Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: SORD hoodie

A friend of mine asked if I had checked out SORD Australia, which since its inception in 2004, has made tactical kit with a slogan of "Innovation, not imitation". Initially, my friend had asked me about my opinions of their packs, but what caught my eye were some of the other items in their catalog.

I contacted them and got in touch with their sales manager, who was kind enough to send a couple of items my way to look over. This is the first of those pieces. This is the self-depreciatingly named "Hoodie" by SORD Australia.

Constructed from a lightweight softface material as an alternative to the rest of their line of classic hardface constructed jackets and apparel.

The material itself has a really interesting texture, being four-way stretch, and has a padded feel, not unlike the feel of a 3mm wetsuit. The surface repels water spray and light rain, being a softface, and was pretty resistant to the day to day grime I find myself being smeared in (Thanks Triceratops Girl and Tactical Baby).

The first thing I noticed other than the material, was the simple cut of the garment. This is a no nonsense, no frills, no raised-eyebrows top. The lines were smooth and simple. It had no loop-fields for patches, a single simple logo and unobtrusive and silent zipper pulls.

The hood was a pretty good fit, a touch shallower than that of my Platatac Hary 1.2 Softshell jacket but was still a good fit, even with all this hair. Two paracord drawstrings with simple cord-locks gave the hood some adjustability, and a short zipper also added some comfort room when donning or doffing the jacket.

The kangaroo pocket on the chest sits up nice and high , to stay out of the way of any bending and off the bounce when you are moving about and has another of the cord-fed zippers, for silent operation. The pouch itself was made of the same overall material as the rest of the jacket, and blended right in visually when not in use. It was -just- big enough to stuff in my iPad Air fully, in a pinch, but did cradle it quite nicely. It would be perfect for documents, a map, snacks or other needfuls that you wanted high and tight on your person.

Two hand warming pockets at the front are a welcome addition, seams blending in with the lines of the jacket and fading away when not needed.Having these are a great feature, especially as I am the kind of person who thinks having warm hands makes me an effective survivor.... The wrist cuffs gave me options to cinch in the sleeves to keep the weather out, or let me have some more breathing room. I found I needed this, not because I was cold, quite the opposite, this is a warm jacket. Given that December in Melbourne varies between 15C and 40C, I liked having something light I could throw on, stay dry in our showers but not bake too much in.
Here's were it gets interesting. at each flank a zipper runs up about half way. This not only improves your donning/doffing of the jacket, but also adds the additional feature of giving you clear access to not only items on your belt, on either side, but items worn under the jacket.

Getting access to your kit, especially when you are buttoned down to stay out of the weather, out of the cold, or just away from prying eyes is a real boon.

With the flick of a wrist, or a hooked finger, the zipper slips up, revealing your side, and access to all your belt-borne goodies.

I found that the sides being open also assisted me with my heat management, all the while allowing me access, or the security of secreting, my Hazard4 EDC harness with all my goodies, till I needed them.

The real benefit from these side zips however would definitely be access to items on your belt. Be that a holster, sheathe or pouches, these are perfectly placed to access all manner of goodies.

The cut of the hoodie also seemed to cope very nicely with my selection of items. A Platatac FUP pouch and the on-loan Boker-American Kami Colubris Mid-Tech simply vanished in the folds below my arms.

I thought my Hazard4 Loader RG harness holster, filled with my EDC gear would be too much bulk for the SORD hoodie to manage, but not only does it zip up and over the whole lot without a struggle, a quick pull and flip gives me access to all my kit, be it keys, lights or wallet.

I was really pleased with this garment, not only with its technical performance, but the thought that went into making a simple, effective and inconspicuous piece of midwear. Now if only it wasn't so hot, I'd get to wear it more. I'll put it away for a few months and get back to it.

I look forwards to showing you all other items from SORD too.


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