CIM (Combat Insulation Medium), produced by a Swiss company Claw Gear, is a winter jacket meant to provide protection against cold in a durable form. Well, this goal was achieved, however, there’s a detail which makes CIM not as “combat” as its creators desired…
The cut of Claw Gear’s jacket is quite loose, making it possible to wear additional insulation layers – such as the recently reviewed Helikon-Tex Wolfhound Jacket. Moreover, it also allows to quickly put the CIM on during any stops or breaks in your activities. Furthermore, what can be particularly important for military users, it should be possible to wear CIM over other tactical equipment (I use the word “should”, as we tested this jacket during outdoor activities, and not combat-related scenarios). The bottom of the jacket features additional shockcord which enables adjusting it to the desired width.
The external fabric is a durable nylon woven into a rip-stop structure. At first it was covered with a DWR-type impregnation which prevented rain drops from wetting the material. Unfortunately, in the course of usage (especially on the backpack-carrying shoulders), the layer has mostly worn off and the material started to “catch” water.
However, this is not a major issue, as the polyurethane membrane (10 000mm hydrostatic head and 10 000g/m2/24h breathability) makes the CIM jacket significantly waterproof. Additionally, all the seams are taped as to decrease the risk of leaks.
As even the best membranes tend to significantly decrease the garment’s breathability; CIM features a set of wide pit zips, which make it possible to adjust the jacket’s thermal properties to the circumstances (intensity of activities, weather, etc.).
Same as the main zipper, pit zips are closed using the two way splash proof SBS zippers. Their design makes zippers resistant to rain and snow, however, the gaps which occur as the jacket is used slightly decrease the degree of protection. It might be also important to mention that the zippers of this type are slightly harder to operate than the “normal” ones.
Insulation – Climashield APEX
The Climashield Apex synthetic insulation (133 g/m2 for body and 100g/m2 on sleeves) makes Claw Gear’s jacket suitable for the negative temperatures down to -20ºC (of course, it all depends on the type of performed activities). Additionally, the properties of filling allow a high degree of compression when the jacket is stored. The structure of Climashield makes it retain most of its insulatory properties even when wet.
The cuffs have elastic endings. Such a solution is lighter than the typical velcro regulation, however the comfort is also lower. Moreover, this type of endings makes it impossible to adjust cuffs according to the situation.
The hood of the CIM jacket is spacious and comfortable, while a set of drawstring allows to easily adjust it to the users head. The collar was additionally covered with a layer of soft fleece and the front of the neck is protected by a chin guard.
Claw Gear’s CIM jacket features a set of six pockets:
- Two on the arms, with external velcro pads for attaching patches or other insignia. The pockets’ interior was sewn in (beneath the external material of jacket) and unfortunately this is linked with a significant flaw of this model (I will explain this later on)
- Two on the stomach. Interestingly, they are closed using two way zippers, what makes it possible to adjust the width of opening depending on the situation. Their interior was also covered with a soft material
- Two internal, based on mesh. The left one features an additional channel for passing any wiring needed
The construction is completed by multiple details which clearly display manufacturer’s care paid to making this jacket unique. Inside of the CIM, just below the collar, there are two small loops made of shockcord (most likely for organizing the wiring used). On the back, slightly below neck, there is a small rectangular velcro suitable for attaching the infrared-visible patches. Many of the seams were covered using the tape with the brand’s marking. Even shockcord features Claw Gear’s logo!
It’s a shame that such a care wasn’t paid to all aspects of the jacket’s design…
Unfortunately, the tested jacket featured a rather serious defect. In order to prevent interior of bicep pockets from moving, they were attached with a tape to the seams which hold pit zips. Such a solution made it possible to limit a number of seams, thus decreasing a number of locations with a risk of leaks. However, this solution has also resulted in a fact that when the arms are raised above the line of shoulders (>90º angle from the rest of the body), the bottom of jacket lifts to the height of stomach and the sleeves are pulled down (when your hands are above your head, the jacket’s edge ends just below your navel [center of belly]) . And this isn’t a case of a wrong sizing. The CIM simply limits the freedom of arms’ movement.
Despite this flaw, the jacket performed well in the temperatures from 0ºC to -20ºC. Despite my initial worries regarding the breathability, the membrane caused no problems and I was actually glad to have it – it was a must-have during a long, freezing, rain. And even when the sun increased the temperatures, the CIM could be still worn comfortably thanks to the wide pit zips.
I was also surprised that, in spite of its durability, thermal properties and pockets, Claw Gear’s winter jacket is exceptionally lightweight (~800g, Helikon’s Alpha Grid Fleece meant as a midlayer weights 630g).
On one hand, CIM provides a user with very good thermal properties, wide range of pockets and exceptionally durable external fabric. On the other, it features a serious defect, which effectively limits arms movement – which could be essential for military users (who, as far as I know, are one of the Claw Gear’s target customers). Taking into account a rather high price (279 E / ~1180 PLN), it is surprising that the manufacturer made such a mistake.
We have already informed the manufacturer on our findings, and we hope that Claw Gear will succeed in eliminating the problem. After all, it is a fine jacket and it’s a pity that such a good model causes so many trouble to its users.
+ External fabric!
+ Climashield APEX!
+ Very good quality of craft
– Serious design defect!!!!!
– The zippers can be a bit difficult to operate
Special thanks to Claw Gear for providing us with a possibility of testing their CIM jacket!
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