At this time of year, when the mercury drops, I know that I need access to a wider range of clothing and gear than at other times of the year. That way, I can tailor my layering system to meet the demands of the activity and terrain that I’m taking on. Although I wouldn’t be without my down jacket in the mountains, for example, on lower level adventures, or at milder times of year, I’ve been craving something a little bit more flexible. You see, I want the vast majority of my kit to be useable year round. Adventuring in the outdoors can be expensive enough as it is without splurging good money on pieces of kit that will only be worn a handful of times throughout the course of a year. That’s why I was delighted when Military 1st got in touch to see if I’d like to test the Pentagon Hector Vest. I’d never previously owned a gilet/vest and was curious to see whether it could add anything to my layering system and become a staple in my year-round kitbag.
Before I begin, I will say that, having worked with Military 1st previously, I had very high expectations of the Pentagon Hector Vest. This is despite, may I add, having never owned anything produced by Pentagon before. For those of you not in the know, Military 1st, as the name suggests, stock a wide range of clothing and gear designed for both military and outdoor use. Consequently, it’s designed to be tough and functional. How could it survive in those harsh environments otherwise? As such, my high expectations were justified. Would they be met?
The first thing that I noticed about the Pentagon Hector Vest was its weight. It really is an ultra-lightweight option. Not only that but it packs down small too. In fact, the whole thing fits inside its own chest pocket. As a result, it’s a great option to throw into your rucksack, taking up next to no room and adding next to no weight.
Using a 550 duck down filling, its sits nicely between my fleece layers and my heavier fill mountain down jackets. I have seen a few gilets/vests on the market that seem to contain a hell of a lot of insulation. Given that they are vests and not jackets, I have always questioned the wisdom of this and, therefore, think that the 550 fill in the Pentagon Hector Vest is absolutely spot on. Anything above this would just be too warm for everyday use.
As the colder weather has been drawing in, I have increasingly found myself pairing the Pentagon Hector Vest with my Rab Baseline midlayer. Sitting on top of this lightweight, active, polertec fleece, the Hector Vest comes into its own. My core is warm enough to battle cold days on the hills, but has enough breathability across my upper body to do so at pace. I literally love this layering combination and have since questioned why I’ve never owned an insulated gilet/vest before.
Furthermore, the nylon exterior of the Pentagon Hector Vest is windproof, adding to the protection I get from the elements. No longer do I have to resort to wearing a heavier filled mountain down jacket or a waterproof layer (both of which often end up with me sweating cobs) when the weather is cold but not freezing. To assist you further, the vest comes complete with a fleece-lined collar to help keep your neck toasty. As well as the windproof exterior it is also shower resistant. Consequently, you won’t have to resort to pulling that sweaty Gore-Tex number out of your rucksack during brief spells of drizzle.
I’m a massive advocate of pockets in outdoor gear and the Pentagon Hector Vest doesn’t disappoint. Coming complete with two zipped and fleece-lined hand warming pockets, a zipped chest pocket and a large internal zipped pocket, you’ll have enough available spaces to stow a range of on-the-go gear. The fleece lining in the hand warming pockets is certainly a nice touch and adds a further element of warmth and functionality whilst, should you need to secure something, the chest pocket contains an internal security loop. Little details like this make a big difference when you’re out on the hills covering some miles.
The elasticated hems around the arm holes ensure that the fit is good and drafts are kept out. Lower down, the bottom hem takes this a step further by utilising shockcord and quick-locks. This results in you being able to tailor the vest regardless of your physique or fit preferences.
It may be the first Pentagon product I’ve owned but, like everything else I’ve had from Military 1st, the quality, functionality and value is brilliant. It really has made me wonder why I’ve never owned a gilet/vest previously. I love how flexible it is in terms of matching it up with other aspects of my layering system, while it’s light and packable enough to go on virtually any adventure.
Product: Hector Vest
Available from: Military 1st