It appears Vertx isn't settling on just pants and is dabbling in jackets as a part of their new limited edition lineup. Although several items are offered in this "OPS" line I got to check out the OPS Shell Jacket as an introduction to the series. Much like the pants I think they find a good balance of performance and features us tac folks enjoy without a particularly super tactical look.
For the main material some fancy waterproof 94% Polyester/6% Spanidex outer shell with TPU Membrane is used which has a nice feel. My main concern typically being to make sure it doesn't feel like I have on a plastic bag as a jacket. On my initial weather tests I was unimpressed as water can quickly be absorbed into the material rather than it always beading off, but I was surprised that even after being super saturated with prolonged water exposure, it never penetrated to my skin level. So even though you will definitely look wet in a downpour, at least you won't feel wet. The interior is lined with 100% Polyester Microfleece which is very comfortable and adds a good dose of warming performance. This liner is also great at feeling snugly when first put on as opposed to other simple thin material jacket liners that can make you feel so cold at first, which then make you semi resistant to even put the jacket on. Staying consistent, the microfleece liner covers the whole jacket interior and even the hood.
All the usual fancy jacket options are there as expected, such as having a hood included, many zippered pockets, and adjustable corded hem. The hood is removable with a simple and effective zipper and has multiple forms of adjustment using a shock cord and cord lock setup to cinch down to one's head shape. By default I found the hood worked with a ball cap fairly well. The neck wrap of the hood uses a simple velcro closure, which is fine, but I wish an extra piece of loop velcro or flap was included to cover up the hook side as it can make noise and generally be abrasive to the jacket.
Vertx certainly didn't skimp on the weatherproofing for the zippers which can be a double edge sword. This makes them weather resistant, but also makes them difficult to zip back up. The bicep zippers in particular force one hand operation due to position, and then there is so much resistance to the zipper that one needs to slowly walk the zipper up using fingers to push or give it the ol' stiff arm trick by grabbing the jacket cuff in one's fist to add fabric tension. Thus the chest and hand pocket zippers tend to be easier to manipulate as there is the option to use both hands. I was pleased to see the pocket layout is symmetrical so no particular side is jipped. They also didn't skimp on the zipper pulls as nice rubbery / grippy ones are used for all core pockets and a unique plastic logo pull is used for the main zipper.
The cuffs have internal ribbing to help give a constant seal to keep the cold out and have the typical adjustment straps. As a heads up to long term durability, the male side adjustment strap is rubber like with incorporated hooks. This is nice, but is harsh on the poor little traditional loop pile so will tear it up quickly. If you adjust cuffs a lot, be prepared for the loop to need to be replaced.
As an odd quirk, the way the bicep pockets are sewn internally creates another hole very near the main sleeve holes. Thus when putting the jacket on quickly it is easy for one to accidentally get their arm stuck in this false sleeve hole. The best I can tell is that this was a design decision where they felt the clean exterior shoulder look was important enough to have this somewhat odd interior decision. I felt dumb the first couple times, but now being knowledgeable of the issue I rarely jam my arm in the wrong hole.
Overall I dig the fit on my size small sample, it being a little closer to the fitted side while not causing restriction of motion. Out of the box the collar will kinda do whatever it wants, so it takes a little time and effort to break in the collar to stay in a flat down position. Color wise the smoke grey is a bit saturated to my personal liking where I wish it was more warm or neutral grey like the Vertx performance shirt I'm wearing in the photos.
As an end result I think the Vertx Ops Shell Jacket does a good job at being a cool guy jacket at a decent price. There aren't any special CCW features and I wouldn't mind some loop velcro on the biceps, however it makes sense to leave that off if they were going for a more subdued tac jacket look. All the fancy materials and incorporated details make for a nicely weather resistant soft-shell jacket that is still comfortable.
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