The Tencate booth features a prototype combat uniform design by Serket in Defender-M fabric printed in the Kryptek Highlander pattern.
“Serket set out to find the best wool sock in the outdoor industry and all roads led straight to Point6,”said Serket President, Trey Harris. “Point6 founder Peter Duke is one of the originators of the high-performance, high-quality Merino wool sock. This partnership allows Serket to bring the best the outdoor industry has to offer to the men and women of the armed forces.”
The Serket line of socks use the highest quality Merino wool fibers combined with state-of-the-art spinning and knitting techniques to create exceptionally soft Merino products. A high-tech spinning process allows for implementation of more Merino fibers per inch, creating remarkably soft wool that is never scratchy, itchy or bulky and more resistant to pilling and wear than traditional wool. I’ve been wearing the two models shown in the photos for the past few weeks and they are great. Granted, I’m quite familiar with the Point6 brand, and won’t hesitate to recommend them. My experience with Point6 is that they are heardwearing yet very comfortable.
Available in Light, Mid and Heavy Weights, the socks are offered in a variety of heights to effectively interface with a variety of boots and climates. Serket socks are made in the USA with both TAA compliant and Berry compliant Merino wool blends.
-Light, medium and heavy weights
-Mid-calf and lower calf or crew heights
-100% domestically sourced Merino wool
-Engineered with a precise anatomical fit
-Unique looped toe closure which eliminates sewn seam and irritation over toes
-Extra cushioning under foot and around leg to protect against pressure points and boot chaffing
-Reinforcement in wear areas
-Deep heel pocket
-Exceptional cross stretch
-Naturally anti-microbial and odor resistant with superior moisture management capabilities
-Available colors include Coyote Brown, Desert Sand, Predator Tan and Black.
Early evaluation among users in the military and LE communities has yielded very positive reviews. A forward deployed operator with NSW Team Four remarked, “I am highly impressed with the Serket-Point6 sock. It holds up well, remains comfortable and seems to be the best balance I have seen between comfort and durability. “
For more information or to hear what other customers have to say about the Serket sock, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org .
New Balance developed an FR bra and boy short to fill the capability gap in the Army’s Fire Resistant Environmental Ensemble. They were designed for New Balance by a former Moving Comfort employee with a great deal of experience creating performance undergarments for females.
New Balance models in a similar fabric are already issued to deploying females in the Air Force, the bras and boy short are currently stocked at AAFES MCSS in 120 stores for private purchase.
The folks at Program Manager-Special Operations Forces Survival, Support & Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES) office at the U.S. Army Soldier Research Development, and Engineering Center, Natick, MA have been pretty busy. Recently, they issued RFIs for Snow camo and Overwhite garments. Now, they are seeking FR combat uniforms for test and evaluation purposes as well as the the fabric that the garment is made from.
PCU level 9 Photo – US Army SFC Keith Turner
This is a pretty interesting Sources Sought Notice on a variety of levels. First off, with one exception SOF have not been using FR uniforms. MARSOC has been purchasing FR combat uniforms in Woodland camouflage from several sources for the past few years. Second, they already have an approved combat uniform that was developed specifically for their use and that the PCU Level 9. Finally, Natick has tested virtually every FR uniform fabric available. In fact, the results of that testing is available in the same building as PM-SOF SESS.
The desired characteristics in this RFI are generic at best and you can see those quoted below. If the desire is to field an FR combat uniform for SOF that can be accomplished in one of three fashions with little to no risk.
Both the US Army and Marine Corps already field FR combat uniforms in the form of the Army Combat Shirt and newly developed Army Combat Pant and the Marines field the Fire Resistant Operational Gear ensemble. Another option, if neither of those garments meet SOF requirements is, to take the approved PCU level 9 uniform and manufacture it from one of the myriad of FR fabrics currently available.
SOCOM is seeking:
This uniform will consist of two garments; pants and combat shirt. Both will be produced with materials which provide fire resistant performance characteristics. The design and material performance characteristics are detailed below. All garments submitted to this solicitation will be reviewed and evaluated for operational efficacy. This uniform is intended for use by USSOCOM Operators, and as such must be effective in all operational environments, and be compatible with all Operator equipment.
