Jacket Review: Pentagon Artaxes Softshell (Coyote Tan)

A funny time of year to be reviewing a jacket, But I’ll tell you why I’ve chosen this a little later in the write up…

A couple of years ago I was in need of a jacket, As is often the case I wanted something that would double up as both Airsoft and general outdoor apparel. After looking at the other mid price range offerings such as one of the Helikon range or another “Tactical” brand such as 5.11 or Snugpak, However it was a relatively new offering that caught my eye.

Pentagon Tactical Sportswear started as a small surplus store in Germany back in the early 90s, Quickly moving to a mail order business model in ’93 and relocating to their current base of operations in Greece they continued to supply other people’s brands to the Military, Law Enforcement and Outdoor market. It was Just before the turn of the century they decided to get into the Tactical sportswear market, Developing clothing that mimics the ability of an Olympian’s clothing but in a cut and colour that’s more practical in a Combat environment. The UK started to see a massive amount of Pentagon around 3/4 years ago, UK Tactical being one of the few places to offer the range at the time.

The Artaxes jacket is similar in cut and design to one of their main competitors… I’ll not dwell on this or speculate as to who copied who… Indeed, If two businesses are given the same problem or criteria to fill, Often the same solution will be presented.

The material of the jacket is a shell faced grid fleece, the outer side supposedly offering a degree of water repellency whilst being relatively breathable. The GridTech (Not to be confused with gridtech nylon) grid fleece is a rather closed cell, Even compared to the better known Polartec fabric.

The idea being that the grid allows air to move freely down the channels… As regular outdoors people will know, comfort is often down to a garments ability to allow air to move in a controlled manner, both around and through the garment.

I ordered mine in Coyote Tan to match my (At that time) newly acquired Crye G3s for Op:Blue Fox 2, A bloody cold night if truth be told… especially the evening before. The colour is honestly too light to be called Coyote anything, It’s an obvious mis-appropriation that preys on the wallet of airsofters who want fancy names for their Tactical colours… I’m no better, It used to be all over the “Nutria Brown” and now it’s Ranger Green, AOR1 and M81 that makes me weak at the knees.

The Shell itself is made from another technical fabric, Stormtex. It’s thrown up a couple of results on google but it’s mostly within the Equestrian and Outdoor markets, So I’m not able to verify if it’s the same material. Stormtex offers 5000g/24hrs… This isn’t a massive amount of water repellency, Akin to a ski jacket… Which is fine in dismal weather with a chance of light showers, but far below what your likely to want this for in a winters game. As you can see below, the material doesn’t offer a great deal of run off, The water wicks into the fabric with little to no resistance.

The jacket itself is loaded with pockets, A very similar arrangement to the Helikon Trooper jacket with the following pockets:

  • “Poachers” Pocket on the rear with zipper access each side
  • 2 x Chest pockets with internal divider and comms port on right pocket
  • 2 x Bicep pockets
  • Single wrist pocket on left arm
  • 2 x small internal zipper pockets

The main pair of pockets on the chest are accessed via a YKK shrouded zipper, inside the pocket is ample storage space and complete with a small organiser seen in place for smaller items.

The other significant pocket is to the rear, A so called “Poachers Pocket” which I’ve always used for gloves and a hat when not in use… However it’s a great place to keep a spare mag or two if your spending a lot of time low on the ground.

The Bicep pockets are often left empty, I don’t like excessive weight on my arms… However, a mobile phone or other thin items won’t cause any discomfort.

On the outside of these pockets is a loop field for the attachment of your “pork sword eating crusader” patches, although not overtly Tactical in look and easy enough to blend in with the hundreds of Quasi-Tactical fashion jackets out there.

The wrist pocket is large enough for a phone or similar but honestly… It’s surplus to requirements. I’ve never seen anyone find a useful reason for having this pocket, Save for yet another place to hide contraband haribo.

There are a pair of mesh lined underarm vents, This I actually do like… some of the competition (Cough, Helikon…) just leave this open but the mesh keeps the integral shape of the jacket when open and ensures the zipper is easily moved without snagging on layers underneath.

The inside also holds a pair of small pockets, one in each breast… Big enough for a small wallet or mobile, Also on the inside, the safety orange shock cord to cinch the bottom of the jacket can be adjusted via two barrel locks, the cord also being retained above the hem… A neat little feature that stops he cords falling below the jacket (A personal hate for me).

Another neat little feature is that one of the chest pockets has a comms port for radios or mobile headphones, Above this is a small loop just inside the zip… this is to secure the comms wire at a point near the top of the jacket, A very smart little feature.

As for overall sizing and comfort, mines a 3XL… a lot bigger than I’d usually go for but I assumed it would be a thin, pack light jacket in a similar vein to the Helikon Trooper when I ordered it… However, The overall feel and bulk is that of a full mid layer jacket. It certainly doesn’t feel like a 3XL and indeed is around the same fit as a Helikon garment 1-2 sizes smaller which happened to be perfect for me, So be warned.

The hood stows away in the collar, This has a positive and negative side… The hood is rather bulky which helps keep your neck warm, however it doesn’t make the collar comfortable when all he way up… Indeed it’s like a turtleneck from hell. There is thought put into the main zipper however, The addition of an oversized “Zipper Garage” (Thanks Rich 😉) helps keep your beard attached to your chin. In addition to this the double zipper running full length can be opened conventionally from the top or from the bottom to allow access to belt line items or allow a degree more movement when sat down.

I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews, Including some whose opinion I trust implicitly, However I’ve literally just sold this jacket as it’s just not for me… Having worn it a handful of times and losing over 50% of it’s retail value I’d say it’s not the “Best in class” and specifically for high impact activity like Airsoft, It’s lack of compactness means that adjusting your layers and dumping this into a day sack just isn’t an option when out and about. There are in my opinion a lot of other jackets that will beat this, Or to phrase it better… Meet my needs more specifically.

All in all though, It’s a well made jacket. Great for short walks and bimbles through the woods… Ive been told that certain Police Counter Terrorist units made rush orders a couple of years back, Although theses are rarely seen in favour of Arc’Teryx Talos jackets. I can certainly see why they were chosen, However I’ve not found this an ideal match for me… Too heavy and bulky for the most part, As a comparison I’d be able to fit both my Helikon shells in the same area as this and still have room for gloves, hat etc… So that’s what’s staying, And on first thing Monday this will be on its way to a new owner.

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