Arcteryx Keibo ReviewNovember 26, 2012
- Great fit—good range of motion without billowing
- Very durable outer fabric
- High weight-to-warmth ratio
- High collar, long hem, simple exterior means very weatherproof
- Helmet compatible hood
- Front zipper sometimes snags (may be fixed)
Bottom line, if you can afford it, buy it. The Keibo is an exceptionally well-fitting, meticulously tailored, and uncommonly well-designed ski jacket built from top-shelf materials. It’s also extremely expensive. Few people will need the performance this jacket offers on piste, but those who can afford it will not be disappointed.
The outer shell is top-shelf waterproofing—Gore-Tex’s three-layer Pro Shell—which is more waterproof than you’ll ever need at a ski resort, and also extremely durable. The Keibo is insulated with a new Coreloft product, Compact, which is supposed to deliver “90 percent of the warmth with 50 percent of the bulk,” of traditional Coreloft. This is a hard sort of thing for our testers to measure, but it was definitely warm and not particularly bulky. This could also be partially attributed to the construction and fit of the jacket. The seams are taped for total waterproofing.
The Keibo has a sort-of 80s big-shoulder look, which is the key to the whole jacket. A lot of companies make their non-stretchy, waterproof jackets bigger in order to allow sufficient range of motion. Arcteryx keeps the cut relatively slim, which makes for better warmth-retention and less billowing, but makes the shoulders very roomy because that’s where most of the motion is in a jacket. The design works. The Keibo also features a 3-D patterning for the elbows, meaning they’re naturally articulated. Overall, the jacket just fits better than other non-stretch shells.
The Keibo keeps the hem long, the collar high (and insulated) and the hood big enough for a helmet, all of which mean plenty of coverage against the wind when you are hunkered down on a blustery chairlift.
Arcteryx keeps the interior very smooth—i.e. not a lot of pockets or texture—so that the jacket slides easily across interior layers for a better range of motion. Plenty of other great details, including a RECCO reflector to help ski patrol find you if you get slid or accidentally wander out of bounds for the night, a powder skirt, and mesh-backed pit zips in case you forget to close them on a big powder day.
Lastly, the Keibo has a clean exterior. There’s only three exterior pockets, though they are very large. As one tester mentioned: “Every time you punch a hole in a shell, it prevents an opportunity for it to leak.” Don’t worry, there’s a few other pockets inside.
Our initial test sample had a sticky zipper. After we posted our initial report, Arcteryx contacted us to let us know that problem been fixed in the production line “with a tight seam tolerance and also reinforced lamination on the front hem, and all of the jackets in stores have a perfectly functioning zip.” So there you have it.