When I first looked at the top my instant impression was that it looked like a modern re-make of the old Norwegian tops. Keelas description of the item is as follows: "The Men's Summit Advance zip top is a base layer developed for the most serious athletes, and where the extremities of weather, terrain and temperature demand the highest level of performance. A technical fitted top that can be worn on its own in mild conditions or as a base layer to enhance your performance.
The external layer is 'ADS Star Yarn Fabric' it is designed for 'heat generation' whilst not having the bulk of the fleece and being highly breathable, I can confirm the top lives up to this and is breathable yet warm when the temperature drops to allow it to be worn in all environments. I tested the top in a variety of environments and also lent it to a colleague of mine who took it to Nepal! In the UK, the top was worn none stop other than when sleeping, but it is comfortable enough to sleep in if needed.
The top's internal layer is a fleece like material which is not irritating or ticklish against the skin. The seams may look as though they protrude but when I wore the top I experienced no problems. The first time I wore the top was walking in the peak district on an expedition in March/April. I wore the top for 3 days as my base layer and it was more than suitable for all the conditions that I experienced. It protected me from the sun whilst also providing slight wind protection and a extra thermal layer in the cooler times. After the expedition I checked over the summit advance and despite being worn for 3 days there was no issue with smell or build up of crap on the top What I was slightly disappointed with though was signs of wear, across the top there was sign of snagging (this was noted before being in the wash so cannot be from cleaning). I had not been doing any activities where snagging would be expected. As can be seen from the photos, the main areas were on the rear left shoulder and lower left back.
I cannot think of anything that will of caused wear like this even after checking my kit to make sure nothing was sticking out.
The top is a zip top wear the zip goes down to the bottom of the chest, this was very useful as it prevented me having to squeeze an annoying plastic neck hole over my humungous head. It also allowed the top to be zipped up fully to protect my neck slightly or fully zipped down to aid aeration, or anywhere in between - of course.
The cuffs are not elasticized but are simply folded over and double stitched creating a tough edge, I did find that this double layer did absorb water very well and took a while to dry when water dribbled down my cuffs or the top was extruding out my smock.
I found the top melted and damage very quickly when into contact with flame, it did not catch fire but when I accidently brushed a windproof match against the cuff of my top it quickly melted and became black.
The top I received was described as Khaki and it is also available black or a combination of the two. The Khaki colour itself I personally would describe as an Olive Drab or Olive Green colour. Of course buying it in black would make it more acceptable in public but I feel the style of the item would means it is more suitable for military situations.
The top compresses very well, I had the top in large and it filled about half of an utility pouch.
Keela RRP the top at £29.95 but it is available on Amazon for just £22.38.
In conclusion the Keela is more than suitable for wearing under a military smock or for taking walking during non-military activities. I would recommend the Keela Summit Advance to anyone looking for a economical but very effective base layer and you'll be hard pressed to find anything of this quality for a similar price! Beware of the snagging issue that I identified though & I'd be interested to see if anyone else reports the same problem - 4.5/5
The Nepal Himalayan Expedition wrote:
''A very hard wearing garment which took much abuse on the expedition. It was washed in cold mountain streams, dried whilst draped over a rock or tree and showed no signs of wear after the expedition. Fold nicely into the ruck sack. The long sleeve version gave protection from the cold and from the sun. Worn throughout the expedition.''
Summit Advance kindly supplied by Keela