Review: S.O.D. Gear – Parka

Die deutsche Version dieses Reviews kann man im Tacticalforum nachlesen.

A little while ago I wrote a detailed review about S.O.D. Gear and subsequently compared the quality of their garments with those of other comparable companies.
Since we ordered from S.O.D. Gear again some stuff recently a friend of mine was kind enough to give me some time with his smock so I can take a closer look at it.

A little disclaimer:
This smock was ordered in the S.O.D. Outlet and is therefore different from the regular model of the “operative field parka”, which is available on the website. For example the hood is stashable in the collar, the velcro is configured differently on the jacket and there are no ventilation openings under the arms.

At first a overall view of the jacket

SOD Gear Parka

SOD Gear Parka

Height: 1,80 m , Weight: 75 kg

  • 2x chest pouches, underneath two napoleon pockets
  • 2x pouches in the belly area
  • 2x pouches at 4 and 8 o’clock, with shockcord
  • 1x “poacher pocket” at 6 o’clock
  • 2x inner pockets at chest height
  • 2x arm pockets with velcro
  • inserts for elbow protections
  • hood, not detachable but stashable inside the collar

Materials:
50/50 PolyCo Multicam fabric, YKK Zipper, Canadian Slotted Buttons

Chest pouches:
The chest pouches feature an interesting combination of two different pockets. On the one hand there is  the outer pouch which can be closed by a folding flap via a canadian slotted button. Next to the flap there are openings for antennas and such.

Brusttaschen

Brusttaschen

On the other hand there is an additional napoleon pocket right underneath the pouch, which is accessible via a ykk zipper from the side. In it you can find a loop made out of paracord and a shock cord which enables you to adjust the waist.

Front pouches:
The frontal pouches can also be closed with a folding flap and canadian slotted buttons. Again you will find an opening for antennas and such. At the bottom of the pouches there is a shock cord with a cordlock to adjust the bottom of the jacket. Other than that the pouches have no internal organisation.

Front and side pouches

Front and side pouches

Side pouches:
With that I mean both pouches at 4 and 8 o’clock at the waist. These pouches are different because their opening is pulled together by two shock cords which are sewn into the fabric. The flap which closes the pouch is not a folding one, like on the other pouches.
Because of this feature the pouches are very close to the body and don’t appear bulky.

Poacher pouch:
This pouch is closed via three canadian slotted buttons and has an additional access point on the left side through a vertical ykk zipper. This way you can access the pouch with your left hand when reaching back.

All the pouches with the poachers pocket in the middle

All the pouches with the poachers pouch in the middle

Side access to the poacher pouch

Side access to the poacher pouch


Inner pockets:
On the inside you can find two pockets at chest height, which are made out of mesh material. One pocket is accessible from the top via a velcro opening and via ykk zipper from the side. This pocket can also be divided into two sections thanks to another velcro area inside the pocket.

Innentaschen

Innentaschen

The other pocket is fairly larger and accessible from the side through a zipper.

Upper arm pockets:
On the left and right there are pockets on the upper arm with paracord loops and loop velcro on the inside. On the outside there are loop velcro fields which are matched to the Multicam camouflage. Next to the arm pockets there are inserts for pens or chem lights.

Upper arm pockets

Upper arm pockets

slot for chemlights etc
slot for chemlights etc

matched velcro on the upper arm pockets

matched velcro on the upper arm pockets

 

On the elbows there are inserts for protection pads. Because of the additional layer of fabric there is also a protection against abrasion.

Insert opening on the elbows

Insert opening on the elbows

Hood:
The hood is stashable inside of the collar and is not bulky at all. This means that it does not restrict the throat. The hood itself is closely adapted to the head and can be adjusted with a velcro strap at the back of the head. There is also shock cord sewn inside of the hood horizontally to make it fit tighter.

The collar with the hood stowed away

The collar with the hood stowed away

velcro strap at the backside of the hood

velcro strap at the backside of the hood

This way the hood is following the motions of the head and does not interfere with eyesight. This hood is not suited for carrying helmets. This is one of the more apparent differences to the regular “operative field parka”, which features a different hood.

various perspectives of the hood

various perspectives of the hood

Workmanship:
Once again it should be mentioned that this jacket was purchased from the S.O.D. Gear outlet and therefore needs to be seen in a different view. It is possible that this smock is a military overrun model, or just an older version of the parka. It could also be the case that it didn’t fit the high quality standards (which would be absurd). Either way in this model you can find an excessive use of Multicam material. Other than that it is a wonderful example of S.O.D. Gear’s love to detail.

The stitching is tidy and straight. The stress points are bar tacked and the materials are carefully tuned to match. They even went through the trouble to look that every part matches with the actual Multicam pattern and that it is not interrupted by pouches with different sections of the pattern.

magnificent workmanship and attention to details

magnificent workmanship and attention to details

Everyone who knows the Multicam pattern also knows that the repetition cycle of the pattern is quite high and that it is quite heterogenous. To that effect it can look more greenish or tanish depending on the part of the fabric.

On this parka the fabric parts were assembled in a way that the actual pattern won’t be disrupted. Even the zippers, buttons and velcro areas are Multicam and matched accordingly. I have to give my respect to this!

Cut and Fit:
Already in my first review on S.O.D. Gear I called the company “tactical Armani” – nota bene a 100% positively! This parka gives me even more reasons to do so. Why?

Basically I need a size 52 (or large) for my jackets because I am between sizes, depending on the cut. Generously cut jackets in medium fit me as well, while normal cut jackets need to be sized large – especially because of my long Gorilla like arms.

nice fit of the parka

Thanks to the Kimono cut and the bi-swing back the parka is unrestricting and comfortable to wear for me even though this is a size 50 and normally would be too small for me. It feels like a well cut Italian suit.

bi wing at the back

bi-swing at the back

Kimono Cut

Kimono Cut

Comfort is actually the main concern. On the inside of the collar there is even a softer fabric sewn to the chin area. The zippers are attached in a way which cannot come near the skin of the neck.

Chin protection inside the parka

Chin protection inside the parka

One always hears and reads that smocks are have a larger cut to allow additional layering for warmth. The cut of the S.O.D. Parka however correlates with the European sizing systems. A size 50 is a size 50 and therefore accurately fitting. A thick pullover underneath surely won’t be a problem but layering with multiple layers might become difficult.

Personally I would need a size 52, especially because of my long arms. With this smocks size 50 the sleeves are a little bit too short.

Conclusion:

The S.O.D. Gear Parka is definitely worth its money and you don’t hear that from me very often when it comes to apparel. On the one hand the products are not produced Far East but in Italy. On the other hand you can find a love to detail which does not come very often. S.O.D. Gear is known for its close cooperation with manufacturers to be able to offer a homogenous looking product. I think you can see what I mean by looking at this reviewed smock.

Everything from the fabric to the zippers and buttons is color and pattern matched. For the record: The regular “operative field parka” is not color matched in such an extreme way, but very close nonetheless.

This love to detail, paired with the high quality of workmanship speaks for itself. Adding to this is the high comfort level wearing the jacket.

Even though I would need a larger size for the jacket I don’t feel restricted in this one. The shoulders have enough room and you feel more like wearing a suit than a parka

In this spirit I would like to thank you for reading. Also I would like to express my thanks to the friend who borrowed me the jacket for this review!

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