Helikon-Tex Alpha Tactical

In Review by Jawor | Leave a Comment

Helikon-Tex Alpha Tactical Grid Fleece Jacket is, as suggested by its name, a versatile jacket made of a grid fleece – a characteristic material with little squares which give it the properties that you won’t find in a typical fleece outerwear.

Design

Helikon-Tex Alpha Tactical has a quite well-fitting cut. Thanks to this, jacket can be used both as an additional insulation (eg. for LVL 5 softshell jacket) or as a standalone outer layer. Sleeves were fitted with elastic cuffs, so that they won’t ruck with every movement. Additional regulation is provided by two quick locks combined with elastic corded on the bottom edge of Helikon-Tex Alpha, unfortunately even a small motion can result in the fleece’s back being pulled up.

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Zippers

All the zippers were used in the Heliko-Tex Alpha jacket were manufactured by the YKK®. In addition, most of them is equipped with plastic pullers for enhanced grip.

Pockets

As befits a tactical model, the Helikon-Tex Alpha has been equipped with a wide range of pockets closed with zippers. It is worth pointing out that all are based on a soft mesh lining so that jacket’s breathability isn’t reduced:

  • Two bottom side slash pockets, ideal for carrying a cap, gloves or hiding hands on a cold day.

  • One chest pocket with a wiring eyelet and small compartment

  • Two bicep pockets, with Velcro panels sewn on the outside. It is worth mentioning that the tape used for the zipper pullers is quite slippery, so the grip isn’t as firm as it would be expected.

Fabric – Grid Fleece

Well, it all sounds like a description of a typical fleece jacket; well, maybe slightly tactical fleece jacket. What is so special about Helikon-Tex Alpha? A feature that distinguishes it from other constructions is the material – grid fleece, which is a fleece but with a characteristic surface covered in small rectangles.

How does it work? Parts made of fleece keep the warmth, while the gaps between them increase jacket’s breathability and enhance transport of moisture. In addition, this reduces the final weight of the garment.

Our thoughts on Helikon-Tex Alpha Tactical Grid Fleece Jacket

From the beginning of May I had the opportunity to use the Helikon-Tex Alpha jacket, both alone and in conjunction with the additional layers. In all cases, the jacket has performed as it should – thanks to the well-fitting cut Helikon-Tex Alpha worked well with external layers, while the grid fleece provided thermal comfort even on colder days. Moreover, the structure of the material made it possible to achieve even better breathability than in the case of the Classic Fleece. Such a solution, however, has the disadvantage that even a relatively weak wind (a thing common for ex. in the mountains) was enough for me to feel wind chilled. The problem was easily solved by changing Alpha for a windshirt. And Helikon-Tex Alpha returned on me right at the next stop.

In terms of quality, Helikon-Tex Alpha performs well – nothing rips and there is no damage caused by the prolonged use. Furthermore, I haven’t noticed any protruding strands. Among the improvements I would suggest in the Helikons’ jackets would be a slight extension of the back, which tends to rise uncomfortably. In addition, I would consider a few extra stitches on the tapes on bicep pockets’ zippers  as they are quite slippery and would benefit when provided with something that you could easily catch. Nevertheless, despite these two flaws, the Helikon-Tex Alpha jacket is very pleasant to use, and its versatile nature makes it suitable for manifold situations.

Summary

Helikon-Tex Alpha Tactical Grid Fleece Jacket is a convenient and universal garment, which will work both as an additional insulation and as a standalone layer. A grid fleece performs well – it is warm and more breathable than a regular fleece. The product quality is good, and the only issues that would require changes are details that have no significant influence on Alphas’ performance.

 Pros:

+ Grid fleece fabric

+ Pockets

+ Overall design

Cons:

– Weight

– Price

 

We’d like to thank our partner, the Predathor store, for providing us with a chance of testing the Helikon-Tex Alpha jacket!

~ Jawor

 

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About the Author

Jawor

Hikes since he learnt to walk. Happy to spend hours discussing jackets, backpacks and other gear. Caver, diver and a leader of the Gear Insider project.

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