The Arc’teryx LEAF Combat Jacket, a basic yet excellent softshell layer.
In contrast to the Assault AR combat shirt discussed here recently there is very little if anything negative I can say about the combat jacket, at least if price isn’t factored in to the discussion. After being produced for many years as a flagship of the LEAF line these were quietly discontinued some time ago for reasons unknown to me. At this time there is no Level 5 jacket in the line up that is aimed at military users and offered in a camouflage pattern or with loop fields on the arms.
This possibly means a new jacket is in development though it is unusual for a brand to leave such a large gap inbetween ceasing production of an older model and beginning sales on a new one.
The best aspects of the Combat Jacket are the materials that are used and the simplicity of the design. The primary fabric is a type of the Tweave Durastretch you will find in some of the best softshell apparel available on the tactical market. I have spent a bit of time wearing an earlier revision (only real difference was CB velcro) of this specific jacket out in some late-winter adverse weather. It blocked the wind entirely as you’d expect and repelled the majority of a fairly substantial rainfall over the course of a good few hours before drying off quickly all the while remaining highly breathable. A huge step up versus the issue poly/cotton smocks that everyone else was wearing on the range that day.
In terms of features there is very little to discuss that isn’t covered in these images, which is a good thing frankly. Being a jacket a full length vislon zip is included and said zip is backed by a rubber-like storm flap. The collar is lined with a soft faced fleece type material for protection against rubbing by pack straps and slings etc. Upper arms feature 4×4″ loop fields with zippered pockets and the cuffs are adjusted by velcro.
The pockets are more of a climbing/hiking style having large opening and being mounted fairly high on the chest. Pocket linings are mesh such that the zips can be left open to provide ventilation if the included pit zips aren’t quite doing enough. Adjustment at the waist hem is an elastic cord that is tightened inside the main chest pockets so that any excess is always contained within said pockets.
Since this jacket isn’t available for purchase at the time of writing I won’t delve in to the production quality, but sufficed to say it is extremely high and the fit actually makes sense and is comparable to basically every other Medium sized jacket I personally have ever owned. The combination of the fabrics used and the intelligent approach to the exclusion of all but the truly necessary features keeps the weight and bulk of this design right down to a minimum. A compelling package all things considered.