* Sized in 2-inch waist increments
* Two front hand pockets
* Two back pockets
* Two large pleated cargo pockets
* Mechanism at lower leg hem to allow for fit adjustments of pants legs
* Collar, shoulders and sleeves shall be the same material as the pants and blouse
* Torso shall be a lightweight, moisture-wicking material
* length zipper across the center front
* Two upper sleeve pockets
* Sleeves shall have adjustable tabs at the wrists
Material physical performance:
In addition to the physical performance, any material submitted must be capable of being produced in military camouflage patterns and meet associated near-infrared requirements.
Interested companies are asked to submit one sample of the each garment, pants and combat shirt, in order to demonstrate the design. These samples must be produced in the material that is being submitted. In addition to the sample garments, please include 3 yards of the material to be utilized for physical performance testing, as well as a report showing any test results already obtained for the material. Pricing and size range for each garment should also be provided. Submissions must be received by 16 May 2013. Each company is authorized only one design and one material submission.
Currently, there are only two manufacturers that offer both their own FR fabrics as well as finished goods made from that fabric so this is a pretty curious RFI. Everyone else will be offering combat uniforms in someone else’s fabric. So the question is, what are they actually looking for? Garment designs or FR fabric solutions? Government solutions for both are readily available. Granted, a true FR solution must combine garment design with FR materials to ensure it provides ample coverage but generally, this involves tweaking of an existing garment once an FR fabric is selected.
Manufacturing these garments may well not be an option as SOCOM’s approved requirement for environmental and combat clothing is PCU and it must be manufactured by a directed source; NISH.
Perhaps this is the team’s answer to not being able to interact with industry at trade shows due to budget cutbacks and it will allow them to see the latest and greatest. Or worse yet, maybe its an unlikely case that they can’t afford to manufacture samples and it’s their way of soliciting free test samples. Although, they do say that they will buy additional garments from respondents who have a concept the Government wants to examine further.
As with all Sources Sought Notices, industry will provide their sample garment, sample fabric and proposal/pricing on their own dime. With the current state of industry (and government procurement dollars) everyone has to ask themselves whether the money expended to answer these RFIs is a good risk. Is there a real possibility of a pay off?
For those who are interested, find the Sources Sought Notice along with specific information on the FR performance specs at www.FBO.gov
Enjoy 25% off Drifire clothing through Monday at Noon (EDT).
This is Drifire’s Combat Hoodie, a component of their Ardennes Cold Weather System. I tried one on during last week’s Darley Defense GRF Expo in Fayetteville and I didn’t want to give it back.
The Combat Hoodie can be worn in conjunction with other layers as well as next-to-skin and features mechanical stretch as well as integrated cuffs with thumb loops. Additionally, the four-piece hood offers a cross-over front and an innovative built-in balaclava/neck gaiter with tuck away option. The fabrics used are top notch. The drirelease technology dries four times faster than cotton and controls odor causing bacteria. And to top it off, it’s not just comfortable, the Combat Hoodie is also FR. The Combat Hoodie is paired with their Lightweight Fleece Pants as Layer 3 in their Ardennes Cold Weather System.
XGO is adding a new line of Flame Retardant Mesh to their 2013 collection. Featuring increased breathability and increased stretch as a result of the mesh construction, the line will initially consist of a short and long sleeve top, boxer brief, and neck pipe.
“The evolution of the FR mesh is a direct result of having so our warfighters tell us that, in their FR base layer, they needed something that would breathe and provide some air permeability under their other protective pieces,” says Sherry Lyons, Director of Global Sales for XGO. She goes on to explain, “while it meets the U.S. Military / Natick standards for FR, it also wicks and allows the flow of air for increased comfort.”
The FR Mesh line will be available April 2013 through select retailers and online at proxgo.com.
I’ve been a big fan of Drifire for several years now. They manufacture FR performance garments that don’t feel like FR. In addition to FR baselayer protection, their garments also incorporate moisture wicking and antimicrobial odor control characteristics. These aren’t some wash in treatment either but rather exist at the fiber level so they won’t wash or wear out.
Available in a variety of colors including Black, Coyote, Desert Tan and Olive Drab the line is offered in the full gamut of sizes from X-Small – XXX-Large.
To learn more about Drifire FR performance garments and how you can outfit your unit or agency with them visit www.adsinc.com/blog/products/drifire-base-layers-provide-comfortable-performance-fr-protection.
I think this is a pretty cool graphic depicting the various attributes of XGO’s FR T-shirts.