Viper Soft Skin Jacket
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- Last updated: 26/01/2017
Bill Thomas gets to grips with what promises to be the start of some exciting new products from this established UK Brand.
Like many of you out there I am a BIG fan of technical clothing and for cooler environments I’m a great believer in soft shell garments. Over the years there has been a raging and ongoing debate about what a soft shell is intended for, and what makes it different from a hard shell; these days the debate is even more intense as even soft shell garments are coming fully taped in the seams and offer the full weather protection of the “hard” counterparts!
Prices have correspondingly gone out through the roof when it comes to the offerings from many “tacticool” manufacturers so it’s great to see a company offering a solid piece of gear with a sensible price tag. I’ve been around Viper gear for many moons and in the past they have unashamedly made kit to a price, but kit that has served countless soldiers and professional users around the world very well.
More recently they’ve really looked hard at their tactical clothing line and have been coming through with some neat designs using some great fabrics. And so it is with their latest Soft Shell jacket, the “Special Ops” which is put together using a waterproof polyester outer fabric laminated to a soft inner fleece lining. I would describe the jacket as being highly water resistant rather than waterproof though; whilst the outer fabric itself will keep out the worst of the elements the seams are not taped which means that water will find an ingress point after prolonged exposure.
The feature set on the jacket is completely solid. There are four main zip pockets where you would expect them on the front, with two additional pockets high on the arm, and one over the left wrist; the two upper arm pockets have velcro areas ideal for attaching your unit or morale patches. Internally there are two further pockets for securing those bits of kit that need additional security. The front closure is a two way YKK zip, and tucked away neatly in the collar is a full hood, which is peaked and fully adjustable. The wrist closure is looked after with an elasticated cuff and some very neat moulded “VIPER” velcro closures.
In use this is an exceptionally comfortable jacket to wear. The body length is great, covering the lower back well, and the cut of the sleeves offers great movement whilst maintaining full coverage. The fabric is good and tough and I can tell that it’s going to stand up very well to wear and tear and offer a lengthy service life. Initial impressions of performance have been positive thus far, with the jacket remaining eminently wearable even in more wet and humid Spring conditions.
Overall there is nothing to fault with the “Special Ops” Soft Shell jacket, and at the price this is most certainly a garment that you’ll want in your collection, especially for the Spring and Autumn. Available in a full range of sizes from Small to 2XL, the jacket comes in Black, Green and most excitingly in Vipers own new camouflage pattern, “Vcam”. Viper have developed this pattern to work alongside Multicam and MTP, and although there are obvious differences to both patterns it does work very, very well with them.
There’s more exciting news to come from Viper later this year, which again will feature Vcam, but for now I would thoroughly recommend that you give their Special Ops jacket a very close look!