Kryptek Women’s Line Review
By Andrea Bertrand, Guest Contributor
I must say I was very excited to be able to test out the new women’s line Kryptek released in 2017. My husband is a DIY back country hunter and we spend a lot of time getting in mountain shape, shed hunting in the off-season, and of course hunting. I believe there has always been a need for women’s high-end hunting clothing, but most companies have long since only focused on menswear instead. This is mostly I think because women’s hunting has just started to really take off in popularity and there is a need for clothing that is made just for women. In the past, I have either worn youth or men’s high end clothing for the back country. Wearing youth clothing has always been too short for comfort and men’s has been too big for comfort. But I have always made it work because I wanted the same durable and functional clothing items my husband wears.
The best part about Kryptek’s women’s line is that they use the same high-end, tried and tested materials. I was given the opportunity to test out three of the new options they have available in the women’s line. The Women’s Valhalla Long Sleeved Zip Shirt, The Women’s Valhalla Pant, and The Women’s Dalibor II Jacket all in the wildly popular Highlander pattern.
Kryptek says the Women’s Valhalla Long Sleeve Zip Shirt is simple, functional and perfect for the minimalist outdoors women. Built from lightweight and breathable synthetics that give you the flexibility you need for spring, summer, and early fall conditions. It’s body is constructed of 94% polyester and 6% spandex, and the sleeves are 88% polyester and 12% spandex. It features a 1/4 zip neck, zip bicep arm pockets, velcro bicep areas for patches (one on each side), a sewn right upper back Kryptek logo, and a sewn front left chest Kryptek logo. This piece retails for $99.99.
To offer the zip up neck with collar was a great option, I believe. It functioned well during chilly early morning hikes zipped up but also kept me cool once the day got warmer. The zipper seemed a bit longer than I am normally used to in shirts that offer the 1/4 zipper chest. This was a positive thing for me because you can get excruciatingly hot during the mid-day while hiking. This gave me more area to unzip which made it easier to cool off quickly.
I was a bit skeptical at first hiking in a 100% synthetic shirt for the entire day in the heat. I usually wear merino wool shirts because of their ability to keep you warm or cool depending on the weather and also dry off very quickly once they become wet. This shirt surprisingly performed almost exactly as the merino wool shirts I am used too. I never overheated in this and it seemed to dry off quickly once I became sweaty. It also seemed a bit longer than some of the shirts I have previously hiked in. This is a huge plus because it sucks bending over and having your shirt come untucked and then having to remove your pack and all your gear to be able to tuck you shirt back in correctly.
I mentioned above that this shirt has velcro patch areas on each bicep area near the zip up pockets. For me having one on each side was a bit overkill. These do not help the function of the shirt, so I am guessing they are mostly for show. I did think it was kind of cool though that you have the option to wear the Kryptek patch that it comes with, or remove it and put your own patch on if you wanted to.
The side bicep pockets were a very good thought as well. When you are hiking or hunting, every little pocket helps. I never really used these though because I forgot about them every time I wore the shirt. Or I would have my jacket on and would not have access to them. I think it would be a good area though to carry your license or even a smaller phone if need be.
For me the only really negative thing about the shirt that continued to be a problem was that the bottom cuffs on the sleeves seemed very tight. Even for my tiny wrists and hands it was difficult to put on and remove the shirt. I believe they are made so tight to keep the weather out but I felt like I had to put too much thought into putting it on and taking it off. I had to pay attention to make sure that I did not break the threading in the hem of the cuffs. Overall though I really liked this shirt. I would feel comfortable wearing it in all weather conditions because of its versatility.
The Women’s Valhalla Pant is made from the same synthetic material as the Valhalla shirt described above. The fabric content is the exact same as the sleeves in the Valhalla shirt—88%, polyester and 12% spandex. They have a button and zipper fly closure, belt loops, and a total of eight pockets. Two open-top, felt-lined front hand pockets, two open-top back pockets, two open-top side cargo style pockets, and two zip pockets on top of the side cargo pockets, one with a sewn Kryptek logo. This piece retails for $99.99.
