review by Tony Lourens
Your choice of a waterproof shell in the mountains can be the make-or-break between an enjoyable day out, braving the harsh weather often found in the hills, and a desperate fight for survival, as the warmth is leached from your cold wet body, reducing you to a shivering wreck, on the brink of hypothermic demise. Sound a bit dramatic? Then you clearly haven’t been on a wintery peak in dismal conditions in a poor quality rain jacket.
K-Way’s Kilimanjaro ’19 Shell Jacket is designed for the typically harsh environments that are found on our mountains – a bad winter’s day in the high Drakensberg, Swartberg, Hex River mountains, and many of South Africa’s high peaks can be as brutal and alpine as anywhere in the European Alps.
And this winter was the perfect winter in South Africa to put the new Kilimanjaro Shell through its paces. Lots of rain, very chilly conditions, strong winds and also lots of snow. Can’t really ask for much more.
During a few excursions out on the hill, I found the jacket performed incredibly well under variable conditions and is also tailored to fit nice and snug, without being tight, nor too flappy.
The jacket features a three-layer waterproof fabric, with fully taped seams, boasting a water head of 15,000 millimetres. This means that it is rated for steady rain and snowfall under good pressure. It is also vapour permeable up to 15,000 g/m2. This means that breathability is good for high energy mountain sport, so guaranteed to keep you dry. And of course the jacket is also 100% windproof. These three combined qualities give you a jacket that you can rely on in the harshest conditions.
The Kilimanjaro ’19 is also beautifully designed. It comes with an integrated, adjustable hood with reinforced visor, which keeps the hood cosy and secure around your head and stops the rain from running down your face. It also has engineered arm articulation for freedom of movement and generous pit zips for more breathability on those warmer rainy days. For further protection, the bottom of the jacket can also cinch tight around your hips, and the cuffs have Velcro tabs to secure them around your wrists.
It features two sizable zipped hip pockets to keep your hands protected, a zipped chest pocket (with drain port) for snacks or other small essentials, and an inside (earphone friendly) zipped sleeve for your phone. And I loved the little fleecy patches on the inside where the zips close up against your neck, giving a nice soft feel.
I must say, I was suitably impressed with K-Way’s new rain shell creation, which fits admirably within their Expedition Series, and will definitely be adding it to my foul weather gear list on all my mountain trips.
• Internal baffle with dedicated gutter
• Integrated, adjustable hood with reinforced visor
• Underarm pit zips (water repellent zips)
• One chest pocket and two hand pockets
• Internal mesh pocket – MP3 compliant
• Engineered arm articulation
• All zips are manufactured by YKK
• 15,000 mm Waterproof, 15,000 g/m2 Moisture Vapour Permeable
Weight: 510 g
Shell fabrication: 100% Nylon full dull 40D (3-layer)