I recently had a chance to review and evaluate the SÄRMÄ TST M05 RES Camo Jacket. This is the first part of a three part review. I will submit photos later in the year regarding wear and tear, and how well the camo blends into typical eastern U.S. woodland environments. For the purposes of this initial evaluation, function, construction, and comfort are evaluated.
Functionally, this jacket differs from a typically U.S. approach to a light field jacket. First, unlike the rest of the world, including Russia which now has its own ‘Multi-Camski’ this jacket is crafted using Finnish M05 camo. If you haven’t been paying attention, Finland, Sweden, and Norway tend to follow their own lead in the camo department. For their environments, it works quite well. When the foliage comes out later this year, I will take several shots of this camo in differing backgrounds to evaluate how well this performs in the eastern U.S.
The main exterior pocket zippers are exposed with no covering flaps. The zippers take a little getting used to, but they are excellent thus far. They each have long web tabs attached to the pull that is extremely useful if you’re wearing gloves. They also ‘lock’ almost completely closed with a little tug at the end of closing. Additionally these zippers are quiet compared to other zippers. The main zipper that seals the front of the jacket is similarly constructed, quiet, covered by an exterior flap, and conventional flaps seal the flap closed.
There are four main exterior pockets on the chest. The lower pockets have horizontal zips, the upper pockets have vertical zips. There is one covered zip pocket on each shoulder. Theses zippers are more conventional in design and not as quiet as the main pocket zips. The exterior chest pockets are roomy.
The material itself is soft, very comfortable, and again, quiet. You won’t unintentionally ‘whistle’ when you move in in. Considering the exploits of Finnish Ski Troops, especially during the Winter War, this is not a surprising feature of this jacket. It is perfect for late winter early spring in the U.S. with a fleece worn underneath. The jacket leaves plenty of room for layers underneath. It is ‘light rain and snow’ waterproof. I haven’t had it out in anything heavier, but it seems as if the fabric would take nicely to spray on or wash-in waterproofing.
The cuffs offer a generous amount of wide Velcro which is vital if you have to deal with snow. Instead of small narrow tab or strip, the Velcro on the cuffs allows you to effectively, not just optimistically seal the jacket sleeves.
The interior elastic waist is approached differently than many U.S. and NATO models. Instead of a narrow cord with a pull or stop, the waist has about a one inch wide strip of elastic belt securable on each side by buttons. Again, this is nice to have in cold or windy weather. The belt stays where you put it. The lower hem of the jacket is sealed with a more conventional elastic cord with a stop. However, the cord is thoughtfully secured inside the jacket so it doesn’t flop around, and it makes it almost impossible to lose the stop attached to the cord.
There are three exterior Velcro patches, presumably for a nametape, rank, and unit insignia. You can naturally apply your cocky morale patches as you see fit.
Overall, I am quite impressed initially. This jacket is comfortable, functional, and well-constructed.. The zips take a bit of getting used to, but when I did, I began to wonder why everybody doesn’t use them. The pockets can accommodate most practical items. Although I haven’t seriously tried to evaluate the effectiveness of the camo, the base colors are excellent, and I anticipate it will provide better concealment in my environment that the more popular Multi-Cam and variants.
It’s perfectly comfortable without any lining in warmer weather, but the roominess leaves plenty of space for layers as previously noted. The elastic waist belt, Velcro sleeve cuffs and elastic hem seal do a good job keeping out rain and wind. The salient feature outside the soundness of design and construction is that the material is soft, it seems to be quite rugged (I’ll put that to the test soon) and it’s very quiet.
The price is reasonable at $92.99. It can be purchased at www.Varusteleka.com Varusteleka offers inexpensive shipping from Finland, excellent customer service, and their scroungers always seem to find things you didn’t know you needed until you saw them.
Please return later in the year for durability and function updates, including an informal evaluation of the camo pattern in different environments.
- Roomy, generous cut.
- Full length front zipper with press stud flap.
- Fold up collar for protection against wind.
- Hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs.
- Elastic cord adjustable waist and hem.
- Two hem pockets, two chest pockets and two sleeve pockets.
- Loop for name, rank and sleeve insignia.
- Fabric: 50/50 CO/PES.
- All materials are NIR compliant.
“M05 RES is an official Finnish Defence Forces inspection and approval system for commercially produced military clothing. A garment that is M05 RES approved is officially approved for use in military military exercises and other fun activities that the FDF organizes.
The M05 RES system is a small step in the right direction and a huge change in the general attitude of the Finnish military complex. Whereas ten years ago a simple non-issue dump pouch could get you in trouble we now have the possibility to create commercial clothing that can be officially approved for use. For us Finns this is a very, very welcome change and a good beginning to build on!”
The first number (6—9) of the three-digit size means length and the next two (44—60) stand for width in the European standard men’s sizing. This is the official FDF standard.
The jackets have a loose cut to fit layers of clothing underneath and offer unrestricted movement. For a tighter fit you may consider sizing down, but in any case the elastic waist adjustment is meant to be used: start with at least two open holes visible on both sides.
The fabric will shrink in the first wash, this is accounted for in the cut. If you served in the Finnish army and these new clothes seem a bit larger than the issued ones, this is the reason.
Fabric: 50/50 polyester/cotton, 275 g/m2. This is the exact same material used in the latest production runs of the official issue uniforms. Naturally the camo print is totally NIR compliant, so you don´t need to fear looking all lit-up when viewed through NVDs.
To make sure the fabric does not lose it´s NIR compliant properties we recommend careful wash using only detergents that are free of optical brighteners, basically the more natural you get the better.
Särmä TST is Varusteleka’s own in-house brand of clothing and gear designed for military and law enforcement end users. Our clothing and equipment are made in co-operation with a number of experienced manufacturers with a strong background in producing clothing and gear for military and law enforcement officials, most notably for the Finnish Defence Forces. For further reading check out the Särmä TST corner of our website.
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