5.11 Tactical is a well-known brand in the hunting, military, and outdoor space. For a while, its apparel catered to men only. Not anymore.
Earlier this year, 5.11 reached out to me about testing its new women’s apparel. After checking out the lineup and new offerings — categorized in “everyday,” “training,” and “outdoor” use — I settled on testing out a full-zip jacket. This jacket, which I have found out to be a great midlayer, hit the mark in terms of functionality in all three of those categories.
As a brand, 5.11 has always delivered on the “purpose-built” nature of its pants, shirts, and jackets, but this zip jacket — one of my first tops from the brand — really blew me away.
- Fabric: midweight polyester and elastane blend
- Features: reflective hits, hand pockets with internal mesh pockets, zipper garage on collar
- Fit: athletic, hip-length coverage, tailored women’s cut
- Weight: verified 12.7 ounces
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Price: $80
If you haven’t yet found a long sleeve/jacket layer that can stand up to weeks of backpacking wear-and-tear, the Tessa is the answer. Seriously. If you carry a pack often and need a solid midweight layer, the Tessa proved hard to beat.
I tested it on its own and a few times as a midlayer, at 30-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Its fabric, fit, and function were all stellar. And amazingly, this quality layer can be yours for just 80 bucks.
Another bonus feature I loved is the reflective detail just below the overlays on the front shoulders. These two reflective stripes make you visible from the front (car headlights and headlamps will find you) whether running, hiking, or anything else. It’s a small touch, but a functional and thoughtful one.
5.11 Tactical Tessa Full Zip Review: Final Notes
I wore this full-zip jacket hiking, running, and backpacking — sometimes layered, sometimes on its own. Most recently, I wore it on a fall/winter camping trip (temps dipped into the low 20s, and there was snow). It was by far my favorite thing to wear with my pack on once the sun was out and I could shed my outer layer.
It’s become one of my go-to full zip midlayers. Especially if I want something that can hold up to lots of activity and still look good.
Why? The weight of the fabric is on the thicker side, upping its durability. However, unlike most midweight zip jackets built for the outdoors that I’ve tried, it doesn’t hang or bunch underneath an outer layer. Nope, this jacket fits like a glove: it’s fitted where it should be but still offers a good range of motion. And it’s warm.
All in all, if functionality, utility and a spot-on women’s fit are front of mind for you, expect the Tessa Full Zip jacket to offer all of that and more.
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