We here at Spotter Up are big fans of 5.11 Tactical– just do a search for “5.11” on our website and you will see a growing list of positive reviews from happy writers. I personally wear their defender flex pants almost everyday in almost every situation, and a trip to the local 5.11 brick and mortar store is always a good time. I recently visited the 5.11 shop looking for outerwear to use in the darker months, and I came across the Aurora Shell Jacket, which fit my stocky frame perfectly in Medium (5’8″, 190lbs).
Features from the 5.11 website:
- 15K/15K Waterproof and Breathable
- Fully seam sealed
- Articulated sleeves and shoulders
- Armpit zippers for venting
- Left chest zipper pocket with internal media ports for cord management
- Hand zip pockets with internal RapiDraw™ pass through access
- Adjustable hem with shock cord system
- Adjustable hood
- Regular Fit
- 2.5L 100% Nylon Plain Weave Face with Coffee Print Backer, DWR
I received this jacket just in time for rainy season here (which is really just a continuation of the rainiest year I can remember). I have had a reason to have this jacket with me constantly and have worn it in warm, cold, dry and wet conditions. It works well as a wind-shell especially when combined with a quality insulating mid layer, and its breathable and has pit vents for when its a little warmer and you want to stay dry. The waterproofing is good for light rain and will repel water nicely to a certain point, but if its really down pouring and you expect to spend a lot of time in the rain, you may want to treat it with a hydrophobic product. Check the short video below of some of my testing which included of course plenty of range time.
I really like the aesthetic and fit of this jacket. Its the only piece of clothing I have with Velcro on it, but i don’t think its screams tactical, even though it totally is. Its got all the things you want from a nice rain shell, including pit zips, sealed zippers, a chest pocket with pass through for headphone cables, pull strings in the hand pockets for the hem, drawstrings and a cinch strap on the hood, which is over-sized and has a nice visor. I could easily fit the hood over my ear pro, so I expect a fully kitted helmet would probably fit under it as well though i didn’t test that.
The most tactical aspect of the design is the RapiDraw™ inner pocket zipper, which is a feature 5.11 designs into a lot of their shirts and jackets. The purpose is to allow quick access to your waistband, in most cases to access a concealed firearm. Now I like this feature, and you aren’t losing anything by having it. However I’m not sure if I would ever actually use it myself in a self defense situation. I’m not an expert, but I played with it a bit which you can see in the video above. While wearing this jacket, a quick draw isn’t easy due to the fit of the jacket and how long it is, which is what I want out of a rain jacket personally. I think that the pass through access could be useful in certain circumstances, but it depends on the size and configuration of the gun, how many layers you are wearing and if you train to use this method of draw. Watch the video and form your own conclusions on this.
Overall I really like this jacket, it has been my go to shell since I received it, and its very packable. The Aurora and a packable insulated layer are always in reach, and have kept me pretty comfortable all winter so far in the mid-atlantic region of the east coast.
You can snag the Aurora from 5.11s website for $150 in four different colors and sizes from XS to 3XL
Comfort (if applicable): 5
Overall Rating: 24/25
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