The Packable Operator Jacket has been riding in my Jeep for the last couple months, tucked behind a roll bar behind the driver’s seat. I pulled it out on more than a couple occasions when the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped. It easily fit over my Spotter Up Gunfighter Hoody and kept me warm. I tried it out the few times it rained and wasn’t in the 40s or colder. The water would bead up for the first 30 minutes or so in the heavy rain and much longer in lighter rain. After that, it would start to slowly seep through across the shoulders. Keep in mind this jacket is only water resistant (Passes the AATCC35 rain test), which means it is a coated polyester microfiber fabric and not water proof. It was comfortable to wear, while moving around the range or training venues coaching students.
I live and work in the Mid-Atlantic region of the east coast, where the weather reports seem to either never be accurate or change every hour. Having a light weight, packable jacket that can be shoved into a pocket or the water bottle sleeve of a backpack is more than a luxury. The Packable Operator Jacket folds down into its own compact pouch (lower left pocket) and can compress down to the size of a sport drink using a couple of rubber bands. In fact, the pouch has a loop on one of the corners that you could attach it to anything using a small carabiner, living up to the 5.11 motto “Always be Ready”.
This jacket is definitely designed with the uniformed officer in mind. It has several features that make it stand out as a duty style jacket. It has radio mic loops on both shoulders and side zippers that aid in the ease of access to holsters, whether concealed or on a duty belt. The bottom of the side zippers has Velcro® closure for rapid access to items under your jacket and a secondary strap that snaps over the zipper to secure it. Other features include a full front zip and lower front pockets with zipper closures. The lower front pockets create top loading interior pockets big enough to hold a small tablet or binoculars.
This jacket should conform to the uniform policy for many first responders coming in black, dark navy and sheriff green with only a 1” 5.11 logo on the left pocket. The hood completely stows in the collar, leaving a clean look when not in use. I ordered the jacket in a large, based on chest size and still have plenty of room to fit armor or a fleece pullover under it with comfort. The cuffs are elastic, keeping them in place while moving around and the hood has elastic draw cords and attached cordlocs to keep it in place during windy conditions. The Ready Pocket™ on the left chest, is big enough to stow a phone or note pad, with an interior shape that keeps the items from falling out and secures with Velcro®.
My final thoughts are this is a light weight jacket that will get you through your shift during rapidly changing weather. It will keep you dry during a traffic stop or a field interview, but not an entire shift directing traffic in the rain. If you need a rain jacket, buy a rain jacket. The Packable Operator Jacket retails for $59.99 and comes in three colors: Black, Dark Navy and Sheriff Green.
By the numbers:
Comfort – 4/5 Light weight and plenty of room to be active without being oversized. It blocks the wind and retains body heat while stopping light rain keeping the body comfortable.
Durability – 4/5 This is an extremely light weight (thin polyester) jacket that wasn’t designed to take much abuse. It was designed to block the wind and defeat a light rain until you can get out of the elements or grab your outer-shell. All the zippers are YKK® hardware.
Functionality – 3/5 I expected more out of the water-resistant claim, but it does block the wind and packs away very small.
Weight – 5/5 Extremely light weight, heaviest part is the zippers.
Value – 3/5 I have bought off brand rain coats that are a little heavier, but stop the rain and can pack down almost as small for less than half the price. I was expecting a little more protection for the 5.11 name and price.
Overall rating: 3.8/5 For the price, I was hoping for better performance against rain, but it can pack away and be ready when you need it.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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