We are going to follow upon a previous article you might recall regarding the WINDSTOPPER® Patrol Soft Shell from Forum Industries. Another jacket from Forum Industries is the GORE-TEX® Lightweight Patrol Shell; in simpler terms, a rain coat. The Lightweight Patrol Shell is the waterproof cousin of the Patrol Soft Shell. When these two jackets are used together, you get the warmth and comfort of fleece with the water proof protection that GORE-TEX® is so well known for. Both jackets are almost identical with a few exceptions. The Lightweight Patrol Shell obviously has GORE-TEX® instead of WINDSTOPPER®. There is also no insulation like the Patrol Soft Shell had and the draw cord is captured nicely in the jacket and doesn’t get in the way or hang down. The plastic cord stop/keeper on the draw string does make some noise when it rubs against kydex holsters. For that reason and as I mentioned in the other article regarding negligent discharges, I removed the draw cord.
When I received these jackets, I was told to try wearing both, one for warmth and one to keep dry. I did try that a few times and felt it was a bit awkward because the jackets don’t fasten together. You are just wearing one jacket over the other. I also did not like trying to fasten the side zips of two jackets around my holster. It was too bulky for me and I decided that I would wear either one jacket or the other but, not both at the same time.
Forum Industries says on their website that this jacket offers “Durable water resistance in light precipitation.” I can tell you that it does better than that. I have worn this jacket in some heavy spring rain showers and it kept me nice and dry. I think they were being modest. Both jackets are very nice looking, have worn very well, and still look good. I’ve washed them both several times and they perform as good as new. They lend themselves well not only to on duty use but, recreational use also. Neither of my jackets has patches on them so I have also worn them when I was off duty.
The outer shell is treated with Gore’s “durable water repellent” finish. This treatment provides the water beading properties. Water will bead up on the shell and can be wiped or shook off. Don’t let this special coating prevent you from washing the jacket when needed either. Gore actually recommends washing the jacket if it becomes soiled by dirt and grime. Contaminates can degrade the beading properties of the finish. Machine wash and dry the jacket and the water beading properties return with no issue. With that said, the GORE-TEX® membrane will keep you dry but, if the water doesn’t bead off because the outer shell is dirty, you will almost feel wet or damp because of the cold water being held back by just the GORE-TEX® membrane itself. Not to worry, you are still dry; you’ve just lost the beading effect. Wash the jacket and you’ll be fine. The cuffs on the wrist have hook & loop type adjustment.
The jacket is offered in an “Ike” length and a standard length. The Ike sits right at or just above your gun belt while the standard length goes below the gun belt. The standard model has side zippers and button closure elastic tabs to wrap under and behind your holster to keep the side of the jacket secure and out of the way. The GORE-TEX® Lightweight Patrol Shell also has four pockets just like its cousin; two hand pockets and two breast pockets. All of the pockets have zipper closure and the pockets are sewn into place to prevent pulling the pockets inside out. All seams are taped and sealed in accordance with Gore’s manufacturing process so they don’t leak.
Forum Industries can also customize the jacket’s pocket style, provide badge tabs, epaulets, and concealable reflectors. The can also remove standard items you might not want to give the jacket a more covert appearance.