I remember first seeing the Nextec folks at Outdoor Retailer many years ago. As we make our way to this week’s OR Summer Market, I thought it would be good to sure this with you.
You’ve probably run across a material called EPIC by Nextec at some point over the past decade. If you are, or have been, assigned to SOCOM, you’ve definitely used it. The same EPIC technology, that set the foundation of the outdoor industry’s softshell category with leading brands in the late 90″s, can also be credited for helping create the much improved military uniform systems fielded over the last decade of war. If you have worn PCU Levels 4,5 & 7, GEN III ECWCS Levels 5 & 7 or USMC ECW Parka & Trouser; you have experienced the EPIC performance!
EPIC’s silicone encapsulation technology places an environmental barrier inside fabrics that does not wash out or wear off. This durable performance of water resistance, wind resistance, lowest absorbing, fast drying, high breathability and packability set the highest standard for softshell items.
As the outdoor industry and its consumers became more savvy with the rapidly emerging softshell market in the early 2000s; products that were less about performance but more concerned about their brand strength and revenue goals captured much of this now predominant softshell market. As the outdoor market was quickly getting saturated with many softshell offerings; Nextec recognized that it did not have the brand strength, marketing dollars or the resources needed to hold onto the outdoor softshell business it ignited. More importantly, Nextec acknowledged early feedback from the SOF community after their field testing of EPIC gear. This SOF feedback generated the “walk dry” criteria and the fact that SOF expressed more concern about the user’s survivability performance of its gear versus the commercial brand strength set in motion today’s update Military uniform layering systems.
Prior to 9/11, Nextec shifted its focus from commercial market to working closely with SOF on the development of their Protective Combat Uniform system PCU. The EPIC performance became the cornerstone of the PCU system, which the Army field tested shortly after and Gen III ECWCS was born! Unfortunately with the lowering of spec performance, an inferior knockoff and budget cuts the soldier is not wearing the authentic gear the Army first fielded. Thankfully if you are SOF, NSW or USMC you are still protected with the authentic battle tested EPIC gear!
Nextec is currently supplying several large International militaries with its EPIC fabrics.
When purchasing from the range of tactical brands out there research the true item performance you are investing in…inferior well marketed substitutes should never be an option!