PROVIZ REFLECT360 CRS PLUS VEST
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
February 28, 2019
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Steven M. Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
185 lb (83.90 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lb (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover from 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I also do several annual outings lasting four to five days covering distances between 15 to 20 mi (24 - 32 km) per day. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|PROVIZ REFLECT360 VEST|
Manufacturer: ProViz Sports
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.provizsports.com
MSRP: US $125
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 9.7oz (275 g)
Available Colors: Blue, Green, Red (Testing Red)
Available Sizes: XS - XXXL (Testing XL)
The ProViz Reflect360 CRS (Color Reflective System) Plus Cycling vest is designed in three distinctive colors, yet is 100% reflective. The websites states that the material has millions of tiny reflective beads embedded in the material. When a flashlight, or a vehicle's headlight, shines on the vest, these beads reflect the light back to the light source. This design allows a driver to maneuver away from a cyclist (or hiker) as their vehicle approaches.
The vest offers a tailored fit with 10,000+g/24hr breathability and 10,000 mm waterproofing. To clarify, a laypersons version of fabric breathability is typically stated in terms of how many grams (g) of water vapor can pass through a square meter (m2) of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24-hour period. In the case of a 10k (10,000 g) fabric, this would translate to 10,000 grams. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric. Some items go in excess of 20k breathability. As to waterproofing, this item at 10,000 mm is likely rainproof and waterproof under light pressure and best suited for light rain or average snow.
The vest has a fleece-lined collar for comfort, side zippered pockets and is machine washable. It should drip dry. The product was designed in the United Kingdom and manufactured in China. The primary zipper closure is on the left side of the vest.
The vest arrived and appears to be well made. I am testing a red one and the hue is pale and not vibrant. There are thousands of the reflective beads on it. They are symmetrical in pattern approximately 2/5 in (1 cm) apart, yet they do not feel like beads. When I run my finger and thumb up and down the fabric it feels flat, they are not raise in any way. The exterior of the vest is smooth and soft, whereas the inside is not so much. In fact, the inside feels a lot like a PVC jacket would. I certainly hope it breathes better than PVC!
The manufacturer stated the vest is a tailored fit and this is certainly true in my opinion! I typically wear a size Large in jackets, but based on the website sizing chart and wanting to ensure I had some roominess for hiking I decided to order an extra-large. The vest is designed primarily for cycling, but I have been tasked with testing in on the trail and it felt a little too snug in the chest and the armpits for my comfort. I will definitely need to go with an XXL. This may not be the case if the vest were to be used primarily for cycling, as a snug fit is appreciable in those instances.
I question if the snug fit is because it is primarily a cycling vest or because the product was designed in the United Kingdom. I have personally had trouble in the past with other products fitting me properly in the chest and shoulders when UK designed. Perhaps it is just my luck. My only concern with sizing up is the potential of the waist becoming too roomy, as has been a problem with the aforementioned items. Time will tell, and I will give follow-up in the Field portion of the test series.
Save the fact that this particular vest is a little snug, my only other gripe with the vest is the main zipper. A Euro-zip; that is the zipper is pulled with the wearer's left hand. That takes some getting used to by an American male.
The website actually was a little confusing to me when I first received the product and was looking to create this review. When I went to the site, it directed me to the manufacturers US website, which is boldly branded ProViz USA with an American flag imbedded in the marketing. I only mention this, because it took a little digging to realize this is a UK based company. The zipper caused me to do the research! The company has similar 'country' branded sites for Australia and Germany as well. The UK site is the only one without such bold branding sans national flag. This is all merely an observation that manifested from the zipper orientation.
What I can say is amazing is the reflection this puppy puts off! Notice the accompanying image. If an oncoming vehicle does not see me, the driver is either blind or texting!
|NO FLASH/CAMERA FLASH|
I am excited to get the ProViz Reflect360 out in the evenings! It's a little warm here in Tennessee right now and the daytime temperatures have been reaching 95 F (35 C), and the lows have still been around 75 F (24 C), but autumn is coming and I will certainly get some good use out of it!
