Okay thanks. Is it too hot to wear when it's like... not really hot but not really cold outside either. Like in the spring or the fall?
I'm not really sure where you live but, I live in an areawhere the Spring and Fall are quite mild, but in let's say temps below 50, the fleece is good. I usually keep the hardshell in my truck for rainy weather, as it's waterproof and it has a hood.
I used both together to snowboard in the Austrian Alps, and I was warm the entire time.
I have the 3-1 5.11 Parka and this is my second Winter Wearing it.
I purchased it primarily for the Back-Up-Belt System so that I could more easily access my licensed concealed pistol and have it easier to reach during the cold Michigan range trips during the winter. I wear the thing every single day during the winter walking my German Shepherd Dog often at night in weather that recently has been about -5 to 10F on a fairly consistent basis.
The outer shell has had some threads peel up a bit and the collar of the fleece has pilled up pretty good with wear. One of the arm pockets now has a hole in it as well within the interior of the pocket (ie you put things in they slide through, but no hole through the shell just the lining of the pocket). Overall though it's held up alright other than those two things. It's tough as nails though having had my 90 lbs German Shepherd Dog jump up on it a few times with his heavy paws and nails.
It's a very warm jacket when worn with the fleece zipped in and I think the only improvement I wish it had with that respect was the addition of some sort of draw string to cinch the waist a bit above the belt line (so you could still get to your pistol and/or duty belt). Sometimes you catch a bit of draft floating up inside your jacket. The other thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't have pit zips. You can undue the zipper from the botton side all the way up, but then you've got more of a poncho than a coat. Rather they had seperated the zippers with the bottoms one only coming up so far to allow for access to the duty belt and then seperate pit zips under the arms. If you doing some high physical stuff in this coat and overheat it's hard to vent without suddenly becoming cold as hell.
The pocket layout and utility (minus the strength of the arm pockets) rock and velcro very nicely. It's very easy to fit their accessory pouches they sell and have everything very readily accessible, which is a HUGE plus to me about the jacket.
It's very waterpoof. I've been out for many a solid afternoon doing Schutzhund in pooring freezing rain and and stay nice and dry. The stowable hood is excellent and easy to access along with being highly adjustable. I also got a free reflective safety vest that stores nicely in my rear pocket and it's nice to know that if I break down on the highway at night I'm not going to have to get out of my car in a black coat, because I can toss on the vest.
The fleece zips out and has most the features in terms of the Back-Up Belt System pockets and duty belt access. It's also very stylish in my humble opinion. The fleece is Great for fall and spring wear when it's a bit chilly still.
The parka outershell though doesn't breath that well on a hot rainy spring or fall day.
Overall, I like the jacket and would recommend it. For the price it is a GREAT casual jacket for concealed carry in civilian attire. However, if you're looking for something for hard range/field work I'd go with something else. It's very comforting that I can unzip the side and leave the botton snapped when I'm leaving my office at night (I work in an urban area) and it's a very easy motion to break the snap of the botton and grip the pistol yet as long as it's bottoned it's pretty much impossible to see my black pistol and holster unless you were on your knees looking at it at a close distance. I like that because if you're in Michigan and wearing layers like a fleece and an outershell reaching and pulling up is a PITA in my opinion and most likely if you're assaulted on the street time is of the essence.
I believe the primary difference between the 3-1 I have and the 5-1 is that with the 5-1 it's not a parka its more of a jacket coming to the waist whereas the parka goes down past the waist. Because these jackets don't secure tightly around the waist with a drawstring if you're someplace cold you'll want that extra length from the parka to provide more of a barrier from updrafts. Other than that the 5-1 has the sleeves come off the fleece making it a vest and the 3-1 does not do that. I'm not much of a vest guy though so that didn't appeal to me. Other than that they are the same material and style.
If you wait until summer you can snag one of these jackets (at least last year) for less than a hundred USD. If you have any questions PM me and I'll answer them.
Last edited by SilentType; 01-22-2009 at 04:41 PM.