The fleece has been the main garment of choice to help stay warm whilst in the chilly outdoors. Although not meant to be an outer wear garment due to not being commonly known for being waterproof, a fleece can sometimes be worn as a coat instead of being worn under a coat.
The Patriot Fleece is technically a jacket and a heavy fleece. Designed to be the outer most layer to cover the body, this fleece has been developed to protect the body from the cold and wet elements as a single layer. One could say that this fleece is an all in one solution to a fleece for all seasons.
The Patriot Fleece is made of 100% Polyester and weighs 1.1 kg unladen. The fleece has 6 pockets with high insulation inserts and an adjustable hood. The fleece is adjustable based on size for the collar, cuffs and bottom of the fleece.
Starting from the hood of the fleece, made of the same material as the rest of the fleece. The hood encapsulates the entire head with a front cap to avoid any rainwater from falling on the face whilst being worn. The hood keeps the head warm and has the ability to keep the wearer dry from heavy rain, however it does retain water on the outside of the hood, adding weight.
The opening of the hood is elastic adjustable with the use of fasteners on either side of the front neck. This makes the hood adjustable to any head size the user may have and keeps the wearer snug due to the range of adjustments available. Be aware that it is not necessary to adjust the neckline of the fleece for a good fit of the hood, however it does help if you want the hood to fit snugly around the head when worn.
The main zipper is a two way YKK zipper which extends to an added wind flap and chin guard. The chin guard allows for the hood to close around the face even further during much harsher weather situations. The two way zipper allows for the fleece to be zipped in either location and air the fleece in many different ways without fully opening it.
The hood of the fleece is knitted to naturally fold behind the head of the user without leaving a bulky profile around the fleece like many other hoods do. This keeps the profile of the fleece slim without creating bulk where the user isn’t using the hood.
The overall fleece is very comfortable albeit quite thick which can lead to creating bulk if worn underneath a larger coat and/or other equipment such as a chest rig or plate carrier. In these instances it seems best to wear this equipment under the fleece with both zippers attached at the top.
Both shoulders of the fleece contain a Velcro patching for identification and a zipped pocket for documents and loose items. The pockets are small enough to be streamlined with the arms but large enough to store documents as large as a passport or folded map.
Underneath the armpits, there are ventilation zippers which lead into the fleece for airing of the fleece without having the prior need to take the garment off. This also allows for access to other items underneath the fleece such as chest rig pouches and/or shoulder holsters.
The main pockets on the chest area of the fleece are large and lined with a smooth lining that keeps the pockets slim when not laden with items. There are two small lined insert pockets with wiring eyelet and d-ring in each of the main pockets.
Only available on the right arm, the wrist contains another small zipped pocket which allows for small devices and documents to be stored within quick reach of the left hand. Leading back up the arm, the elbows are also reinforced against resting on hard surfaces and harsh elements.
Both wrists also contain adjustable cuffs with the use of a velcro fastener, allowing for the user to keep their sleeves contained from any heat from inside the fleece from escaping. The cuffs are also a secure way of keeping gloves secured on the hand in harsh environments.
The back of the fleece houses a back channel pocket with zipper access on either side. The pocket is lined with the same material as the main pockets which keep it slim when no items are inside. The lining of the bottom of the fleece are also elastically adjustable using fasteners found at the hips.
Overall the fleece is very robust and capable of keeping the wearer warm for a prolonged period of time. With ample placement of pockets and compartments, it’s understandable that the fleece was designed without internal pockets to remove the unnecessary need to unzip the fleece and lose the contained warmth.
The fleece is very suitable for most weathers and can be kept on the person without having to store when the weather gets warmer. There is issue were water is involved, although the fleece can keep the wearer dry in the heaviest of storms. The fleece’s outer skin is very absorbent of water and can retain almost double it’s own weight in rain water which causes the weight of the fleece to exceed 2 kg. This is only an issue if the fleece does not get time to dry and evaporate the water it contains.
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