It’s not very often that I set off on a walk without a waterproof jacket in my backpack even if the weather forecast is good.
The British weather is the most unpredictable element that a walker has to prepare for. In the incredible heat of July 2018 I set off for three days walking, confident that it was hot and dry, only to find out half way through my walk that on the last day thunderstorms were predicted. Fortunately, I finished my walk before the heavens opened.
Never fully trusting the weather forecast I always tuck a waterproof jacket into my pack just in case, but to keep things fast and light I want a jacket that is really waterproof but light and easy to fold up, so that I can pop in the bottom of my bag with ease.
This year, one of the jackets I have been trying out is The North Face Keiryo Diad II. An awkwardly named offering for this season, I don’t even know how to pronounce it!
The Keiryo Diad II Jacket is designed to be light and packable for fast-paced mountaineering, but let’s not limit the jacket for only that type of activity. If you are a regular walker (whatever the terrain may be, and whatever your speed may be) and like myself, you want a light waterproof that is easy to wear, fully waterproof and comfortable, then the Keiryo Diad is a worthwhile investment.
The fabric of the Keiryo Diad is DryVent™. This is a breathable waterproof fabric. It is generally accepted that DryVent™ has a greater breathability than Gore-Tex, however the pores in the fabric can get clogged quicker with sweat particles and dirt so the jacket needs regular washing and reproofing to maintain its breathability and water repellency. The fabric is also DWR treated.
I found that the jacket was windproof and performed well in wet conditions. I have not had to wash it yet (it has been a pretty dry summer) but past experience has taught me that regular washing of fabrics like Event and DryVent is essential if you want to stay dry in the rain.
The Keiryo Diad is very light to wear, although the outer fabric feels a little strange. It is sort of crinkly but is more than comfortable.
The cut is generous enough for free movement without lots of wasted fabric flapping around. The fabric is mechanical stretch, having a measure of elasticity, useful if you are doing something requiring a lot of movement like climbing or scrambling, but not really essential for a walker. The sleeves were too long for my arms and I suspect they would be for most people. The cuffs are fastened with Velcro pull and loop. When the cuffs were fastened there was quite a bit of excess fabric along my arms.
There are just two hand pockets, comfortably placed for relaxing your hands and arms. Unfortunately, they are also just where the waist strap of a backpack passes that restricts access and are they are not large enough for an O/S map.
The hood is a close fit which I like. Helmet-compatible hoods are great if you want to wear a helmet but most walkers don’t. Having a hood that fits more snugly is certainly appreciated especially on windy days. There is an integral elastic crown to hold the hood in place around your head. I have not made my mind up whether this is irritating or not, but I’m not a big hat wearer.
A simple hidden cinch-cord tightens the hem of the Keiryo Diad but I have yet to discover how the cord is locked once it is tightened so that it does not slip loose again. The Keiryo Diad II has pit zips either side of the jacket which are a helpful addition when working up a sweat unless it is chucking it down with rain.
I like the lightness, simplicity and packability of the Keiryo Diad II. It’s very suitable as a ‘always in your backpack, just in case’ waterproof. It is a bit on the expensive side to be used simply as a walking waterproof jacket; however, if you are a regular walker I think it is a worthwhile investment as a quality, durable jacket that should last many years if properly maintained. I’m not sure all the features are essential for walkers, but it gives the Keiryo the edge on other less technical walking waterproofs.
- Hood with bonded peak and pre-elasticated crown for optimum fit
- YKK water-repellent front zip
- YKK core venting side zips
- YKK water-repellent pockets zips
- Hidden hem cinch-cord
- Velcro cuff adjustments
- PU zippers provide added protection
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