Living in Michigan provides a unique set of challenges to the active outdoorsman when it comes to staying warm during the winter. Dress too light and you get cold ruining your time out doors. Dress too warm and you sweat, fogging up your goggles/glasses, soaking your shirt and then you end up with soggy underpants!
So what’s the solution? Layering!! Start out heavy and take off as needed or activity dictates to maintain a comfortable core temp! For a typical sledding outing with the kids this was my layering mantra: T-shirt…button down shirt…sweatshirt…jacket… Now I say was my mantra because it has changed thanks to Arktis! Since the A212 SWAT Fleece has come into my life I can pass on the button down and sweatshirts!
The folks over at Arktis have some great products to help you layer more effectively and with less bulk over traditional methods. A perfect example of this is their A212 SWAT Fleece. Born from a request by the British SAS for a light weight, yet warm garment Arktis developed the A212. You see, during the first Iraq conflict several SAS members died due to exposure during the infamous Bravo Two Zero incident. How many lives have been saved by this garment will never be know. What is known though is that it took too many to bring this need to light.
With that need in mind Arktis set to work and and created this awesome jacket! The Mil-Spec, Rip-stop outer blocks the wind and provides a good bit of water resistance. The shoulders and elbows are protected by generous cuts of Cordura that ward off abrasion. The sides zip for easy donning as well as venting to prevent over heating. In addition, the zipper sides allow for holster accommodation and ease of access to your sidearm! I had no trouble what so ever carrying my Ruger in its SERPA. The draw was smooth with no interference and re-holstering was the same. The neck is tall, providing good coverage and the Merino Wool lining extends past the sleeves and the cuffs cover the hand to just beyond the first knuckle. This extended cuff has a thumb hole to create functional hand warmers and to ease the addition of an outer garment.
Now, Arktis calls this a midlayer…let me tell you, I have used it everyday for almost a month now and it has taken the place of my lined m65! I have worn it with long sleeve shirts comfortably in temps down to 29F and regular T’s in the 41F to 50F range! I’m blown away by its performance! The other morning it was 26F when I stopped to pump gas. The wind was blowing and the wind chill made it so cold that the Cordura got a little stiff…did I feel it? Nope! The A212 kept me warm and isolated from the wind and bitter cold. It’s does a good job of keeping the wet at bay as well…but it will soak through. That’s ok though because the non-irritant wool lining keeps it warmth even when wet!! I can attest to the non-irritating wool. Even though I love the warmth of woolen garments, unfortunately wool does not like me! Not so with the Merino. Its soft, warm all natural fibers have yet to cause a so much as a single itch!!
Not only is it a great jacket, but it compresses well and fits in just about anything. If you don’t have one in your Go-Bag, follow the links below to get one…you need it!!
The A212 is nothing short of amazing. As light as this jacket is I didn’t expect this kind of performance. I cant wait to hit the sledding hill! To that end, when I start to complain about the cold around here my father always answers with “What’cha gonna do when it really gets cold?” Well, now I can tell him…”Grab my Arktis A212 SWAT Fleece! That’s what!”