-high pockets accommodate a harness or pack

■        Helmet-compatible hood with single-pull adjustment system and extra beefy brim

■        Watertight zips seal out moisture

■        Soft, “Butter Jersey” cuffs

■        Interior zip pocket for snacks or other small items

■        Drawcords at hem seal in warmth

■        Micro-Chamois – lined chin guard eliminates zipper chafe

The waterproof breathable fabric is no gimmick. It effectively keeps me dry even on the wettest of ice days while simultaneously managing all of the heat generated through intense exertion.  Its been my go to outer layer on long tour days as well only being removed on the hottest of days where I have to strip down to my base for any semblance of comfort. This material has also proved to be durable. Holding up to repeated rope friction, combat skiing trees and the occasional, inevitable un expected sharp or pointy object. I have no doubts as to this fabrics fortitude.  While the outer layer of the jacket provides protection the inner layer is effective at applying comfort. The soft interior provides a soothing touch if the layers beneath are scarce and a bit of extra insulation.

The Alpine fit has been exceptionally good in both Ice climbing and backcountry skiing scenarios. Its long enough in the rear to prevent the jacket sliding out of the back of my harness resulting in discomfort and an exposed area ( a problem I have had with other similar jackets.) While skiing the hem drawcords enable it to work well in conjunction with a tucked in base layer to alleviate any worries of snow drifting or being pushed into my lower back. and the the higher pockets are exceptionally well placed for use while a harness is on or when the waist strap of my pack is buckled.

On windy days or those with high levels of precipitation the helmet compatible hood provides both a good and adjustable fit as well as comprehensive protection. It wraps well around the sides of your helmet while still allowing your head laterally mobility and does not sit to far forward on your head that you find yourself wanting to constantly re adjust to improve your upward vision.  There is also enough materiel at the neck to still provide ample protection to your chin neck and even mouth while you are wearing a helmet. This has been especially nice on particularly blustery days in the backcountry.

Ive been thoroughly impressed and have no doubts that this jacket will been taking a spot in my usual line up season after season.

Alec Johnson – KMG Guide, AIARE Instructor, AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

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