It’s time to stop buying used military surplus jackets gents. We need and must demand more from today’s menswear. I’ve been traveling on assignment for the better part of 20 years. That includes jumping in and out of the United States more than a handful of times, turning over dirt at nearly every OHV Park in the country, and more than my fair share of rainy nights in cities from Seattle to New York. The one piece of gear I never forget to take with me is a quality jacket. Something that will keep me warm, keep me dry, is comfortable to get in and out of, and has sufficient holding ability for my daily items.
If you take a peek into my closet, you’ll find a number of jackets that have been retired. Most did one thing really well, while failing at others. There have been a few winners though. All-around quality jackets that I will never let go of. Even with a few favorites, there was still something missing. A jacket that works well with inner layering when temps drop, pockets designed to hold specific items I carry, and rugged enough to withstand travel abuse. It seems I found what I was looking for. Meet the Tavik IN+ERFACE Collection.
The IN+ERFACE Collection is a combination of 1 rugged outer shell jacket with 3 optional interior liners. I chose the Izumi Jacket ($79) as my lightweight inner liner. This 100% cotton, mid-weight flannel is very soft and comfortable. The casual style is great for wearing alone as well. The jersey hood is perfect on damp morning coffee runs. The Izumi has taken up permanent residence in my car. It’s the perfect weight for Fall temps in the Southwest and looks great. I always keep it handy.
Patch chest pockets are large enough to keep your notepad, wallet, or other small items secure. There is also an interior pocket, though I don’t find myself using it at all. Considering how often I wear this solo, I do wish it had small hand pockets. I constantly find myself reaching for them.
Knowing I will need more than a flannel over the next few months, my next choice was easy. The Nomad Insulator Jacket ($80) has been perfect for mornings on the mountain and early morning surf sessions. Though it may look plain from a distance, this jacket is packed with Tavik technology. This lightweight quilted jacket is water-resistant and super warm. Think of it as a thermal blanket with pockets.
The interior stash pocket isn’t quite large enough for my iPhone 7 Plus, but I can toss my wallet, keys, or lip balm inside with ease.
The rib collar and cuffs keep your body heat inside and elements outside. I wore this every morning last week in Flagstaff with temps dipping down to 42 degrees. I was plenty toasty.
The jacket wears long, and I like that. The low-hanging tail keeps the breeze from shooting up your back when seated or crouching. It really does feel like a wrapped blanket. Notice the horizontal seam running across the lower back of the jacket. That and all other main seams surrounding the jacket have been reinforced. Over the past few months I’ve seen no signs of wear on the Nomad. It’s holding up great.
Now it’s time to get to the main ingredient. For me to truly endorse a jacket that is designed to withstand travel abuse, it needs to do a lot of things properly. The Tavik Ruger M65 Tech Shell ($175) has been hitting all the check boxes. Before I begin to tackle the tech found in the Ruger, can we stop for a moment and talk about how good it looks. The fit and finish is as good as anything I’ve previously owned. I’m 6′ tall, weigh somewhere around 190lbs., with a 32-inch inseam. I chose the XL size and happy I did. The cut contours the body well allowing ample room for zipping in inner liners while retaining full mobility. Unlike other parka’s I own, I do not feel encumbered by the Ruger.
Large hand pockets are tucked behind front lower pockets, keeping your stash away from your hands. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shoved wet hands into my pockets to grab my phone or cash. That problem is gone.
The Ruger has two pockets specifically designed for your smartphone. One on the chest that is also accessible from the inside, and another below opposite side. A small, rubberized hole is found at the base of the chest pocket allowing you to pass audio cables through.
Tavik’s signature Focal Camera Pocket is designed to hold your phone, an SD card and charging cable. When I first read about this feature I never thought I would use it. Now, I feel like if I’m not, something is wrong. I can stuff two SD cards in, the elastic band holding my iPhone cable is large enough to hold two small cables, and the phone pocket can hold phones up to iPhone 7 in size. Sadly, my iPhone 7 Plus will not fit. The depth of this pocket also makes it great doubling as a pen pocket.
Looking into the interior of the chest phone pocket reveals a designated place for Tavik’s FORM Backup Battery. It holds 1500-mAh worth of juice that should yield 8 hours of talk time. Okay, who are we kidding, text time. Comes equipped with a lightning connector built-in and fits nice and snug. I’ve been routing my cables as seen above. Phone in the pocket with media and battery cables through the lower port. Did you spy the cable routing along the zipper line? If you really want to be stealth, upgrade your stock Apple headphones to a set of Tavik’s Oblique Ear Buds. They sound great and the black cable keeps your phones presence low key.
Travel Tip: Smartphones are expensive, which is why they are now the most stolen travel item over wallets and purses. A set of white Apple headphone cables are magnets to thieves. They know you’re hiding a potentially $1000 phone in your pocket. I ditched white cables years ago for black. I highly suggest you do that same. The less eyes on your stuff while traveling the better.
Opposite of the interior phone pocket is a small mesh pocket that I’ve been using to hold my Field Notes notepad, passport, or airplane tickets.
The Izumi and Nomad liners zip into the Ruger with reversible zippers (One at a time of course). Cuff loops secure the sleeves inside and along the Ruger’s attaching with a fixed button snap. No more losing half a sleeve of one layer down the other. No more cuff bulking around my watch. No more liner shifting around my waistline. Zipped and snapped into place, it feels like you’re wearing one jacket.
Velcro closures circling the Ruger cuffs are another nod in favor of keeping the elements out.
A strong YKK zipper runs along the front with a compliment of buttons keeping the jacket secure against your body. I’ve had no issues with rain getting in, but I would have liked to see a waterproof YKK zipper used here. The water-repellent shell does a wonderful job wicking away moisture, but I am a little concerned how much water it will take to break through.
I did not notice the rear hunters pocket on the back right away. The zippers are hidden well and the dark color makes it barely noticeable. Lower rear pockets like this are a great place for soft items like gloves or bandanas. Anything you won’t regret accidentally sitting on. If you’re wearing a backpack, this pocket will most likely not be blocked.
I made sure to wear my lucky Chicago Bears cap to illustrate how far the rain bill extends over the front. Almost as far as the cap. More than enough to help drips stay off your nose.
I have a lot of good things to say about the Tavik IN+ERFACE Collection. Everything fits well, is comfortable to wear, has been holding up great with regular travel, and cost to value is spot on. This is a travel jacket system for the modern man. What I like most is although the Ruger is a very busy jacket with an assortment of pockets and tech spots, it’s not loud. Other M65 style ‘Field Jackets’ usually scream military or tactical. That’s not something I’m after in a travel jacket. I’m not looking to stand out. I need my gear to work for and with me without grabbing eyes.
This setup isn’t what you’d grab if you’re heading for an Arctic Expedition, or into the woods to go hunting. It’s designed for all the things in-between. An all-around solution for those that need a solid choice for getaways. Heading out on a road trip? The Izumi and Ruger have you covered. Going to explore and shoot photographs of the damp Oregon coast? The Nomad and Ruger would be a stellar combination. Or perhaps you live in a big city and need to something to toss over your sport coat while commuting back and forth to work without worrying about your belongings getting ruined from the abuse of subways, taxi cabs and public transportation. Not a problem.
After three months of being on the road with this gear, I recommend you give Tavik a look if you’re in need. Don’t miss the Thermite Fleece Bomber layer that is also part of the collection. Everything you need to know about the IN+ERFACE Collection is right here on their website. If you have a question, drop it in the comments. Making a purchase? Let them know you found it here. See you out there and thanks for sharing this with your friends!