Review: UF PRO – M2 Parka
UF PRO is known for introducing innovative apparel, but I have to admit the M2 Parka was one of the recent releases, which excited me the most. I am not sure if there is much more to say, since Armin presented the jacket in a very, very thorough video on the company’s channels already.
However, I can present to you my personal impressions, which I gathered so far – as well as detailed pictures.
As always, let’s start with a brief overview and some specs, before going into more detail.
The M2 Parka by UF PRO is an outdoor jacket made of EtaProof material and inspired by the classic M-65 design. It features 9 pockets and is equipped with Air Pacs on the back and the shoulders, to prevent thermal bridges as well as to provide cushioning against shoulder straps. It is highly water repellent while showing excellent breathability due to the 100% cotton fabric. Zippers on the side not only help with ventilation, but also provide better access to holsters on the beltline.
- Material: EtaProof (100% Cotton), 2-layer PU laminate (hood)
- Weight: 1,42 kg (size L)
- Properties: wind and water repellent, silent material
The UF PRO M2 Parka
The build up of the UF PRO M2 Parka is as follows. It features nine pockets in total: six on the front, two at the upper arm sleeves and one on the lower back. They are all configured differently so it is worth taking a closer look at them.
Two Napoleon style chest pockets on the chest feature not only plenty of room for larger items like maps, compasses etc, they also offer two paracord loops on the inside to fix lanyards or gear keepers on them. Additionally there is elastic webbing on the inside, with two large loops to fix larger items in there. The access to these pockets comes from the side and is closed by a sturdy YKK zipper. On these chest pockets you will also find large flaps, which close by velcro and open up a smaller pocket into these larger Napoleon style pockets. However, it is not a second access point, but rather another pocket within a pocket, made of mesh.
So these large chest pockets look as if the main access is on top, but in fact, the larger volume is accessible from the zippered side. This is way more ergonomic and practical.
Coming to the lower front pockets. These feature a folded flap, closed by Canadian slotted buttons. The inside has the same organizational features as the upper pockets. Next to two paracord loops you will also find an elastic webbing on the inside with two loops. Sized roughly the length of 4 fingers, these offer enough room to fix an Israeli bandage or other similarly sized items in place.
The upper arm pockets are closable by zipper as well and feature no internal organization options. They are roomy enough for larger items (think the volume of two fists). On top of them you will not only find a velcro area for insignia, or morale patches, but also a pen compartment, with a reinforced opening for the clip.
Last but not least, one can find a poacher’s pocket on the lower back of the M2 Parka. It can be accessed from the left and right, giving you excellent access when in the prone.
The collar itself is an excellent design, the hood as well. The latter is made of a 2-layer PU laminate, offering more water resistance than the jacket itself. It is folded up and kept in place by four push buttons.
As with most UF PRO jackets, this hood comes with their hood/harness system that acts like a cap and makes the hood move with your head. However, when folded up, it is quite stiff and presses into the neck. After some adjusting, this gets better and if you remove the hood/harness system (which is easily done via velcro) then the collar is even more comfortable. Speaking of which: in the neck area of the collar you will find a nice fleece material which gives a soft contact area to the neck.
Looking at the sides of the M2 Parka one will find a long YKK zipper that opens from the bottom all the way up to the sleeves. This two way zipper gives the user the option to make large ventilation openings from the top to the middle, or open the bottom up to provide better access to holsters on the belt. If you open it up in the middle, you will find a mesh material that acts as a stopper for insects and debris.
The bottom of the zipper is supported by a flap and a Canadian slotted button. To prevent the zipper from opening by itself.
There are several adjustment options on the jacket. You can adjust the bottom using a shock cord, to get a tighter fit around the bottom. Additional shock cord is also there for the left and right front of the middle area. And the middle back is fitted with an elastic webbing to provide a better fit.
The cuffs are adjustable using velcro flaps, giving you plenty of space to either have very open openings for your arms, or extremely tight one.
Closing and opening the jacket on the front is done by a sturdy YKK zipper and while there is no flap in front, you will find an excellent wind catcher behind it.