I am excited about the reflective nature of the jacket for safety alone! I plan to use it on the trail and do take part in some evening runs. I currently only have to concerns with the vest. The first is the size of the one I have received. I hope the next size up does not make the waist too baggy, but if that is the case, I will have to accept it for the comfort factor while hiking. Secondly, the heavy 'PVC-feeling' nature of the liner give me caution concerning the breathability of the product. Again, it is 95 F (35 C) right now, so I simply can't verify if that will or will not be the case until I get some field testing behind me.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
28 - 20 September 2018: Parrish Reservation, near Rock Island, Tennessee. This was a 3-day and 2-night Webelos only campout with the Cub Scouts. We hold this annual event in our Scout Pack that is more typical of the camping the boys will do in Boy Scouts and prepares the fourth and fifth grade boys for outdoor trips using the patrol method. Weather was brisk in the evenings with lows around 49 F (9.5 C), but the days warmed up to around 70 F (21 C). There was no rain on the trip, but it had rained heavily earlier in the week making our river hike adventurous, as the levels were higher than I had ever seen on the Caney Fork and the trails were wet and muddy.
12 - 14 October 2018: Henry Horton State Park, Chapel Hill, Tennessee. This is our annual autumn Cub Scout Pack campout for the entire unit, including parents and siblings. We had nearly 100 folks overall on this 3-day and 2-night trip. It is car camping at best, but the Scouts did take a 3.5 mi (5.6 km) hike with all their essentials on Saturday afternoon. The first two days were great with weather around 65 F (18 C) for highs and 45 F (7 C) for lows, but as per usual, my "Rain Crow" nickname, the skies opened up as we were packing up on Sunday morning.
17 - 20 October 2018: Sedona, Arizona. My son and I went on a 1:1 trip for his 10th birthday to Arizona. We stayed in a timeshare in the evenings, but spent every day outside. One day we hiked to the top of Cathedral Rock in Sedona and on another, we visited a wildlife park, interacted with lions, tigers and bears, and were even able to feed them. We also spent a day hiking at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Wupatki National Monument and the Grand Canyon. It had snowed just days before and there was plenty on the ground for my son to make snowballs with...something that never happens in Tennessee during the Fall. We spent our final morning horseback riding at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood and then ventured up to the old mining town of Jerome. Each morning started out right around freezing, and most days were cool and brisk at elevation, but it did make to almost 70 F (21 C) one afternoon.
26 - 28 October 2018: Big South Fork National Forest, near Oneida, Tennessee. I ventured on a 3-day, 2-night outing in late autumn with my dog. We covered an 18 mi (29 km) loop over the trip Highs reached 60 F (15.5 C) and lows were just above freezing. I encountered no rain over the weekend.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I exchanged the vest for an XXL and the fit was much more appropriate in my opinion. Early on, I still was able to use it very intermittently as the weather remained quite warm throughout September and remained so even for parts of October.
Some evenings the weather was cool enough to wear the jacket on a walk with my dog around the neighborhood and I was able to use it in the evenings on three distinct outings over the course of the Field Report. The reflective properties are distinct when a vehicle's headlamps shine on the vest. On the Cub Scout outings, I became the hit of the evening with the boys. Their flashlights would light up the reflective nature of the vest and they thought it was the grandest thing. It was fun for a while, but the nature of a Cub Scout and a flashlight is that they have little to no realization when they are blinding you with their lights! The PVC like nature of the vest was still a little warm for me on many of the evenings on the outings, so I would normally keep it unzipped and could rarely wear it all evening. One evening, however, the vest came in very handy. We had a camp-kitchen area setup near the unit trailer. There was a stump that folks kept tripping on and stubbing toes. After I could take only so much of being blinded by Scouts, I removed the vest and place it on a hiking pole over the stump. Reflective and no more tripping over that!
I wore the vest on my solo outing, but did not see a soul the entire trip. It gets a little warm for me to wear while hiking, but it was comfortable will sitting around a small fire in the evening. It provided necessary comfort during my trip to Arizona, although I did have to remove it on more than one occasion while I was hiking up hill. I simply broke into a sweat each time I wore it. All these were day outings, so the reflectivity was not key on this trip.
