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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Proviz Reflect360 CRS Plus Vest > Test Report by Coy Ray StarnesProviz Reflect360 CRS+ Vest
Review by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: September 16, 2018
Field Report: November 20, 2018
Long Term Report: January 18, 2019
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, and kayaking. I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally. Most of my hiking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most with some winter hiking mixed in. I don't like the hot and humid weather of summer unless I can escape to the mountains where it is cooler. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food and water.
Initial Report: September 16, 2018
The Proviz Reflect360 CRS+ vest is made of 100% polyester but that is a bit misleading since it is infused with millions of tiny reflective glass beads. It is also waterproof yet breathable. The reflective properties are designed to help cyclist be more visible, but since the vest is basically wind and waterproof it should serve well as a layer for wind and water protection, whether cycling or just out enjoying nature. The vest features 2 hand-warmer pockets that are plenty roomy. My big ole meat hooks fit inside easily and I can also fit my iPhone 6+ and zip it closed. Since the pocket is basically waterproof (not sure about the zipper) it will be nice to have a safe place to put my phone or anything else I need to keep dry. The pockets are identical and have an opening of approximately 6 in (15 cm). The main zipper on the vest is approximately 26 in (66 cm) long. It zips on the opposite side of any men’s jacket I’ve ever worn so it feels weird to operate. It zips all the way to the top of a generous 3 in (8 cm) neck collar that has a soft almost fuzzy liner they call micro fleece. The jacket I’m testing is green and the inside is black. The outside is covered in small black dots. I can’t tell if they are the inner material or what but the vest feels complete smooth when I slide a finger across it. The vest feels a lot like a PVC vest or jacket. It is not quite as stiff though but fairly noisy. It would not be ideal for hunting in my opinion but I seriously doubt that was ever a consideration in the design of the vest. One last observation, the CRS in the product name matches my initials (Coy Ray Starnes).
Trying it on
When I picked my size I used the online guide which showed I should fit in an XL. My chest measures 45 in (114 cm) and the XL fits up to 46.5 in (118 cm) chest. Unfortunately, this measurement doesn’t take into account my belly. And even sadder, it proved to be very snug on my belly, so much so that I felt I would not be able to fairly test the vest. I found the contact information on the website and shot them an email at the customer service email address explaining my dilemma and requested an exchange for a size XXL. I got a reply within a few hours with instructions on where to send my jacket and that the replacement would be shipped as soon as the return was received. I shipped my jacket on September 1 and received the replacement on September 15.
After getting the XXL I was anxious to try it on. I was very relieved that the replacement vest fit much better. It is still a little snug in the belly, something I really need to work on, but overall, it fits very well and once zipped the snug belly fit isn't very noticeable. I waited for it to get almost dark and snapped the following two photos. Even in the late evening light the vest glowed brilliantly when I used the flash on my phone camera.
The photo at the very beginning of the report was snapped an hour later after it was fully dark. All I can say is WOW! It sure does reflect light very brilliantly. This concludes my Initial Report.
Field Report: November 20, 2018
Test Locations and Conditions
I have worn the Proviz on numerous bike rides and day hikes. I carried it on an overnight hike on September 29 but with a low of only 66 F (19 C) and I did not wear the vest. My longest bike ride was 16 miles (26 km) at 53 F (12 C) and it sprinkled rain the last few miles. My day hikes were usually 2 or 3 miles (3 to 5 km) but I did hike approximately 5 miles (8 km) on November 8th. It was approximately 48 F (9 C) during this hike. My walks were split about 50/50 between road walks and on trails in the woods near my home. I usually pushed myself harder on the road since I was walking with my wife and she likes to keep a brisk pace. During my woods walks I was by myself and sauntered along enjoying the scenery and smells of the woods. My coldest walk was during a 2 mile (3 km) road walk at 41 F (5 C). My coldest bike ride was a 14 mile (23 km) ride at 51 F (11 C). I averaged walking about three times a week and bike riding about twice a week. The bike rides were much more intense though.
Field Test Results
The Proviz Reflect360 CRS+ Vest has proven to be very warm and wind resistant. This was especially appreciated when riding my bike on several occasions when temperatures were near 50 F 910 C). As a matter of fact, when it got much warmer than that I would get hot while wearing it. Even on the coldest rides I would start to sweat after about 30 minutes, but surprisingly, I didn’t feel hot. This would of course cause my shirt (usually a wool tee but occasionally a cotton one) to become damp. If I kept the vest zipped I stayed warm but if I unzipped it I would feel the cold on my damp shirt. After each ride I would take note of the inside of the vest. I found it would be wet, similar to how a heavy dew will wet something left out overnight. I would hang it on a chair in the kitchen with the inside facing out and it would dry to the touch in a few hours. Interestingly, the fleece around the neck usually remained dry but probably because I seldom zipped the vest all the way up.
