The three items in the test are these:
ECWCS stands for Extended Cold Weather Clothing System
This item was supplied by www.military1st.co.uk who were very helpful and friendly. I have used them a few times now for getting Airsoft kit and each time they have addressed my needs fully. Usually they have all items in stock that are on their website. I did on this occasion find that the one of the items was out of stock in my size. No big deal as I had a different colour as a backup which they had in my size.
The item was well boxed with just the 3 items in it, they are their own padding/packaging so was pleased with how they were packed. I think that maybe a little more tape on the package to stop it coming open in transit would been better as at the corners it was splitting open.
The items were dispatched to the DPD home delivery network on the 19th June 2012 and I received them just before 11pm on 20th June 2012. This is a great service as no matter how many items you add to the basket, postage seems to be one flat rate.
First Impressions upon ordering:
Having originally wanted Multicam in the Helikon Waterproof Jacket, my second choice was the Digital Marpat Waterproof jacket. I had originally gone for Multicam to match a new load out I was going to do. But having already got Marpat normal trousers and a Vegetato vest which works well with Marpat I decided that a Marpat waterproof set would be more beneficial. With the Helikon ECWCS set you can get a matching set of over trousers. I got these and now I can go out onto the battlefield in the rain and not have to worry about getting soaked through.
The Mil-Tec jacket does not have a matching set of trousers but has the added benefit of a fleece inner liner which is removable. This adds the added benefit of using this off the battlefield in civilian life, whether round the shopping centre, out on a gentle ramble or dare i say it whilst hill walking/climbing.
First Impressions upon receiving items:
When I received the items the box was slightly battered but knowing that the items inside were soft I was half expecting that as unless the box was made of harder and heavier cardboard then it was always set to get a bit of abuse by any parcel company.
I was really surprised at how small a box it was for the 3 items, I was thinking that a jacket and fleece would take up the box alone, but no! all 3 items fitted in the box and with a little room to spare as well.
Each item was wrapped in its own packaging, the Mil-Tec jacket and fleece only came in a plastic covering bag but the Helikon items came in sealed bags which stops any fluff, dust or lint getting on the item when in storage. Black of the Mil-Tec jacked showed up all the dust and fluff attracted to the jacket from storage and then getting it out of the packet to try on.
Removing the Helikon items from there packets didn’t seem to attract as much dust so i don’t know whether the bags were anti-static or anything like that..
Before ordering, I did exactly what they said to do on the website and compare previous fitting items and also to get measured up to make sure the items will fit without being too big or too tight.
there was a definitive difference in makes as I had to have Large in the Helikon jacket and Extra Large in the Mil-Tec jacket so as you can see it is definitely worth the extra 5 minutes of measuring and checking to get the right size.
I did order a set of over trousers as previously mentioned but im not really reviewing these in this comparison, just the jackets but I will mention them occasionally when the time is right. With these I took my waist size and went the next size up so that I could definitely get them on. They have zipped lowers so you don’t have to remove your boots (unless really muddy and then I would recommend it otherwise you will make a mess both inside your over trousers and on your battle dress.
The Mil-Tec jacket seems a little too big for myself but maybe that is because my last jacket I had was slightly too small. I have great freedom of movement and you can wear a plate carrier over this without looking too stupid in the process as you can see in the pictures.
With the fleece removed it is fairly spacious but this allows perfectly for more breathability of this to stop you getting soaked from your own sweat instead of the rain.
I can see that I will be using the jacket more with a plate carrier so the fleece will not be needed in these cases as then you will sweat a lot due to the amount of body heat the plate carrier stores.
The Helikon set with the trousers and jacket fit very well. the trousers have a nice velcro cuff to allow you to tighten them up around your boots. They are a 1 size leg lenght and adjustable waist with elastic drawstrings.
The Jacket has a left hand zip which makes doing the jacket up quickly a pain as you have to get your head around it being back to front than normal. Once done up, the jacket allows very good range of movement and is really comfortable.
I have not only used these jackets for Airsoft/military simulation but for civilian activities and it is definitely wiser to go with the neutral colour over camouflage when walking round a town, but for hiking or climbing activates then there is nothing to worry about wearing camouflage.
The Mil-Tec jacket has some lovely little features to it. Firstly you get the fleece inner jacket which is removable and can be worn separate so you get 2 jackets in 1. you get a hood and around the hood edge you get press studs for the application of a fur front for severe winter conditions. This makes it an ideal all round jacket. I can see myself using this for skiing, climbing, walking, Airsofting, shopping in. I can’t see this being able to keep me warm in very cold condition (for example arctic conditions) but Im not willing to do that just yet to test out a jacket (mainly because not many, maybe no one plays Airsoft in the arctic)
The Helikon jacket has no fleece or ability to zip in a fleece into the jacket. It has a good amount of pocketed and a hood that is folded away into the neck line. This is a very neat idea to have on this type of jacket as sometimes hoods get in the way. Yes you can put them down but the can catch. If you fold them away then they won’t catch and wont obscure your vision.
All the waterproofs are comfortable and I cannot choose between the two for which is more comfortable. I think in the summer when its humid yet cool the Mil-Tec one is slightly more comfortable. In winter this is definitely going to be the case with the thermal lining coming in the form of the fleece.
Although saying that the Helikon one folds away smaller, has the fold away hood so you can store it in a side pocket of your back pack or in a webbing utility pouch easier.
Both Jackets are waterproof and breathable. In the short time of just getting the jackets on and getting photos taken I was hot and sweaty. Both jackets seemed to breath but the Mil-Tec one breathed fasted. I felt like the Helikon one was not breathing like it should do.
I have done a few tests in the rain and found that both jackets are extremely waterproof. I went out in the heaviest rain that we have had recently and even stood under my leaking guttering which was just like pouring a hosepipe on me and the Mil-Tec jacket had no visible leaks on seams and the Helikon had minor seep around 1 seam. It was so small I wouldn’t have noticed it if I wasn’t looking for leaks.
Both Jackets breathe well and the Mil-Tec with the zips on the under arms allow you to wear this is more humid conditions without over heating to much. I did have to take the jacket off occasionally when it got too warm but I managed to do most of an 8 mile walk in these jackets in the middle of summer. On the day of the walk there was sun, rain, a lot of humidity and a lot of wind and for most of it the jackets kept me regulated at a nice temperature.
Both jackets have their pro’s and con’s.
The Mil-Tec having the fleece liner which is removable and having the press-studs on to attach the fur front makes this an ideal coat for more than military purposes. You have military front flap for attaching your rank slide on but also it does not stick out too much that it is noticeable. The downside to this jacket is that the sizing is a lot larger than they advertise. I have an XL size which is matching my measurements but when wearing the fleece alone it swamps me and when I wear it with the jacket I feel really bulky.
The trousers in the Helikon set have no real flaws, the leg length is overcome by the Velcro cuffs, you can get them on with boots on and you have adjustable waist so they don’t fall down.
The jacket however has great features with the fold away hood, as in the comfort part it folds away easier. The fact that it does not breathe as well and cannot be a real winter jacket is its let down. The left hand zip clinches it for me and my final outcome is if you’re looking for a water proof set then get the Helikon trousers and the Mil-Tec fleece lined Jacket.
Just get the smaller size down on the jacket if your close to the size cross over as they are more roomy than the sizes say.
Helikon do a jacket with a fleece but it only comes in black from what I can see on the http://www.military1st.co.uk website.
Functionality as civilian: 10/10
Functionality in military scenarios: 5/10 (no camouflage variants available)
Functionality as civilian: 7/10
Functionality in military scenarios: 9/10
Originally posted 2012-07-05 08:42:58.