Home Kit Reviews Clothing Helikon-Tex Pilgrim Anorak Jacket

Helikon-Tex Pilgrim Anorak Jacket

206
0
SHARE

Available here…

Background

Having been really disappointed by the Garphyttan Original Anorak, I was keeping my eyes open for a replacement. Although I liked the Fjallravenesque styling of the Garphyttan Anorak, I didn’t want to pay Fjallraven prices!

I was torn between the Pilgrim and Helikon-Tex’s Woodsman Anorak, but the Pilgrim won out due having more pockets.

This was always out of stock whenever I looked. There have been supply issues post COVID. So, when I saw they were in stock I made sure to order!

Description

I hope you’re sitting comfortably as this will take a while…

This is a VERY feature heavy garment. If you take nothing else away about this garment, there is a HUGE amount of careful design and attention to detail that has gone into its production.

Helikon-Tex state on their website that the anorak was designed by Survivaltech, A Polish company delivering survival, SERE and firearms training. They have an eclectic mix of instructors from a variety of backgrounds. This gives the company a very interesting skillset. A look through their blog shows that they have been actively working on a smock design since 2011. Their association with Helikon-Tex has clearly paid off for both companies due to the success of Helikon-Tex’s bushcraft line.

The shell of the anorak is made from a fabric Helikon-Tex call Duracanvas. Duracanvas is a Polycotton and elastane blend. This gives it a mechanical stretch as well as making it spark resistant for when you’re around the campfire. It is lightweight and quick drying, much like the old British Arctic smocks.

The fabric is solution dyed. This means that the colour goes fully through the threads of the fabric rather than sitting on the surface like on the Garphyttan. No little white dots along stitch lines on this garment!

Inside, the main torso area, the hood, and half the sleeves are lined with mesh. This has a couple of functions. Firstly, it provides a space for the pockets. They are all within this gap between the shell and the mesh. Secondly, it provides insulation. In cooler months it will help warm up the wearer. Now, you might think this would make the anorak too hot to wear in warmer times of the year. This has been thought of however. Firstly the length of the centre zip makes it a good place to vent some heat. There are also some nice long pit zips. Unlike competitors, who leave a gaping hole when they are unzipped, the pit zips on this anorak are mesh backed. This lets them open to vent, without disrupting how the garment sits on your body.

Pit Zip

Let’s talk about the hood next. It is a 3 piece design, with a peak, and 3 points of adjustment. This makes it very easy to fit comfortably to your face.

The peak seems to have a piece of foam inside it. This provides some rigidity when you are wearing it cinched tight, and helps to make sure any water being shed doesn’t just run down your face. As the peak is semi-rigid, I initially found that it rubbed on the back of my head when the hood was down. However, its rigidity means that you can simply tuck it back into the hood, where it stays happily out of the way.

Hood with Adjustment Points

The points of adjustment are via elastic draw-cords either side of the face, at the base of the skull, and via a hook-and-loop tab on the crown. The tab on the crown is attached to a flap which also provides ventilation. The elastic cord either side of the face is routed inside the anorak body, where it passes through fabric guides. This makes sure that any excess cordage generated by tightening the adjustments is tucked away inside the anorak rather than catching on everything as you walk through the trees.

The elastic adjuster at the base of the skull is concealed beneath a fabric flap, which also serves as a place to tuck away the excess elastic when it is tightened.

The elastic adjusters are held tight by cord locks I suspect are manufactured by Woojin Plastic, in Korea. These are high quality components, and although not as well known as Duraflex or ITW, are easily their equal in quality. The cord ends inside the jacket are finished with plastic cord ends over the knots to ensure neatness.

The torso of the jacket has two “Napoleon” pockets either side of the central zip, two lidded pockets on the chest and a pass-through pocket at the bottom. The “Napoleon” pockets are very deep, making it easy to fit a gloved hand inside. They stretch all the way across to the side seam of the anorak, giving a very large storage area. The inside of the pocket is the mesh lining of the anorak. There is a further slip pocket inside the “Napoleon” pockets which can take an iPhone 13.

On top of the “Napoleon” pockets are two lidded pockets. They are angled in towards the central zip to make it easier to get your hand into them. They have a bellows design so that they can expand out somewhat depending on their contents. The pockets also have a fold over closure, like a British issued smock, so that the contents can’t escape from under the flap. Inside the pocket there are loops so that you can dummy-cord anything you don’t want to lose. The pocket flaps have an interesting design. They are closed by a “Canadian” button at the end closest to the central zip. The button is concealed beneath the pocket flap. The other end of the pocket flap is bar-tacked into place. This gives a single point of closure and makes sure that the edges of the pockets don’t curl up as they do on a more traditional central button design. My only criticism of this design is that it reduces the size of the opening at the top. I don’t have big hands, but I caught the edges when putting my hand into the pocket. Someone with larger hands, or wearing gloves would definitely get caught.