By far the best use I have put the vest to over the last several months was when I wore it walking around with my son on Halloween. I had at least half dozen cars or golf carts stop and ask me about it while out Trick-or-Treating!
I also spent the week of Thanksgiving at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina with my family. Although I did not list this in the field locations, I did have a chance to wear the vest quite a bit that week. We spent most of the week riding beach cruisers all over town and rarely hopped in the van. The vest was great for this as it truly is designed to be a cycling vest. We even took our bikes to dinner one night on the bay and I was definitely the most visible rider in our group.
With the right sized vest, I have been happy to use it over the last several months. However, I would say the most appropriate uses I have found for it have been in urban settings. I am a little too hot natured to hike in it comfortably, and in the locations I tend to hike I rarely have a need for it...even at night!
It was great on Halloween and when biking in South Carolina and I enjoy taking my dog out in the evening and wearing it. I will continue to use it while camping and kayaking throughout the remainder of the series, but I truly have not found much use for it in the woods.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
5 - 10 December 2018: Suwannee River kayaking trip. This was a 5-day/4-night river trip originating near White Springs, Florida at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park and terminating at the Suwannee River State Park. The trip covered 41 mi (66 km) and we camped at river camps in the evenings. Mornings usually around freezing and daily high temperatures typically reached 50 F (10 C). The weather was clear and beautiful, however, for days and weeks prior to the paddle the local and upstream tributaries received record amounts of rain. In fact, the river was nearing flood stage on our first day and had it been a foot (0.3 m) higher we would have been prohibited from entering via a state park. The river camp hosts were required to abandon camp, so we had to camp at our own risk. Water continued to rise on the trip, but our seasoned group took multiple safety precautions and enjoyed the deserted river!
25 - 26 January 2019: Cumberland Cavern, McMinnville, Tennessee. This was an overnight outing with my Cub Scout pack in a local cave. The cave is a constant 50 F (10 C) annually and quite humid. The unit had a low impact 90 minute hike throughout the cavern that was approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) Then after some game time and enjoyment we had an adventurous tour that had everyone crawling on their hands and knees and even bellies for much of the tour. This event was not for the claustrophobic!
8 - 9 February 2019: Stone Door Area, South Cumberland State Park, Coalmont, Tennessee. This was an overnight outing with my same kayaking crew with the addition of my 10-year-old son. The evening was clear and cold. High temperatures started below freezing and fell to a low of 21 F (-6 C) by the following morning. It was quite chilly out, but we had an enjoyable low-key outing.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD & SUMMARY
Throughout the Long Term portion of the test series, I took the vest on multiple outings and evening neighborhood walks.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Most of my activity for backpacking and kayaking is done though the daylight hours, but there is always activity around camp in the evening hours that allowed for the reflective use of the vest. Gathering wood, taking my son on short hikes and particularly in the pitch-black darkness of the cavern trip.
In the cave when they turned the lights out completely for the evening I could not see my hand in front of my face, so of course my Cub Scouts loved shining their lights on the vest. That was most enjoyable part of the entire series, simply making these young boys giggle. It was quite humid inside the cave. I wore the vest on the low impact hike, but did not use it during the crawling portion. I exited that portion of the trip covered in perspiration with a light wicking shirt. Had I worn the vest I am certain I would have lost weight from sweating!
Around camp, the reflective nature caused comical comments from my backpacking and kayaking friends that are quick to rib a pal. Thick skin is needed with this crew. That stated two are riders and believed it would be ideal for their biking expeditions.
As this portion of the test series fell on the shortest days of the year, I often put the vest on over a light coat to take my dog on early morning and late evening walks. That is honestly the best use I found for this product! In moderate activity, it tended to cause me to perspire and become uncomfortable, but on walks with my pup, it kept me safe and even would have drivers stop on multiple occasions and ask about the reflective nature of the vest.
Therefore, to summarize, I find it to be a good product that I will continue to use in the future, but primarily for neighborhood use when cars are around and not in the wilderness. I would happily suggest it to anyone for a use like this or for biking.
I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and ProViz for the opportunity to test this product!
Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd