The weather can be tricky in many parts of the world. At this time of the year, mornings can start with near-freezing temperatures and strong winds, but by mid-day, conditions are quite comfortable. At times like this, the 5.11 Tactical Lined Packable Jacket comes in to save the day. It will shield you from those cold winds, but when they’ve died down, you can pack it away in a small, easy-to-stow package.
Who Is 5.11 Tactical?
The company 5.11 Tactical started out as just 5.11, when a climber noticed that his pants didn’t hold up after climbing in Yosemite in 1968. He began to develop a new pair of pants that would hold up to the rigors of an active lifestyle. In 1992, the FBI training academy took notice and adopted the original 5.11 pant as its official training pant. This began a decades-long partnership that focused on dependable clothing for the public safety and first-responder community. In 2003, 5.11 was spun off from its parent company, and 5.11 Tactical was born. Some consider this to be the very first tactical apparel brand.
The Tactical Lined Packable Jacket is made of durable, wind-resistant nylon with an interior fleece lining. There were some concerns that the full front zipper and the elastic cuffs on the sleeves might not be able to stand up to rigorous testing. However, after forcefully shoving an arm through the sleeve multiple times, there was no indication that the elastic might be ready to pop. The elastic cuffs held up well during similar treatment, and the zipper also didn’t show any signs of weakness, which was a bit surprising, because the zippers look a little cheap.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The 5.11 Tactical Lined Packable Jacket is not feature-packed, which is totally fine. This jacket is designed to be an EDC item that is always ready at a moment’s notice. The right breast Ready Pocket, as 5.11 calls it, is just the right size for a smartphone and a convenient location to store an ID badge that needs to be easily accessible. The velcro closure chosen for this pocket, however, is a poor choice, as velcro does not last nearly as long as a zipper does. So, if you end up using this jacket frequently, you’ll be down a pocket once the velcro wears out.
The two microphone loops, one on either shoulder, are perfectly located to allow the wearer to slightly decline his or her head and give out clear communication while keeping the eyes up. The stitching, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. They seem to be one snagged mic cord away from being torn off.
The fleece lining is wonderful! It provides excellent warmth, even when temperatures dip down to near freezing. As for the wind, it has nothing on this jacket! The last, but certainly not the least, feature, of course, is the fact that the jacket packs into the left pocket. It stows into an 8.5 inch by 10-inch rectangle that sits around 2.5 inches thick (this is for the large size, and results may vary depending on size). This is an easily manageable package that could be stowed in a bag, under a seat, or maybe even in a glovebox.
The jacket’s large size was true to fit. The sleeves are a great length, although they are a bit baggy. However, this isn’t a problem at all. The rest of the jacket fits well. For me, at 5’9” and 190 pounds, I could have worn a vest in addition to the jacket, if I had wanted to.
The biggest detractor of the jacket is that it is described as being water-resistant. This is not the same as water-proof. Nylon has some natural water-resistant abilities, but don’t expect the jacket to keep you dry.
Who Needs This?
Anyone who lives in a constantly changing climate or just likes good gear will enjoy this jacket. Seriously, this thing is great and will likely stick around forever. If cold weather doesn’t typically bother you until the wind starts kicking up, this is the jacket for you. It is easily stored, but it is ready for action in mere moments.
At a list price of $49.99, the jacket is in the lower price range, compared to other packable jackets. The lack of listed water resistance leaves concerns for those unexpected rains, but warmth and wind resistance make up for that.
Overall, great wind resistance and warmth from the fleece garners the three stars. The features get it the other half a star. It is a nice everyday carry item that I will be leaving in my car for all the “I wish I had” moments that I find myself in.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.