Massif ITJ Soft Shell Jacket - Updated with water test, scroll all the way down

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Massif ITJ Soft Shell Jacket - Updated with water test, scroll all the way down

Post  Gear Whores Anonymous on Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:22 pm

I'm always on the prowl for the newest and coolest tactical apparel. With my primary soft shell being a Patagonia PCU level 5 jacket I wanted something different, tactical, and tan. Enter the Massif ITJ (Integrated Tactical Jacket). I eyeballed the TAD soft shells but it was just too expensive. Although I'm sure it's a fantastic piece it was beyond my budget, especially for being made in China.

This is what I wanted:

-Made in the USA (always a prerequisite for my gear)
-Tan / Coyote
-Soft shell
-Velcro on the sleeves (duh!)
-Preferably a hood
-Waterproof or repellant
-Price sub $200 range
-FR was not an issue since it would be worn more as casual than tactical

I'm not sure where I originally saw the ad for the ITJ but I remember that it said they would be exclusively selling the jacket through USCAV.com (now apparently you can only buy the tan model there but black and OD is available through Massif direct). I instantly had to see what it was all about and I liked what I saw. Minus the hood it had all the features I wanted. Also the price point was only $119 even for being made in the USA. So like any true gear whore, I impulse bought it.

USCav product page:
http://www.uscav.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=21278&tabid=548

Manufacture page:
http://www.massif.com/massif-gear/jackets-non-fr/integrated-tactical-jacket.html

Massif used a darker more mocha brown on the inside and a lighter tan on the outside. My guess is because one tends to sweat more on the inside and the darker disguises the perspiration better, same with under the pits.

(color resembles first shot, was having an issue with light balance on the camera):



Here with the sleeve up you can see they also included the darker brown trim. One thing I noticed is that they left out breathing holes for your arm pit. Either mesh holes or a zip opening would have been great especially if worn under a warm stinky plate carrier.



Collar is zippable all the way up which then seals with a velcro tab. Zip a bit down and you are able to fold it down for more casual use. Massif even topped off their main zipper with a rubber Massif logos pull tab, jet black. I'm a fan of small details..






Back of the collar when flipped up reveals Massif's log in coyote. (Love their logo and they plugged it in well here. Nothing obnoxious)



Moving down to the chest pockets. There are 2, left and right. More than generous amount of space and are mesh lined and seal up with a zipper (more on the size of the pocket in further images).

Small detail here I liked was that all the zippers are hidden by extra flaps. This keeps them quiet and from snagging. Also gives the jacket a more "stealth" appearance. Some of my other jackets have tons of pull strings from the zippers flying all over the place.

You may be wondering why the pockets are way the hell up here, well that's because this was designed to be worn underneath a vest. If the pockets were any lower they'd be inaccessible with a vest on. With that being said I'm not a fan. Why? Well because I bought this jacket as an everyday jacket. It's a catch 22 because the pockets ARE in the right place BUT at the same time they are not, well at least for what I wanted. I really wish they make a 2nd gen with lower pockets in conjunction with the upper. As of right now the chest pockets are useless to me unless of course I decide to wear it under my vest.





The side arm pockets are what you'd expect from any combat shirt or tactical jacket. Big in size, zipper, and velcro. Plenty of velcro space on both sides, just enough for your GWA patch heh

Pocket is also sealed with the extra flap to hide the zipper.





This too is mesh lined but also includes a smaller inner pocket for a cell phone or other gadget of similar size.



The wrists are sealed up tight with a velcro rubber tab (so very soft). Yet another innovation here, normally when you adjust a wrist size you tend to have a lot of extra material that just gets bunched up. This jacket however has a neat trick there is another strip of material that folds in and over. This is easier described with the following images.

See the middle triangle piece?


And now you don't, adjusts very clean and flush.


Before I turn the jacket inside out (yes you heard me right) a quick word about the stitching and materials. The stitching is top notch, as you can see in my images they are extremely consistent and very tight. The materials are also unbelievable, the very definition of a "soft" shell. This is one of the advantages of a more premium brand. The Chinese stuff just don't stack up (with my China hate aside), their materials are usually too rough or stiff. One more thing about the materials is that it doesn't have the trademark "swoosh" sound when walking around. Although it does have it and just slight it's a very quite soft shell jacket.



Turning this thing inside out, it'll give more perspective on the size of the pockets and quality of this jacket.




Chest pockets like I mentioned above are more than plenty



Here is something I also wish they included, a bungee pull for adjustment on the bottom of the jacket. Would be nice, if needed, that I could tighten up the bottom real snug.



The zippers run real smooth. Up and down effortlessly. Again unlike some of the Chinese jackets these zippers work and I'm confident will work for a very long time. Zippers are not YKK but with some research reveal that they are fantastic in their own right AND made in the USA. YKK if you didn't know are made in Japan.

Jacket only utilizes a single zipper and not a dual. This means that you have to unzip top to bottom everytime and doesn't allow easy access to under layers. Some other jackets have dual zippers which you can unzip bottom to top to access bottom layers.

Also notice the first image how there is also a flap that goes up against your body and keeps the zipper from snagging on your other clothes or your skin.




Arm pocket inside out. Notice that it too is very large and will accommodate a lot of items. Notice the angled inner pocket for easy access.



A shot of the arm inside out, shows you the extra material and work that went into the transforming sleeve heh



Finally, the bottom inner tags with care instructions. Note again that this jacket is NOT FR. Not a big deal since I don't need this. Not having FR saves both Massif and you quite a bit of money in cost.




Final thoughts. The Massif ITJ although not perfect it more than satisfied what I wanted. Price is unbeatable, made in USA, fantastic materials, excellent stitching, and downright comfy. The ITJ is also true to size, so if you normally wear a Large then you buy a Large. Big thumbs up for Massif producing this 100% in the USA, right down to the zippers. I own a few Massif items and I've come to conclusion that I would trust anything of theirs to last, for a very long time.

PS, I didn't take any shots of the jacket being worn with a plate carrier only because this review was more from a casual standpoint.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Water test images
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few asked about the water resistant capabilities. I took a small bowl and filled it with water to dump on the jacket



In order to test if the water would seep through, I lined the inside with a single layer of toilet paper. Since tp is quite thin it would show even a single drop of water. Lined the inside then zipped up the jacket to also test the seal of the zipper.




As I poured the water I snapped a picture:



Here is the after picture of the water on the jacket after pouring all of it from the bowl:



Closeup of the puddle and some droplets on the arm:




After I let it sit for a few minutes, I picked up the jacket from the shoulder and let all puddles come off BUT did not wipe anything off. Some droplets remain but no penetration or heavy damp spots:



I opened the jacket to check the tp. When I picked up the jacket some of the paper bunched down so I did move back into place. However they remained in place while testing. No tampering. The wet spots on the right was due to me moving it with a slightly wet finger. All the tp remained dry.





*Disclaimer: the above written words are my own personal honest opinions and thoughts.

Gear Whores Anonymous
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