The Scree Packaway Smock is a truly multi-functional take-with lightweight and versatile garment from Keela, writes Mike Gormley.
I must say that the Keela Belay Smock is one of my most used items of kit. It just works for me for much of what I do. The Scree is a really a lightweight version of this.
The over-the-head smock design is really very similar but different in a number of ways. The Scree has 60gsm of Primaloft Gold (a very good feature) whereas the Belay Smock has 133gsm so even is more cosy. Clearly both benefit from the inherent water-resistance of the Primaloft insulation.
The Scree weighs in at 520 grammes whereas my Belay is 696g. Now on its own 176 grammes is not all that much really, but the Scree is also less bulky. However if you are like some friends of mine who are really into the lightweight long distance treks, every ounce (28g) counts and of course adds up over all of the kit one carries, coupled with distance covered and height gained.
Another notable feature of the Belay not included on the Scree are the side zips. The Belay is more of a heavy-duty colder weather garment, but if the weather is a bit warmer the Scree is probably all you need. Lighter in overall weight and more packable, so great as a ‘just in case’ item to take with you where ever you might be travelling to. It will pack into its own front pocket to keep it all neat and tidy. The other feature I like is the Scree comes in brighter colours, namely Lapis Blue and Fire (hi-vis orange). This feature was not missed on my first outing wearing it with our Moorland Training Group, who are now looking at making the Fire version our adult group members ‘team kit so as to be recognisable and stand out when on in the moors in poor weather in particular. This feature is also good when out for road walks or in the dark and for the likes of biking and boating when it is good to show up.
There is a quarter front zip and two zip-secured side pockets as well as the front ‘kangaroo pouch’ pocket loved by many as it is great for stowing the likes of maps and gloves when not in use. The two side access pockets, actually one as it goes right through, have very cosy fleece inner on the front side, which is a great aid for warming up hands when chill and perhaps damp. If wearing a rucksack the waist strap can be passed through this pocket, which has a couple of useful features. This allows the pocket to be used for hand warming and also allows the kangaroo pocket to be used to its full extent and not be cut off by the waist strap.
Over the past weeks since I have obtained the Scree and the weather has been a bit more Spring-like (Mike penned this before this week’s mini cold snap, Ed.) I have found it to be my preferred item over the trusty Belay, especially on dark evening walks.
[images © Jean Gormley]