My first thought on the fabric content being the same as the Valhalla shirt was very positive. I thought this was pretty awesome because the sleeves of a shirt and pants are very alike in the fact that they see so much range of motion and they need to be constructed with the right material to be comfortable while you are hiking. I also liked that the pants feature a felt-lined stretchy waistband. You feel comfortable when you sit down and they stretch with your body.
I think pockets are good thing when they are functional, and I would have to say all of these pockets were just that. The front hand pockets seemed a bit narrow to me, but make up for it by the depth they offer. My favorite overall out of all the pockets would have to be the open top side pockets. They are constructed to have a diagonal opening so that when you are sitting your pocket contents do not fall out.
Overall the Valhalla pants performed great. They dried very quickly when they became wet and kept me warm when it got a bit chilly during times when wind gusts picked up in the trees. I did not overheat when hiking or spending long periods of time in the heat either. I also really appreciated that when I would sit down, the inseam was still long enough to keep my pant legs over my boots, or keep tucked under my gators. For me this was great because almost all my other pants seem to ride up very quickly, and this becomes annoying when it is cold.
These pants fit the bill for me. Honestly these remind me of very thick yoga pants. They give everywhere they need to with your body, are so comfy, and still seem very stylish and breathable. I could see myself wearing these out and about around town, or even just to lounge around in at home. I would love to see these pants sold in solid colors and maybe other prints other than the basic Highlander pattern.
The Women’s Dalibor II Soft-shell Jacket boasts that its versatile, practical, and lightweight synthetic construction makes it one of the best active jacket offerings. It is designed to be layered accordingly to the temperature and your exertion level. It is exceptionally durable and is ideal for mild-to-cool conditions and was field tested for over two years in the Alaskan wilderness. It is 87% polyester and 13% spandex. This jacket is water resistant, features a cinchable bottom hem to keep the weather out, as well as a cinchable optional fully attached hood to keep the weather out. It features six pockets in all. Two large zippered side hand pockets, two large zippered upper chest pockets, and two upper bicep zippered pockets. They also have pit zippers to make sure you do not overheat while being active. Another thing to note is that each bicep pocket features the same velcro area for attaching patches as the Women’s Valhalla Long Sleeve Zip Shirt does. Lastly, the Dalibor has two large sewn Kryptek logos—one on upper front left chest and one on upper right back of jacket. This piece retails for $189.99.
My first impression of this jacket was very positive. My favorite feature is the option to be able to have a hooded jacket where I could also be able to use it as a high collared jacket zipped up all the way and still be warm without having to use the hood. Most jackets out there are either high collared without a hood that zip tightly near your neck to keep the wind out. Or have a hood, but make it nearly impossible to keep your neck warm without using the hood. It basically gives you the best of both worlds.
The Dalibor also performed well in every kind of precipitation that got thrown at it. I was worried once it became wet from either rain or falling snow I would be immediately freezing and have to throw on another jacket, but that was not the case in light on and off precipitation. Since it is not waterproof, only water resistant, it would still be a great idea to pack rain gear if you were going to be in precipitation for long periods of time. The cinchable options were great to have. I feel that even with the bottom cord being cinched, the jacket still felt flatteringly fitted and I did not look like a big marshmallow in my mid-section. Overall it performed very well. The only issue I had is it was very difficult to open the bicep pockets with one hand. These seemed like the stiffest pockets of all to try to unzip. So unless over time from working with the zipper they loosen up, I do not think they would have any use for me. Lastly, just like the Women’s Valhalla Long Sleeved Zip Shirt, the two velcro areas on top of the bicep pockets was a bit overkill for me. I like the idea of having one area with a patch option. Robby Denning reviewed the men’s Dalibor II Jacket last year.
To conclude my review on all three women’s pieces I would have to say overall they exceeded my expectations. Kryptek get an A+ on quality. All the zippers, except the two mentioned, were very smooth and stayed that way over time. You can tell Kryptek put a lot of thought into these products and care about what they sell.
I got a ton of use out of all three pieces during this year’s late winter and into early summer. At times I was hiking in nearly three feet of snow, while others in temps of the mid 70’s. I also spent time in the mountains and trees where wind chills really set in in the Northern Nevada mountains. Each piece seemed very heavy duty and packable to me. I would love to see each piece I reviewed come in other patterns and possibly solid colors for basic hiking needs.