- Created: Saturday, 03 March 2012 00:00
I've been beating on the 782 Gear Rogue Parka for a few months and have definitely been pleased. Soon after receiving it brought up the question; what the hell is difference between a parka and a jacket? The internets don't have a very unanimous definition, but something along the lines of: a parka is a hip length hooded coat made for cold weather. On the 782 site they claim "an amazing 3-season parka" which greatly to my surprise is actually an appropriate description. Whatever fabric magic they have going on, I've been able to comfortably wear this parka inside at cramped Shotshow ranging all the way to the snowy winter of Kentucky. Core fancy materials appear to be: 3-Layer Gore Military Fabric, Tweave 4-way stretch softshell with DWR, and Polartec Power Stretch fleece. The wind and rain protection is certainly there, however the material type layout and vent features allow usage like a light jacket as well. Once down to near freezing or below, layering will likely be desired to stay warm. On that note the fit is overall loose which makes it easy to layer or wear with most tac-gear. Another big plus to the fabric choices is that there is a lot of give and stretch. In my past experience, similar jackets felt a lot more rigid giving off that "I'm in a plastic sack" kind of feeling. Thus the stretch mobility of the Rogue Parka makes it great not only for hard use movement, but for comfort on casual wear too.
Layout wise the Rogue Parka has pockets and such one would expect, yet with some interesting unique aspects here and there. Starting with the lower exterior pockets, they are simple with velcro closure. A full piece of velcro is used so fairly secure, so much so one may want to cover some velcro to make them easier to open if accessing a lot. They are a good GP size, and can hold a couple 30 round magazines easy. Behind these pockets are the hand pockets, using no closure I assume to give them easy no snag access. One side even has fleece to help keep them digits warmer. The lower sides have zip panels to allow easier belt or pant pocket access; great for getting to sidearms, tools, snacks, etc.The zippers are even doubled for more opening options. Rather than a pit zip going all the way up, there are separate zippers in the arm pit zone allowing both ventilation or access to inner chest. In a nearby position towards the sternum are semi sneaky chest pockets using single zipper closure. I say semi sneaky since the flap covers the zipper making them more difficult to notice. It should be noted all the zipper pulls are on the shorter end of the spectrum so I recommend adding cord pulls for easier use while using heavy gloves. A nice big field of loop velcro is on each shoulder, however there are no special pockets there. In that spirit, there is a loop piece on the left chest side to allow for name tapes with PALS webbing above. The webbing will probably be a bit overkill for most, but I do see it as a good mount placement for handheld radios and similar coms. Not to be overlooked, the left arm has ACU-like pen slots offering sizing from pens to slim flashlights.
As a nice bonus the cuffs have built in fleece wrist huggers to help keep out wind without having to adjust the main velcro cuff strap. The back is overall clean with an interesting velcro pocket. At first I thought it was just a crappy designed back vent, however on the site it is noted as an ID panel pocket where one can buy the actual panel separately. The hood uses a simple and effective zipper connection to take on or off and could be stored in the back pocket keeping in mind adding some bulk looks wise. By default the hood has a fairly aggressive wrap shape to it so I found it helpful to wear with a cap to keep my view clear. Nothing too crazy, just when fully loosened it tends to droop into my viewspace. Utilizing 2 shock cord / cordlock rigs the hood is further adjustable for a tight fit. When used with a helmet on, it is just about right for default clear viewspace. Worth noting is that the hood is NOT included which is a bit of a letdown. I suppose it allows people who don't need it to save a little cost, but I think most will feel the Rogue Parka should just come with it as the core cost is by no means cheap. I doubt many people like the idea of being in climates where this kind of parka is needed, but don't have a hood.
In summary the Rogue Parka is a very comfy and versatile piece of cold weather gear, but is certainly a get what you pay for kind of situation; those fancy materials apparently add up as the current cost is $400 zone, without the $50 hood. That said, if you have the money, the combo of hardshell protection with softshell comfort certainly does make the Rogue stand out from the typical parka.