If you’re into trucker hats, fishing, camouflage, or you just like Patagonia, then this hat’s for you.
If you’re into trucker hats, fishing, camouflage, or you just like Patagonia, then this hat’s for you.
I received a couple of questions about the new Patagonia Jungle Uniform so I thought I’d share a little more info. They were designed specifically for a SOF customer and are made from a 100% nylon fabric.
-Built specifically for the jungle environment.
-Lightweight, durable & quick-drying with a DWR finish and 50+ UPF sun protection.
-Mesh opening and gator designed to allow maximum airflow and protection from small jungle pests.
-Innovative pocket designs to allow for rapid drainage and maximum load carriage.
-Articulated knee panel with pocket that accepts the Versatile Integrated Knee Protection (VIKP) knee insert.
-Berry Compliant & Made in the USA.
Patagonia is on hand at the Elite Defense booth and the Europeans are eating it up! They are especially interested in the Jungle Uniform which I wasn’t sure would actually be released for sale due to US military demand.
Already available for Pre-order through Elite Defense, the graphic above shows you what is being offered. If you are looking for details on any of the items, visit the SSD archives at www.soldiersystems.net/tag/Patagonia.
This is very exciting news from Patagonia and Elite Defense. For the past few years Patagonia has been responsible developing and producing USSOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform, a 9 level ensemble of environmental and field clothing items. Every once in awhile pieces have become available on eBay or at surplus outlets but, outside of program, we haven’t been able to purchase these garments. Now, you’ll be able to get not only the Level 9 Combat Uniform but also a Jungle Uniform (seen above) as well in addition to other pieces such as the level 3a jacket just adopted by SOCOM. The Level 9 garment features an innovative kneepad system (below) we have written about in the past and offers both combat and field shirt options.
Elite Defense and Patagonia have the stage set for a January release of the Level 9 combat uniform and have targeted SHOT show 2013 as the location for its release for commercial sales.
Patagonia is a world leader in clothing design, protective garments and an industry pioneer in environmentalism. They have designed and developed numerous layers of clothing to protect our Warfighters, and now have a commercial global distribution channel through Elite Defense.
Bringing this large scale collaborative effort together was the 132 Group, lead by Founder and President William Jarvis. “We’re excited to launch the Patagonia L9 Combat Uniform commercially; there has been a lot of hard work and patience to pull this all together. We are prepared for an incredibly successful launch at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV.”
“Adding an internationally known brand like Patagonia to our portfolio is exciting; there has been a buzz about it since we started making all the right steps to pull this partnership together and bring it to market.” said Brett Westcott, Vice President of Business Development & Marketing at Elite Defense.
The level 9 combat uniform will be the first of many products that will be brought to commercial market space; the team anticipates a new jungle style uniform as well as a commercial variant of the PCU 3 Alpha Jacket to be ready for delivery in the second Quarter of calendar year 2013. All of the offerings are Berry Complaint to meet the needs of the US DoD and other domestic agencies. The distribution agreement includes a dealer network that is equipped to handle multiple Government contract mechanisms to support that customer base.
“Patagonia has been a go-to for top tier design and development services to the SOF community for over a decade, and has long supported the soldier” Says Eric Neuron, Patagonia’s Director of Strategic Product. “We are very excited to make available these innovative products commercially, and further that support. Elite Defense’s business model is unique in this trade area, and is exactly what Patagonia has been looking for.”
Elite Defense will be in Booth # 27411 displaying the NEW Patagonia Level 9 Uniform, Jungle Uniform, and 3 Alpha Jacket. For more information please visit www.EliteDefense.com.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve mentioned SOCOM’s Block 2 PCU Level 3a or its use of Polartec’s materials. Polartec has a long history of providing innovative fabric solutions for not only SOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform program but for all of DoD. What’s more, their manufacturing partner is Patagonia. They too have a long history of supporting SOF and other specialized units going back to the 80s. In 3ID LRS I was issued blue Patagonia polypropylene long underwear and pile jacket and overalls in Germany in the late 80s. Later, Patagonia developed the Military Advanced Regulator System. Now, they are responsible for the design and manufacture of PCU. Below is the press release on this new insulation technology option for USSOCOM.
Polartec and Patagonia Collaborate to Provide Breakthrough Fabric Technology to Every Special Forces Operator
January 8, 2013 – (Lawrence, Mass.) – Polartec, the developer, manufacturer, and marketer of Polartec performance fabrics, has worked closely with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to develop Polartec®Alpha, a new synthetic insulation technology that creates the first-ever breathable “puffy” garments for active warmth. The Special Forces are the first adopters of this breakthrough fabric technology and are presently fielding Polartec Alpha jackets designed by Patagonia to all SOF operators.
Unlike down and existing synthetic insulations, Polartec Alpha provides active warmth that allows air exchange for breathability and comfort in more dynamic situations. It was developed to meet the specific performance requirements of the United States Military Special Operations Forces. The development brief required materials that are warm, wind resistant, highly durable, quick drying and more breathable than any existing insulation products. In field and lab testing, Polartec Alpha received the highest testing results of any Polartec product ever tested by the Special Operations Forces evaluation team. The garment will replace two to three layers, reducing costs, saving weight in the field and improving combat effectiveness.
