Helikon Tex Patriot Jacket, the fleece from Helikon that sits at the top of the range when it comes to outdoor fleece jackets but is it worth it?
Taking a look at the Helikon Tex Patriot tactical fleece jacket, at 380g/m2 it’s a heavyweight fleece so yeah, it keeps out the cold. I’ve been using mine now for a couple of months so here is my review and initial impressions of the Patriot.
Why I bought the Patriot
The existing North Face fleece I had as part of a four season coat set up just didn’t cut the mustard when it came to using it on it’s own, zipped inside the waterproof it was fine but out hiking on cold winter mornings required something a bit thicker and warmer. I’d been impressed with the Helikon Tex Pilgrim pants so decided to look at the brand’s other offerings. On paper, the Patriot ticked alot of of boxes.
The first thing you notice about the Patriot when you remove it from he packaging is the weight and thickness, it really is a substantial garment. One thing I did check straight away was for any quality issues like loose threads etc, there had been a review mentioning this but my copy was fine in this regard.
It’s a smart fleece, the overall ‘tactical’ design has changed very little over the years and you can find cheaper fleece jackets that look identical but when it comes to quality you get what you pay for.
The first time I wore this fleece was to take out the dog, the sun came out on the way back and the fleece came off – it is crazy warm. You don’t have to wear much underneath, at near freezing a t-shirt is all I wear underneath the Patriot is that is all that is required, the fit is also loose enough to allow more layers if needed.
Patriot Heavy Fleece Jacket is the most advanced of our fleece jackets offer. It is designed for tactical use in extreme weather.– Helikon Tex
The hood is a welcome feature and has the added benefit of a built in peak, the hood will also close in around your face using drawstrings and the zip, which closes right up to the top won’t catch your beard as it fits under a ‘flap, a small but very good feature.
One of the main reasons I bought the Helikon Tex Patriot jacket was for hiking, yeah it’s a tactical fleece but good for hiking too and here’s why:
The front pockets sit at chest height, they are higher than the usual positioning of pockets on a fleece but there is reasoning behind this and it is to allow access to the pockets while wearing a backpack that has a waistbelt. If you have a waistbelt and a fleece with lower pockets you will know that the waistbelt makes it awkward to access them, higher pockets solve the problem so for hiking the Patriot is well thought out.
One other feature hikers will welcome are the zips underneath each armpit, the zips are very large and allow ample ventilation when you feel yourself starting to get too warm or simply want a bit of fresh air to cool off for a bit.
Numerous pockets on this fleece make it handy for hiking too, there are pockets on the front, upper and lower arms and the rear. Small pockets on the arms are ideal for stashing light mini items such as compass, passes, notes etc.
- Extremely high insulation
- Integrated, adjustable hood
- Velcro panels on upper sleeve pockets for personalization
- Armpit ventilation zippers
- Zippered upper sleeve pockets
- Back channel pocket, zippered from either side
- Outer chest pockets with wiring eyelets, D-Rings and device slots
- Left lower sleeve zippered pocket
- Profiled elbow reinforcements
- Velcro-adjustable cuffs
- Elastic drawstring bottom adjustment
The more I wear the Patriot the more I like it, it’s a seriously warm, heavy duty fleece and perfect for the winter. Like many of the Helikon Tex range it is aimed at tactical pursuits, buschcrafting and general outdoor use making it a great all rounder which includes hiking.
Features like the protected elbows, numerous pockets and general thickness make this fleece feel like more of a jacket than simply a fleece, you know you have it on when you wear it and you know it’s keeping you warm too with the added benefit of not having to use as many base layers and the ability to cool off without removal, it’s a great piece of gear.
Would I recommend this fleece? Yes, without a doubt. I did a lot of research before buying the Patriot and there was only one negative I could find and that was after months of use the hook and loop on the wrists became an issue as they lost their ‘grip’, a common trait of hook and loop/velcro.
Other than that it’s all positive. Great piece of clothing.