Every outdoor enthusiast needs a versatile lightweight hardshell jacket for hiking and other activities. In this review of Mammut Kento HS I put the jacket through its paces everywhere from city to countryside.
Why buy a versatile lightweight hardshell jacket
Whether you are going into the mountains, or just out for a hike in the countryside you should always have a light and packable waterproof jacket with you. It will sit in your pack most of the time, waiting to come to the rescue during bad weather, or at the end of the day if the temperature drops.
They are important because in bad weather they are the final barrier between you and whatever the world throws at you. In the rain it will keep you dry. If it is cold a hardshell adds an extra layer of warmth. And when the wind blows it should stop the breeze sapping your heat.
We expect a lot from our ’emergency jacket’ so it should be a good piece of kit. You may not need it all the time, but when you do it has to perform. Otherwise what is the point of carrying it around?
Last year when hiking in Wales I had my trusty hardshell the Trew Cosmic. It is very tough but not very light, weighing in at 0.8 kg kilograms. It did a great job at keeping me dry in the rain and keeping me warm when the wind got up. But it didn’t pack very easily and felt like overkill – afterall it is an old snowboard jacket.
So I decided I wanted a more versatile lightweight hardshell jacket. Something that will perform just as well, but easily pack up small and be so light I hardly notice it when not wearing it.
Review of Mammut Kento HS
There were four reasons I choose the Kento HS by Mammut:
- It weighs just 400g
- It easily packs up very small
- The Kento is rated at 20,000mm waterproof
- It’s breathability rating is 15,000 g/m²/24h
With these stats it should do the job I am looking for whilst weighing half of my heavy duty jacket.
During this review of Mammut Kento HS the first thing I noticed is how light and soft it is. Although technically a hardshell it feels as soft as some softshell jackets I have owned.
I am fairly short at 1.72 m (5’7″) tall and quite stocky with a 107 cm (42″) chest. As the Kento has an athletic fit I went for the large size so it would not be too tight. It is a good fit, except for the sleeves that are a little too long, but not so much that it is annoying.
The Kento feels very good quality. However, it’s soft and light nature did have me slightly worried about durability. At first I didn’t expect it would fair too well with brambles and sharp branches etc., but this worry proved to be fruitless.
Mammut Kento in bad weather
The Kento is designed with high-alpine terrain in mind. Although I have not been mountaineering in it I have tested it during the UK winter with plenty of hiking in the South Downs National Park. I also wore it in the evenings in a ski resort and have used it as a general jacket for everyday wear.
I have had plenty of wet weather, strong winds and cold temperatures to properly test it. And I have to say the DRYtech™ PRO does a fantastic job of keeping the elements at bay. Rain just beads off the surface keeping you perfectly dry.
The hood is very adjustable, with toggles at the back of the head and the collar that allow you to get the perfect fit. This means you can stay dry without having a hood either flopping over your eyes or blowing down in wind. The reinforced peak to the hood is also useful as it stays firm and stops rain getting in your eyes.
For such a lightweight jacket it does a surprisingly good job of keeping you warm. And by layering it with appropriate clothing for the conditions the Mammut Kento even works in cold weather. In fact, by wearing a technical midlayer beneath it I found it great in sub zero temperatures when in a ski resort.
When things get hot
For this review of Mammut Kento HS I have not just worn it in bad conditions but also in good. The Kento is very breathable so even if you are working hard moisture doesn’t build up on the inside. If you start to get too warm you can undo the pit zips to let in some air.
I have worn the Kento walking up a steep hill on a warm day in drizzling rain. I was wearing just a t-shirt underneath, and although I was hot I didn’t get sweaty. This is a great example of how breathable this versatile lightweight hardshell jacket is.
Usually in nice weather the Kento is rolled up in my pack. It folds down extremely small and the slightly stretchy material packs away really well. After months of use I have not noticed any deterioration in quality despite it being rolled up in a ball in my pack on numerous occasions.
Review of Mammut Kento HS around town
As a tidy and athletic fitting jacket I think the Kento looks smart for everyday wear. I have worn mine to the pub, been shopping in it, gone to football matches and picked the kids up from school. In black (but probably not the yellow!) it doesn’t look like an outdoors jacket which is great if you want to wear it for everyday activities.
It is this that makes it such a versatile lightweight hardshell jacket. For example, right now I am on my way to London for a meeting and it is packed up in my rucksack just in case it is cold on the way home or starts to rain.
It is also very practical. There are two big zipped hand pockets plus a chest pocket. All have splash proof zips and plenty of space for essentials. Also the hood rolls up and can be clipped away if you wish.
Conclusion: Versatile lightweight hardshell jacket
Having been wearing the Kento as my go to jacket from February to the end of May I have encountered snow, rain, strong winds and warm temperatures. I have worn it everywear from a ski resort at night to the supermarket, and in the South Downs National Park to my local pub.
The Kento has performed exceptionally well in all conditions and I have been very surprised how robust the material is. Although it feels soft it has not been damaged by pushing through tight trees (while looking for the Gruffalo with my kids) and when I snagged it on a branch hiking it did not rip.
To conclude this review of Mammut Kento HS I would say it is the ideal versatile lightweight hardshell jacket for mountain and outdoor activities. It is small and light enough to pack away in your bag, but when you need it, the Kento keeps the elements at bay exceptionally well.
I hope you found this review Mammut Kento HS useful. If you are looking for a lightweight waterproof it costs £179. It comes in black, grey, light blue, red, turquoise and fluorescent yellow. It can be bought at many retailers or direct from Mammut: www.mammut.com