Quality of manufacture
UF PRO’s quality of manufacture is one of the best in the industry – one of the reasons for the continued success of the company. The M2 Parka is no exception in this regard. Etaproof as a material is amazing and those of you who are not familiar with it can read about it either here, or listen to Armin’s remarks.
One might ridicule the fabric as a hype, but the properties it is known for are actually that comfortable. There is nothing like it in terms of breathability and I can attest to this.
It feels like UF PRO used thicker Etaproof material for the M2 Parka, which gives the jacket a sturdy feel. The other materials used are just as high quality.
At the same time I was surprised to find some seams with threads not thoroughly cut at the end. I have to admit though, this is really criticism on the nerdiest of levels, as it really does not have an effect on the use of the jacket. I am just used to better quality control of UF PRO.
Coming to the fit and sizing of the M2 Parka, I can say it is true to size. With a weight of 80kg and 1,80m height, size Large fits very well with plenty of room to layer. Apparently UF PRO did some tweaking, as the M1 jacket from years back was not as great when it came to fit.
There is plenty of room for the shoulders and with the air pacs removed, the fit becomes a bit baggier. The cut of the jacket makes your shoulders look big either way.
The M2 Parka in use
So far I have had the chance to use the jacket during Spring, Summer and currently in Autumn. And I have to say, the M2 Parka is an amazing jacket, even if I do bitch about 1-2 things. It is well designed, excellently manufactured and features no-nonsense details that really make it work in the field.
The large chest pockets give enough room to have quick access to maps and small bino- or monoculars. The interior organizational features are well thought through and not too much. At times the elastic webbing in the front pockets at the bottom get in the way, if you simply want to put something inside, but at the same time they are really useful in keeping your items in place.
The flaps for the sleeve adjustment come from below instead of above. I admit this can be found in probably 50% of jackets, but given the size and corners of the parka’s adjustment straps, they tend to stand out a bit, and catch when moving your arms, so this took some time getting used to.
One thing about the jacket: It will get a crushed and stone washed look very quickly. This is a result of the fabric and its properties. I did not take pictures of it fresh out of the box, but The ones shown here were taken after a 10km hike under windy conditions. So it already saw some good use and is still holding up very well.
Some remarks on its performance. I mentioned a hike. During this we probably had 15°C and 30km/h winds, and the jacket was an excellent protection. The Air Pacs did their job preventing thermal bridges and all the pockets gave me plenty of room to store maps, my Monocular etc.
Coming to the Air Pacs inside the jacket. They are certainly a nice feature, no questions asked. More than once I had the chance to appreciate their insulation effect, as well as the padding underneath shoulder straps. However, if you want to remove them, only the large Air Pac on the back can be taken out. The ones at the shoulders are permanently sewn in. This creates bulk, when folding the jacket and is probably not ideal when washing the jacket. Since I am good enough at sewing, I opened up the mesh and created openings to be able to remove the Air Pacs – since then I haven’t put them in, to be honest. It also makes the M2 Parka fall more naturally from your body.
The UF PRO M2 Parka is an excellent example for the practical approach of its designers. One can tell that Armin spends plenty of time outdoors and puts much thought into the jacket. Looking at the layout of the pockets and the quality of manufacture, one has to admit that UF PRO outdid itself again. The parka is testament to the legacy of the M-65 design as well as old school materials.
When it comes to the aging effect: some will like it, some will hate it. As cotton loses color more quickly and is prone to abrasion, folds etc. the jacket will get a crushed look when packed, folded, washed etc. But at the same time it will gain its own patina and character. A property some people spend insane amounts of money for.
In any case, the jacket is certainly worth its money. It is not only sturdy, but versatile and simply looks good. I have no info if there will be a second run, as this was more of a love project of Armin – so this review actually might come late. Products like this are very niché for UF PRO and as the market for them is quite small, they keep the production runs limited. Depending on demand I am sure though, that more will be inbound.
With that being said, I want to thank UF PRO for making this review possible. Many thanks for reading!
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