When I wore it on my walks I found it performed better. And by performed, I mean it seemed to be more breathable. I suspect this was mostly because I wasn’t having to work near as hard as I have to on my bike on a steep hill, which pretty much all my bike rides involve. On walks to the holler which do involve quite a bit of climbing it still seemed more breathable than it did on my bike rides. Plus, at my slow walking speed I could unzip it not feel the same chill I felt on my bike. It was also much easier to remove when walking which I did when I got entirely too warm for the vest.
I’m still not crazy about the zipper being on the opposite side I’m accustomed to. It works fine but I’m not very coordinated when it comes to zipping from that side. I will say I’ve gotten slightly more adept at operating the zipper but it still feels weird. The fit of the vest has remained the same, meaning I haven’t lost my gut yet. This has meant that I only wore the vest over a single layer and my arms were exposed to cold even if I wore a long sleeve top. I found that wearing gloves helped but as it gets colder I’ll need to wear a light jacket over the vest. This will mean the visibility aspect of the vest will be lost. In other words, when it gets much colder I would be better served with the Proviz jacket. And lastly, I wish the vest had more pockets. A rear pocket similar to what is found on a cycling jersey would really be nice. I could carry more snacks or an additional water bottle and have a convenient place to store a light jacket. But as can be seen here, I really don't need more snacks...
I haven’t had a chance to really test the safety of the vest since my rides and walks were in the daytime. I did finish a couple of rides about 30 minutes before sundown and was passed by a few cars but the roads I frequently ride are rural with low traffic. However, I did have a policeman say that I was easy to see from a distance with the vest on. He happens to live near me and passed me several times over the past couple of months so I asked. This concludes my Field Report.
Long Term Report: January 18, 2019
It has been cold and rainy during most of the last couple of months. While wearing the vest temperatures have ranged from about 40 F (4 C) to 60 F (16 C). Any colder or warmer than that and I wore something more suited. I’ve wore it mostly while road walking with my wife and on a few more day hikes in the woods. I also managed a few more bike rides but the cold rainy weather put a damper on my riding.
Long Term Report Test Results
I really haven’t made any new discoveries during the last few months of testing. I did notice that when it was cold enough to need a layer over the vest it became pretty much pointless to wear it since I lost the visibility it offered. Even though it does add quite a bit of warmth when worn alone over a shirt it left my arms cold when it dropped much below 50 F (10 C). When I wore a jacket over it about the only thing it accomplished was making my torso sweat. This is not to say I didn’t find the vest extremely beneficial under the right circumstances. I still wore it on the few bike rides I managed when it wasn’t cold. When it was cold I would have been better served with the Proviz jacket. I also think a waterproof jacket would be more useful than a waterproof vest.
When I wore it while walking with my wife we usually went right after she got home from work so not in the dark. However, we did walk a couple of times so close to dark that it was dark before we got back home. When we did I would walk in the back so that approaching cars would see me first. It had nothing to do with her walking faster than me....
The Proviz vest is really in its element when going for a ride on my bike. Even when riding in broad daylight it is so brightly colored it sticks out like a sore thumb. The snug fit is also nice when riding. Along those lines, I really liked that it kept me reasonably warm without having to resort to a bunch of bulky cloths. My arms might get a little chilly but after riding a few miles I hardly noticed that. And while I would soak the shirt I wore under the vest, as long as I left it zipped up my torso remained very warm and toasty.
I went on a trip to Phoenix during the New Years period. I always wear a vest with multiple large pockets when flying to keep up with my personal belongings on the flight. The 2 pockets on the Proviz are small and due to the tight fit even less roomy than they could be. As a results, I chose to wear the vest I normally wear. Speaking of pockets, the Proviz vest would be more useful with a rear pocket like a cycling jersey would have. When walking there were several times when I had my water bottle in one hand and the wife’s in the other. When I hike in the woods I use trekking poles so need somewhere to keep my water, phone and other small items. The pockets on the Proviz were just barely big enough to keep my phone in. Of course I sometimes wore a small waist pack but a few more and bigger pockets on the Proviz vest would be nice.
Back to hiking in the Proviz vest. I found that my shirt under the vest would get very wet if I did anything more than a casual walk in the vest. This was never a big deal but not something I want to deal with when I’m out for an overnight hike and want to hike as late as possible and set up camp just before bedtime. I know I could change into a dry shirt at camp but I like to wait until the last possible moment before bed so it says clean. This would also mean wearing a damp shirt while I set up camp and prepare supper. For this reason I see myself using the Proviz for road walking and bike rides more than as a hiking vest in the future. Fortunately, it excels at both these activities, keeping me highly visible in daytime as well as dark conditions.
This concludes my testing of the Proviz vest. I would like to thank Proviz and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Proviz Reflect360 CRS Plus Vest > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes