Finally the Autumn came and it’s time to stock up on some jacket. At first we were going to choose Gore-Tex but eventually we chose soft shell manufactured by Helikon – Trooper. Due to the versatility of the color I decided to choose the olive. There are others colors available including: black, foliage/alpha green (grey) and CB, WZ93, CamoGrom and MPCamo (MTP) . The cost of a jacket is about 70€ which isn’t a low price, but in my opinion, it’s worth its’ price.
Trooper is quite fitting to the body, and therefore, it is necessary to be careful with the size – for example my chest measurement is 108 cm and I’ve been always using the M size, but this time I had to choose L size. The Trooper’s L size is the same as the Patriot’s fleece sweatshirt size M. I advise to try it on in the shop before you buy it. The jacket is slightly shorter than the Patriot, but it covers the back and the kidneys quite well. Essentially this makes it easy to adjust the waist, the same way as in the fleece – welts on both sides. But it is not long enough to firmly “collect” when using the belt to carry exposed weapons and pouches with magazines.
After some time of using , appeared one of regulation defects (at least for me ). Namely, in order to obtain a high pressure body (fit), the way that cold air wouldn’t get underneath, you have to pull the welts quite hard, which contributes to the fact that they will stick out about two times more than in the Patriot. Yes, you can hide them under the material, but when you wear thick gloves there is poor access to them. Loops from then welts are so large that they hook when you want to reach into the thigh pocket of trousers, “kidney”, or simply hooks twigs.
The jacket has an almost identical style as polar Patriot, beside the hood that you can hide in the collar – so we have 7 pockets (6 with zippers):
– 2 at the chest, this time both have the headphone output and an internal pocket for phone / CSF / MP3 player (can be used as additional ventilators) – each fits a 0,5 l beer bottle,
– 2 on the shoulders under the velcro (with output for headphones),
– 1 on the left forearm,
– 1 on the lower back,
– 1 inside the left side, with velcro (hit of the season, finally inner pocket!).
Trooper is made of the following materials: 98% Nylon / 2 % Spandex (APCU 98% nylon, 2% spandex). There is no special difference between APCU when it comes to touch, but maybe the APCU is slightly more stretchy. Additionally the material is coated with substance that resists water on a surface, of course for a limited period of time (DWR).
Under the armpits, we have a standard ventilation zippers, on the shoulders soft velcro for patches, and on the elbows jacket has an additional layer of material. Some detail:
This time, instead of the tapes by the zipper, we get paracord – only with breast pockets and the main zipper, there is a thin strap finished with a “piece” of plastic with the logo of Helikon. Personally, I would prefer a paracord, but that’s whining… Cuffs are adjustable with the velcro, the current piece of rubber is replaced by another material. This hurts a little considering that the jacket considering black cuffs on green jackets background, but what you can do…
Additionally they have elastic welts on cuffs, which is very convenient if you have a long gloves. Velcro tend to releasing and hold worse than “rubber” from the Patriot. We can hide the hood in high collar which is fastened on … 2 way zipper. Why the 2 way zipper? I have no idea, but never mind – The jacket is a lot more comfortable when you wear it with the hood drawn. A hood itself is quite stiff, does not fall on the eyes, and it can be stabilized by attaching it to the internal turnips on the neck.
Only his “advertised” method of adjustment is backbreaking – we find welts inside breast pocket. For a person wearing gloves it is not the most convenient solution. There is no need to worry though – we have access to 2 welts from outside, plus additional regulation at the center of the hood.
Now back to the collar – due to the fact that it is quite narrow wearing thicker scarf, causing some discomfort. After removing the hood this problem no longer exists, but with the Patriot I also had this problem. The collar is very high and reaches over his chin, while not cut hair, or skin, the castle is covered flap. The best solution would be simply wearing face veil.
I confronted the jacket’s color with different materials – on the main image we can see olive M65 Helicon trousers. Continuing the comparison:
You can say that Troopers olive is more gray than green, but somehow it doesn’t look so bad.
USAGE (PERSONAL OPINION)
Soft shell should protect from wind, less from the cold (or at least not like gore-tex), should have a very high permeability (greater than gore) and provide protection against light rain (but not at the cost of breathability, so protects much less than gore). And be light. Trooper is light, you almost can’t feel it, that is a huge advantage.
