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I’ve been intrigued by Kryptek’s patterns for some time. Top tier warfighter gear companies like LBT and Mayflower are adding Kryptek to their offer and this was an additional factor which helped persuade me that Kryptek is not a hipster psychedelic fashioncam. Although it is cool and it does look a bit psychedelic.

Kryptek is also a finalist in the US Army’s Camouflage Improvement Effort.

So, needing a new airsoft fleece and seeing that Kryptek offered one, I decided to have a punt on the Kryptek Sherpa Shirt in Highlander pattern.

As far as I can make out, Kryptek’s Highlander pattern is the most multi-terrain of their offer and is referred to as transitional.

I ordered direct from the Kryptek Store in the US. Shipping via USPS was a ridiculously cheap $9.99 and the fleece turned up in a couple of weeks. I’ve added a Customer Service category to this post because of that.

When I received the fleece, I thought it was a bit too big. I’m sort of between medium and large, so I went safe with large. To put this in context, I’m either medium or large in Arc’teryx kit (depending on style), large in Patagonia and medium or large in Rab; but always medium in North Face (TNF) and Triple Aught Design. And, in fairness, TNF consistently the best fit.

However, despite my first impression, after comparing the Kryptek Sherpa to my ‘around the house’ Arc’teryx Delta LT fleece, it’s about the same size. Just longer in the arms – and I mean a lot. The cuffs have thumb loops, which kind of explains the extra arm length, but the sleeves still seem longer than they need to be – even taking reaching up and my T-rex arms into consideration. But no matter – they narrow at the wrist, so keep out of the way. The extra length in the body is great, if you like tucking your top into your trousers, or you reach up a lot.

The materials used and standard of construction look good. I’d put it somewhere between TNF Summit Series and Arc’teryx/Patagonia. I’m not sure how hard wearing it will be and I think I remember reading that some of Kryptek’s in house designs sacrifice a little durability for high speed. I’m guessing this design is one of them – but more on that later.

The camo print is good and the item has nice details like an embroidered Kryptek logo, proper zip pulls etc. The Napoleon pocket is extremely useful and carried my phone, keys and wallet nicely, while in the field, without looking like a orange in a sock. The collar stopped my sling biting into my neck. The quarter length zip allows easy donning and removal, plus a means to ventilate…and stow my gloves, when fine motor skills are required.

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The fleece material is non-branded and is of the grid variety. Grid fleece is good in one way, because it offers less bulk and is more packable than an equivalent standard fleece. But, if the grid is exposed on the outside of the garment, it’s liable to tear on sharp objects (don’t get me started on my ripped Arc’teryx fleece story). However, Kryptek’s grid is on the inside of the fleece. The outside is smooth like Powerstretch. This also makes it easier to slide on an outer layer, if required.

In use, due to the smooth face outer, the fleece fluffed up a little at various contact points from the very first game: on the outside of my right arm – where I came in contact with brick walls – on the inside of the arms – due to my belt’s mag pouches – and around the belt area. Not bad fluffing (if you’ll excuse the pun), but it’s not as hardy as I’d like. Some may say I shouldn’t be wearing a mid layer as an outer layer – but I would argue there’s no point in applying a camo pattern to a true mid layer.

Aside from the of wear and tear, I’m really enjoying using the fleece and it seemed to be ergonomically cut, fast wicking, fast drying, highly breathable and toasty warm; though easy to ventilate further using the quarter length zip. Everything you want from a fleece meant for active use, really.

Couple of in game Kryptek pics. I travel light…

This is actually the Valhalla Minimalist Shirt, but you get the general idea. I think the Highlander pattern depicted is OK for autumn/winter but as UK woodland greens up, the Mandrake will be better.

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Comparison with other modern camos. L-R, Kryptek Highlander, MC, ATACS FG, ATACS AU.

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