Last year, I explained why I think the Fjallraven Kebs are the best outdoor pants out there. This year, the Swedish company updated the design. Let’s take a look at the changes.
One of the handiest features on the old Kebs (pictured in brown) was the integrated elastic webbing that you could use to tighten the pants around your boots, then secure with buttons. Combined with the hidden lace hook, this replicates most of the function of a pair of gaiters, without having to carry those separately.
This year, that hidden lace hook moves in front of the elastic strap, better enabling it to tightly wrap around your boots. And instead of fastening to the outside of the cuff, the strap now passes all the way around the perimeter, buttoning to itself inside the sheath.
It’s just a neater solution that leaves less of the strap exposed where it might catch on something.
Two spreaders on either side of the fly and one on the rear of the new Kebs (pictured in blue) create secure attachment points for suspenders, if for some reason those are your thing.
The seams in the stretch material right behind your knees have disappeared. I’ve never experienced any chafing from or failure of this seam, but removing it is still a nice touch.
The old Kebs featured a broad panel behind the fly zipper, plus a hidden button for double fastening. I never used this, and the extra material had a propensity for getting folded back on itself, adding a little bulk in an awkward area. The new Kebs eliminate that unnecessary extra material and button.
The old Kebs have an extra strip of Fjallraven’s heavy duty woven G-1000 material across the bottom of the thigh pockets. The new ones eliminate this unnecessary addition. Inside, the pockets remain unaltered.
More Stretch Material
There is now less G-1000 around your thighs, and an inch or two more stretchy polyamide for greater freedom of movement. On the flip side, Fjall doubled-up on G-1000 on the lower legs, so the tough material now fully wraps your calf. I punctured that exact calf portion of stretchy stuff with crampons last winter, so this additional durability is welcome. The G-1000 panels on your butt are also an inch or two shorter.
Yep, Still the Best
All of these changes add up to some serious optimization. The new Kebs are lighter, more durable, and have better freedom of movement. They’re still the flattering, all-day comfortable pants that are just right for virtually any activity, in virtually any weather conditions. I've worn the pictured brown pair near daily for over a year, for everything from ice climbing and snow shoeing to fording waist-deep rivers on summer backpacking trips. And aside from that one pinhole puncture (and the fact that handling them on a wet porch next to the new pair revealed that I need to rewax them), they’re still as good as new.
I didn’t need a new pair, but it is nice having a set of my favorite pants in a different color—with some clever upgrades.