In the middle of April, I started testing the Delta softshell made by Helikon-Tex. Although the jacket comes from the company’s Urban Tactical line, it still proves itself in outdoor use.
The Delta belongs to the family of membraneless softshells – thanks to the appropriate material it provides protection against wind while retaining good breathability. Its cut is rather loose and comfortable. What’s important, it also doesn’t dazzle with excess of tacticity.
The jacket is made from the “shark skin” polyester covered on the surface with a layer of DWR. On the inside, Helikon-Tex’s Delta is lined with a layer of microfleece and mesh (only on the sides). The material proves itself both in the outdoors and in the everyday use (especially during spring and autumn). Wind protection is good, even quite strong mountain winds couldn’t get through the jacket. The microfleece guarantees thermal comfort in temperatures around 10°C (when it starts getting warmer something without isolation will do better) and will protect your skin from contact with the wind-chilled shark skin. Thanks to the impregnation, the Delta can protect against a short and not so intensive rain. With greater amounts of water, the material begins to soak.
The Helikon Delta is closed with an YKK zipper which was additionally equipped with an inner flap for the protection against the wind. It works as expected, though it can untuck itself to the side and may need correcting form time to time. The upper ending of the zipper is covered with a layer of fleece intended to protect the chin from the rough ending. There have been situations (rare ones, but still) where the zipper slid down by half a centimetre, and then the layer moved to the side enough for parts of the zipper to stab my chin. It isn’t anything dangerous or particularly important, but still remains a bit annoying.
Helikon’s jacket is equipped with basic regulation:
One Velcro fastener at the end of each sleeve (you need to push them hard while fastening, otherwise they can unfasten themselves).
And two elastic regulators on the bottom of the jacket allowing to adjust it to the user’s body.
Additional reinforcements from a layer of shark skin were sewn onto the elbows.
The Helikon-Tex Delta has six pockets.
- Two on the height of the stomach, in which we can find the lower ends of the shockcord used for the regulation. Unfortunately, the excess of rubber tends to slip out of the pockets and hang down on the bottom of the jacket. I make use of these pockets the most, you can comfortably keep your hands there as well as carry a cap, gloves, or anything else. Unfortunately, they stop being available with a fastened backpack’s waist belt.
- One on the height of the chest.
And three internal:
- Two on the left side – on the height of the chest and a larger, horizontal
- One on the right side, vertical.
Helikon-Tex Delta offers a comfortable cut which also allows for putting on additional layers in colder weather. Additionally, the material of the jacket ensures protection from the wind whilst retaining good breathability. These two aspects make the Delta suitable both for the urban use and field excursions. From this point of view however, it would be better if the main pockets were sewn in a manner allowing use while wearing a waist belt.
When it comes to the Delta’s durability, I have no issues whatsoever. While testing we only had slight pilling in the lower part of the back (a typical effect of Cordura ends of backpack ventilation systems) and minor damage on the front (which didn’t increase in size since then). Both have no effect on the jacket’s effectiveness though.
The quality of craft is on a good level, there is no tearing, all stitches hold together, and only in a few there are visible protruding threads. The only questionable aspects are the velcros meant for cuff regulations, which can undo themselves.
Finally, I will mention two things that I found to be missing in the Delta, the first one is the hanger, useful when you want to hang the jacket (a common thing in an urban environment). The second one is a pair of pit zips, useful when the sun shows from between the clouds.
To summarize, the Helikon-Tex Delta is a versatile jacket good for the spring-autumn season first and foremost. The softshell will protect from wind and light rain in the mountains, forest as well as in the city. It could use a few improvements, but at this price (~200 PLN / 50 EUR), it is still a very good option.
+ No membrane
+ YKK zippers
– Front pockets collide with waist belts
The jacket was provided by the Predathor store, thanks!