Back in 2016, the well-known Polish manufacturer of military tactical, hunting and outdoor equipment, Helikon-Tex, introduced a new extended concept for classifying its products, which was called HTX and was divided into seven areas (Urban, Outback, Range, Bushcraft, Patrol , Surplus, Medical). Simultaneously with the new directions, several new products were announced, including Cumulus and Stratus fleece jackets, which became part of the HTX Outback line — various technical clothing mainly for outdoor.
The Stratus and Cumulus are relatively loose-fitting and use identical materials. At the same time, the Cumulus version is distinguished by the presence of a hood, the position of the front pockets, as well as the presence of two open mesh pockets on the inside. Otherwise, these two models of fleece jackets are almost the same. Since I planned to use the new fleece jacket directly on hikes, my choice fell on the Stratus version, mainly due to the lack of a hood that would conflict with other layers, as well as the more convenient position of the front pockets, provided that backpacks with cargo belts.
For the manufacture of the HTX Stratus Heavy Fleece (BL-STC-HF) fleece jacket, a polyester fleece material with a declared density of 320 grams per square meter is mainly used. In addition, the design uses a polyester mesh material that forms the ventilation flaps and lining of all pockets, as well as a stiffer and denser material that further strengthens the collar, shoulder area and elbows. Compared to the HTX Classic Army Fleece, the Stratus fleece feels denser, but due to the lack of lining, the overall jacket is less dense and more breathable. The weight of the jacket in size L (Large) is about 680 grams.
The quality of the jacket, at least my «copy», without exaggeration, is at a fairly high level, although it was sewn in China. Only in two places, along the bottom edge and armpit, I noticed not quite parallel seams, which in general does not have any significant effect on the functionality and strength of the product. At the moment, there are no complaints about the materials and accessories used, all used YKK Vilson brand zippers.
The HTX Stratus Heavy Fleece jacket turned out to be quite comfortable and versatile, it allows you to compactly combine different layers of clothing, both on the inside, thanks to a very loose fit, and on the outside, due to the rather low-profile arrangement of the main elements. The jacket does not restrict movement and works great with various models of hiking and military-tactical backpacks, including those versions that have an unloading belt. The level of vapor permeability, subjectively, is also at a fairly high level when compared with similar products from other brands. In addition to ventilation valves under the sleeves, you can additionally use the front pockets with mesh lining.
The design of the fleece jacket includes a high collar with reinforced padding, reinforced shoulder area, low back with volume adjustments at the bottom edge, slightly longer sleeves with reinforced elbows (30 x 18-11 cm) and elastic cuffs, the cuffs are not adjustable. The jacket is fastened with a YKK zipper with two versatile locks, the locks are complemented by guy wires. The jacket has only four main pockets, and this is more than enough. The main pockets are closed with a YKK zipper. Two pockets (18 x 16 cm) in the shoulder area, which are complemented by Velcro panels (11 x 9 cm) on the outside, and two large pockets (32 x 24 cm) in the front with small open pockets inside (8 x 8 cm) ).
To date, the HTX Stratus Heavy Fleece (BL-STC-HF) fleece jacket completely satisfies my needs, it is quite light, compact, works great as an insulating and outer layer, and also does not conflict with the suspension systems of various backpacks. For my height of 185 cm, I ordered a model in size L (Large) and in a solid olive color Taiga Green, the order was placed directly on the manufacturer’s website, where it is priced at 53 euros.