Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alpha Industries M-65 - An In-Person(ish) Review

Remember a few weeks back, we posted an article on the classic M-65 fatigue jacket? Alpha Industries was kind enough to send me a sample a few weeks back, and I've finally found the time to snap some pics and write up a post!
Fresh outta the box.
First impressions? This thing seems like a beast. As in, it's much heftier and rugged than I was expecting - in a good way. I mean, it is a military-based jacket, so it makes sense that it would be built to take a beating, I just found myself impressed right off the bat. It also seems like it would be pretty darn warm, especially if you opted to add the additional liner.

Comes ready to insulate with buttons for an optional quilted liner.
Now, notice that I said 'seems,' and you'll find the biggest downfall - fit. And it's not even that it fits terribly. It's just super, super large. Using the sizing chart (and sadly, not doing my own research on the web), I started out with a small in the slim fit (for the record, I normally fit well into a 36R blazer). When the jacket came in the mail, I was swimming in it. Probably could have fit a whole second 'me' in the jacket with me. Oops. Ok, time to swap out.

Second time around, I went with an extra-small, crossed my fingers, and hoped I'd be off to a better start. Unfortunately, while not quite so comically large, the extra-small is still much too large for my scrawny self.

Still might be able to fit another smallish human in this bad boy.
So! First lesson: these jackets run big. If you are anywhere near a small guy, you probably want to look elsewhere. If you aren't so tiny, just be sure to order at least one size down.

Second lesson: even sized appropriately, this is definitely not a 'fashion' coat, and is built for a military man to be able to move and operate comfortably. Most significantly, that means very wide sleeves, as well as a less fitted cut throughout the body.
Though the picture doesn't do it justice, you can get an idea of the width through the sleeves.
That said, some tailoring can make these look pretty damn sharp. Check out this entry by The Nordic Fit for some more information on your alterations options.

Now, after all that, I don't want this review to come off entirely negative by any means. Besides the aforementioned durability and warmth, there's still a lot to be admired. Since I haven't gotten to wear the jacket out, I can't comment too much on comfort or break-in, but I did put together a little list of attributes I dig, as I sit here wishing I could grow a few sizes overnight:

Removable Hood: For some reason, I expected this to roll up bulkily in the collar, but instead, the collar pouch extends into the back, and the hood becomes almost unnoticeable when stashed away. Maybe this is par for the course for a jacket of this type, but I'm a newb to the style and I'm impressed.

Durability: Yep, I know I've said that like, twice already, but it really is a huge part of the appeal - for just $150 you're getting a jacket that will withstand the test of time. And even as it does start to break in, it's just going to look better and better, and likely become more and more comfortable in the process.

Pockets Pockets Pockets! 
So many pockets, but well placed - you could find places to store half of your worldly belongings, but it doesn't look like a walking duffle-bag. 

So, not a real in-person review, but hopefully there's some useful information here. If any of you have had the pleasure of rocking an AI M-65 of your own, and would like to give your review, I'd love to hear it and maybe share it with the crowd!

Also, the PR folks who hooked me up with the AI connection are working with me to look into an alternative that will fit better for a more thorough review, so keep your eyes open. 

No comments:

Post a Comment