All the Pockets!

The pass-through pocket at the bottom of the front has a wide, zipped opening at each end. Inside, it has mesh against the body and microfleece up against the shell. This makes it a great place to quickly warm your hands. Also inside this pocket, you will find another elastic draw-cord. This one lets you tighten the anorak around your waist to avoid drafts. As with the draw-cords on the hood, it has a high quality cord-lock and a plastic end cap.

Pass-Through Pocket

The central zip is very long, despite this being an anorak. It is fully from chin to navel. You will have no problem pulling it on over a helmet with NODs fitted, should you need to. It has a full-length, internal placket, with a chin protector at the top.

The sleeves have zipped pockets on the biceps which are fully mesh lined. They are surprisingly large. They will easily fit a big phone, like an iPhone 13, and have room to spare. They have nice, wide openings which are easily accessed with gloved hands. Some people will no doubt complain that there are no loop panels on the sleeves to festoon themselves with patches. However, I think this would detract from the clean lines of the garment.

The cuffs are closed and adjusted with hook and loop. It is not stated whether it is Velcro branded but, it is high quality nonetheless. The sleeves are wide without being baggy, and roll nicely if you want hero sleeves or to clear them out of the way to cook. The armscye is nice and deep too, so that you have a great deal of freedom of movement with out making the anorak ride up.

The bottom hem of the jacket is shaped to be lower at the back. This is a very common feature on modern jackets and smocks but, this anorak if longer than is normal. Other garments will still expose skin if you reach up or bend over, despite the dropped rear hem. The Pilgrim Anorak is longer in the body so that this doesn’t happen. It is long enough that you can comfortably sit on the bottom of the jacket when seated. There is a final elastic draw-cord in the bottom hem.

High quality trimmings are used throughout. I have already commented on the hook and loop. Very pleasingly the zips are all YKK. Nothing ruins a garment more than poor quality zips! The zip pulls are made from sewn fabric, and are adequate for their job. They are easily useable with gloved hands.

The construction is equally high quality. I have yet to find a sub-standard seam on the garment. Helikon-Tex clearly have very good quality control. There are no blemishes or loose threads anywhere on the anorak. The quality of manufacture is obvious right out of the packet. Especially in difficult areas like lining up all three of the zips on the centre of the garment.

The anorak looks good too. It’s very easy to concentrate on the practical features you want in a piece of clothing, only for it to have a very utilitarian appearance. Equally you can concentrate on the style of it and create something that is totally unfit for purpose. Helikon-Tex have managed to hit the sweet spot between both. It is an eminently practical anorak that looks good too. Further, they have been intelligent with the sizing. There is enough room to add layers, but it isn’t overly baggy if you wear it with just a base layer.

Helikon-Tex Offer the Pilgrim Anorak in three colourways. Taiga Green, Coyote, and Black. I understand that as part of their bushcraft range they are disinclined to offer camouflage options, but this would be awesome in Multicam or some of the other camouflages they offer like Desert Night or Tigerstripe!

Finally, the branding. I HATE large, ostentatious branding on outdoor clothing. Pay attention The North Face! Helikon-tex have opted for a very subtle embossed leather patch on the left sleeve.

Opinion

Where has this been all my life! This anorak 100% hits the spot for my needs. I usually modify my gear because there are things I don’t like or that I think could be improved. The only thing I have done to this is to swap out the zip pulls for hypalon ones from TRC Outdoors.

I absolutely love it. It’s very well designed, very well made, and has quality materials throughout.

Summary

An exceptionally well designed and constructed garment using high quality materials. This is the kind of item you will not need to replace for a VERY long time, unless you are particularly hard wearing with it…

Ratings

Cost – £££: £109 This is a high quality item. You will use this for a long time before it needs to be replaced…
Value for money 1-5: 5. You more than get your money’s worth.  Really high spec and well made.
Ease of use 1-5: 5, Well designed and well made.
Construction 1-5: 5, Well made with clear attention to detail in the construction.
Allyness 1-5: 4 If only they did it in Multicam… They would fly off the shelves!

This Kit Pest Review was written by Ben O’Toole. Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then leave a comment!