There are loads of soft shells made by Helikon-tex (like the awesome Trooper we’ve reviewed), so deciding what to buy isn’t easy. A few months ago we’ve received the Jackal softshell from Predathor. It’s been through a lot, so it’s time for a review!
DESIGN AND QUALITY
We’ll start with describing what was used to protect us from wind, rain, humidity and other things that want to make us cold.
On the outside there’s a SoftShell fabric coated with DuPont teflon, which protects us from water (it doesn’t absorb the water- it’s formed into small drops that just fall off!) and dirt. Of course it works just to a certain degree, it’s no membrane. The fabric used is a characteristic shark skin- it’s elastic so the jacket works with the body. Also, inside the collar, back and sleeves are lined with fleece, so that’s some more insulation, plus in some places there is a mesh with inside pockets.
There are some more deatils worth mentioning:
-There is a mesh on the inside of the chest.
-There also is a thermal bar on the zipper.
The jacket isn’t too long (the tested one is size L)- in my case it ends where my butt starts (i’m around 185cm)- it’s caused by the QSA system, but more on that later.
Now let’s talk pockets- they’re closed with YKK zippers and there are 9 of them:
-2 sleeve pockets;
-1 on the left of the chest;
-2 pockets on the belly;
-2 inside pockets on the chest;
-2 inside pockets on the belly.
All of that means that the jacket is very capable, and thanks to the palcement of the pockets you can comfortably carry all the stuff you need. I especially liked the belly and sleeve pockets because their capacity allowed me to comfortably carry everything i needed. That’s why i love it. On all zippers there are little grips made out of hard rubber with a company logo on them to make opening the pockets easier which is good, but they weren’t used on the inside pockets. Why? I think because that could be uncomfortable, which is a good reason. After some intense use there are no signs of wear which is a big plus.
The collar isn’t too tall. It cover up back of your neck and gives some extra comfort in bad weather.
All right, there are lots of good things about it, but life can’t be too good- there is no Velcro on the shoulders, which means no patches. Bad. Of course it’s because Jackal is supposed to be low-profile.
But let’s get to the most important feature of Jackal- what makes it stand out? The QSA (Quick Side Access) system. What kind of sorcery is this?! Well- on the bottom of the jackets there are two (one on each side) cutouts closed with zippers and secured woth WooJinn buckles and bars with Velcro.
Thanks to the QSA system we have easier access to our sidearm on the belt which means no more tactical drills to get your jacket out of the way. you could call it “a typical jacket for uniformed services”. I really liked the system. Unfortunately WooJinn buckles can sometimes unbuckle by themselves, but it’s not really visible because they’re completely covered.
I’ve had no problems with quality- it’s really well made (no threads sticking out or bad seams). There were some sticking out threads on the inside, but who cares? Unfortunately the fabric can get pilled, mostly on the inside.
USAGE (PERSONAL OPINION)
I’ve worn it through the entire fall and i always was comfortalbe in terms of temperature, because it’s not a typical wind-resistant jacket thanks to the additional layer on the inside (fleece and the mesh make a bit of difference).
Of course when temperature dropped (to about 5 deegrees Celcius) i had to wear something more under it. For Airsofting a Thermoactive T-shirt, 100 fleece and Jackal were just fine- i was perfectly “insulated” and didn’t feel cold wind or rain.
I can easily recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like to wear a lot of layers- it does a great job of protecting you from bad weather. The price is also great – around 40 euro which is great compared to 65 for the Trooper. It’s availale in Foliage (the tested one), jungle green, olive green, black and of course coyote brown.
Jackal is a well prices low-profile soft shell’ more for an urban environment (no hood).
+ QSA system,
+ 9 pockets,
– QSA buckles can unbuckle by themselves,
– no Velcro on the shoulder or hood (due to the designation of the jacket).