On the day when I bought the Trooper it was snowing, raining and it was windy. The next day it was raining. And the day after, it was raining like hell. Overall, the weather was perfect for testing this jacket. The most important test proved to be quite intensive marching in heavy rainfall, at about 2 degrees and a slight breeze. SFU made out of twill soaked wet but the jacket didn’t let the water. During the test, I noticed that the water liquefied , without delving too much into the material but the material on the stomach caught water. While riding a train I checked the fleece. It was dry and the outside material of the jacket, when squeezed between the fingers, left the moisture on fingers. But we have to remember that this is a soft shell, not a membrane … The fact that I was marching pretty quickly, and only slightly heated up under the jacket is also Important (fleece 200GM and summer thermo T-shirt) but I didn’t sweat. “Cloth” gives absolute protection against wind and gives good protection against the cold, when the temperature is not under 0 all you need underneath is thermo T-shirt that is designed for chilly weather and a fleece 100GM.
The disadvantage is the rustling of the material, perhaps when used longer, it will be better. New rustles intensively, but also the noise is not so frustrating.
Of course, when used repellent to “uses up” and jacket don’t protect against the rain so well. Besides, let’s face it – soft shell is designed ONLY for light rain, it is not a rain jacket. Only a light, casual rain or longer drizzle.
Trooper turned out to brilliant jacket when we go to the mountains – light, handy, no problem, you can wrap it around the waist or around the backpack and in a few moments to dress it up / take off. It protects against the wind, on warm days it is sensational, because you can take it off and dry, while not getting cold.
This is probably one of the coolest jackets in the category of touristic.
Use with tactical vests
SCARAB as integrated vest that covers a large area of the body, so the moisture draining too. I tested the Trooper with SCARAB so far in -2 degrees for 12h (underneath winter thermal shirt and fleece 200g from Decathlon), although the dynamics of use was rather average (there wasn’t too much running) Nevertheless, after removing the vest, jacket was dry. During use, it was pleasantly warm I got cooler only then standing in one place for a longer period of time. The vest only partially hindered access to the breast pocket. If u want to take out/put in for example the batteries there is no bigger difficulties.
Much better is when we use the plate and chest carriers that provide much better access to the pockets, and of course, increase air circulation that consequently reduces perspiration.
The temperature of -3 degrees, sometimes a strong cold wind, and underneath the Trooper I had only winter thermal shirt. The running session was great, even the wind wasn’t annoying at all, and after a 5km of running the jacket was slightly moist on the back and a little more in the armpits, but not enough that wind was annoying. Part of the steam gathered under the jacket, they were microdroplets. However, the jacket was not really wet anywhere. The jacket is also excellent for riding a bike, because it is an ideal membrane for wind. However you can use a pair of PCU pants. Trooper is versatile and is suitable for running both the in autumn chills, light rains and winter (with fleece), because then provides large breathability, much higher than the gore-tec.
Trooper is fucking great versatile blouse/jacket and is a product of Helikon, which I am most happy and I do not regret one bit of purchase. Yes, the original soft shell lvl 5 is more resistant to rain and has even better breathability, but with the price of Trooper u must take it and not complain. At this moment Trooper is probably the most effective and cheapest soft shell on the market both military and touristic.
– Prevents from small-medium rain (but not the storm) to 30 minutes (as it drizzles – all day, because it dries pretty quickly)
– High breathability, dry back even with intense
– Proven Patriot cut, many well laid out pocket (TAD Gear anyone?)
– Price compared to most other soft shells
– Stacks up in temperatures +15 to -10 (of course, depending on rainfall)
– Suitable for recreational jogging
– Works well with tactical vest
– Belt adjusting loops are too long
– I’ll complain about velcros on cuffs 😛
– The collar is a bit too narrow
– Olive is … gray
– Loses heat faster than gore-tex, which we can feel particular while standing still in one place
– Not suitable for intense and prolonged rainfall
– Suitable for more intensive efforts only, in the case of slow walking, etc. much better to choose hard shell
Trooper is in my opinion the most versatile, year-round jacket. Yes, for frosty weather it’s not enough, he does not heat, but in the situation when T-shirt is not enough (warm days, cool nights), polar (the wind “breaks up”, it gets colder), or just a light rain falling – it is ideal then. First of all, it is lightweight and handy, it is not a problem to put it in your cargo pocket in your pants or in your bag. It fits in a 200rd SAW pouch. However, the biggest advantage is the full protection of the body against the wind, which even with a light fleece makes you nice warm and cosy.