The Kelvin active is by no means a “new” product, but if you havent put hands on it yet you are doing yourself no favors! Maybe I am a touch late to the praise party but I’m showing up regardless. First thing to highlight here in my opinion however is the name of the product, or at least a specific part of the name: ACTIVE.
This is an insulating layer, but it’s not meant to keep you toasty warm while you sit stationary for hours on end. It is a puffy jacket made to insulate and breath at the same time. It does supply enough insulation to keep you warm while glassing but where it really shines is on those cold days where a piece like the core heavyweight just doesnt completely cover it but a cold weather puffy is too much. It has a claimed weight of 13.7 ounces though my medium came in a touch heavy at 16 ounces on my home scale. It is very easy to convince myself the extra pound is worth it, especially since it also will pack itself into it’s own hood which means it’s not taking up a ton of space when not in use.
Sitka has made this model with 20d ripstop nylon and filled it with “80 g/m2 polartech alpha” insulation, in simple terms it is tough and I stay warm. The morning I killed my bull this year I’d been following along behind a grazing heard of elk since before first light, it was a chilly morning socked in with smoke from another big Utah fire. I started my morning hike with the Kelvin active over a merino short sleeve shirt and shot my bull a few miles and a few hours from where I started, I never had to take off the puffy jacket and switch to a lighter outer layer. The jackets outer layer stays quiet enough to stalk into archery range of elk which is a big plus, that morning as well as many before I was going through brush and trees and not only is it fairly quiet in those situations but the jacket has yet to show any sign of damage. Some other puffy jackets are very fragile yet quiet all while letting the wind in, some are thick enough to block wind and sticks but you hear every movement you make and begin to overheat quickly, the Kelvin has hit the perfect middle ground in my opinion.
The jacket has a very athletic fit, to the point of being a little restrictive and I’d recommend ordering up one size if you arent test fitting before the purchase. The sleeves are so tight that I have to remove my releases wrist sling to take the jacket on and off, if I ordered a size bigger it may not be a problem but I feel the ends could use a touch more stretch on them to help with that issue. Another small change that could help the overall jacket layout is the pull tab on the hood. I for one dont use the elastic in the hood to pull it super tight to my skull, but having a quarter sized chunk of plastic on the back of your head can be annoying if laying back with your hood on. Some people may never notice this, some it may drive crazy, I’ve thought about cutting mine off since I dont use it but have yet to commit to molesting the jacket.
The pull cords for tightening the bottom of the jacket around your waist run up through your pockets and I’ve really liked that design and so far it’s worked flawless for me. The zippers have also worked flawless and the comfort of the jacket even against bare skin is something to be mentioned. I’ve found I throw a rain and wind jacket on alot less while wearing this piece which may bite me one day but so far it’s been nothing but a blessing of not swapping layers.
The biggest down side to this jacket I’ve found is the fact that I want to buy another or maybe even two, and thats not an over exaggeration. Honestly this is a jacket I debate throwing on for day to day use all the time, I convince myself I have enough other jackets that I don’t need to wear anymore of the new off of it just walking around town… However if I’m ever in NEED of another jacket for any use it would be sage to bet money that it will be another Kelvin active!!
Hopefully Kelvin active pants are available soon!!