In close collaboration with Polartec, Patagonia designed and developed the overall garment design for SOF. The company spent months maximizing the details of the design to take full advantage of the performance characteristics of Polartec Alpha. The final product is the SOF Protective Combat Uniform Level 3A Jacket, a standard issue piece fielded to every Special Forces Operator in the service.
“Polartec Alpha is a significant technical achievement that has created an entirely new class of fabric technology,” says David Costello, Polartec’s Military Business Manager. “This fabric innovation has been made possible due to our longstanding relationship with the Special Forces and has come to fruition in a final garment through the creativity and drive of the Patagonia design team. The demanding mission profile of the SOF operators requires absolute performance from every element of the operator’s ensemble. Polartec Alpha meets this test and has tremendous potential as a platform for future development.”
“Patagonia constantly works with suppliers to push the limits of what is possible. We have been pushing these limits with Polartec for several decades now; the result has been many groundbreaking products over the course of those years, culminating into this pinnacle innovation. This technology allows technical product designer/developers an interesting new challenge for the next several years; to ‘dial in’ the perfect CFM (or breathability) of a low loft garment,” says Eric Neuron, Patagonia’s Director of Strategic Product. “Without the demands and feedback from Special Forces Operators, this jacket and technology would not exist. We are very proud to support their needs. ”
I’m bad about waiting until it’s already cold to pick up cold weather gear. This year, I was anticipating a lot of days on the road, all over the country for the winter season and got a little ahead of my usual curve. I think it’s an important factor in your performance to be as comfortable as possible given the conditions you are in. I’ve been cold and wet enough to know that I don’t like being cold and wet. I also know that I don’t get any better at being cold and wet with practice so I just try to skip out on letting that happen to myself for the most part. I like a system consisting of a really thin base layer, a mid layer up top, a soft shell outer layer, and an optional loft layer and Gore-Tex hard shell layer. Couple that with the right accessories and for everything I need to do I’m usually covered.
For the base layers, I like merino wool. My go-to is the RHO line from Arcteryx or Mission Ready Equipment’s line from Icebreakers. The RHO stuff comes in two weights, one being really thin and the other being more substantial. The best way I can describe them is one is closer to a t-shirt, the other close to a sweatshirt. The MRE Icebreakers shirts come in short and long sleeve, and are uniform friendly for military wearers. All of the above layers are form fitting so if you don’t want it too tight buy a size larger. Depending on the conditions I’ll add a mid-layer up top that usually consists of the heavier RHO top or more recently the Naga hoody. The Naga is a fleece pullover with a form fitting hood that can easily fit under most helmets. Outdoor enthausiasts have been onto this for years and the tactical market is finally catching up.
For my primary outer layer I like a soft-shell fabric. There are a multitude of options out there, some are very thin and light, some are thicker and feature a fleece backing. I prefer the lightweight Tweave Durastretch material, as I like the freedom of movement and breathability it offers over a less stretchy fleece backed material. I’ve also found that the Durastretch garments are usually very versatile and in dry climates can still be comfortable up to 75 degrees or so. Arcteryx makes extensive use of these fabrics in the Sphinx line for Military and LE users, as well as their civilian line. If I wear something heavier, Patagonia’s Guide Pant is a great option, and if you can find older ones with belt loops they’ll accommodate a gun belt. For a heavier jacket the Arcteryx Drac jacket is great, and is available in their Wolf color, which is much less attention-grabbing that Multicam or Crocodile for everyday use or uniformed LE wear.
When temperatures take a dive or you will be in a static position, an extra layer of insulation is a must-have. I think the single best piece of clothing I own is the Atom LT jacket from (see a pattern emerging here…) Arcteryx. I’m not sure what kind of magic dust they sprinkle on that jacket to make it so awesome. It’s pretty much good from about 20 degrees to 60 degrees, and is indestructible. I got one from Grey Group Training in 2009 and it has survived rolling in dirt and gravel, snow, rain, sleet, countless cycles in the washing machine, airline baggage handlers, my dogs sleeping on it, and whatever else and still looks new three years later. It’s the Glock 19 of jackets, and everyone should have one. The Patagonia Nano Puff is a great option as well, but I found that mine lacks the ability to shed light rain as well as the Atom. I prefer these jackets to fleece because they’re generally warmer, lighter, more compressible, and provide another layer of defense against wind and precipitation. If it’s arctic weather, I’ll break out the Wild Things High Loft jacket. The “poofie” as we call it will keep you warm on a bird, hide, or turret no matter how low the temp drops. Rarely am I anywhere cold enough to call for it but when it does dip that low nothing else works as well.
I’ve found it’s best to select a lightweight waterproof-breathable top and bottom that can easily be packed and transported. I try and stick to genuine Gore-Tex products for it’s durability and resistance to breaking down when it comes into contact with petroleum based products. Some off brand membrane fabrics or DWR coatings lose their waterproofing when they come into contact with fuel or oil, and for professional military and LE users that’s a constant concern. Gore-Tex Pro Shell 2-layer material offers tremendous durability and weather resistance while still being lightweight and packable. I chose a set based on a minimal amount of features. For the rare occasion I wear it I want to it be waterproof vent well, I prefer to skip out on tons of pockets, velcro, powder skirts, and liners that only add weight and bulk. Many manufacturers use proprietary waterproof-breathable materials in lower priced jackets and Gore products in their upper level products. You get what you pay for.
With all the effort many users put into clothing, an often overlooked piece of gear is gloves. Good gloves are hard to find. If they’re warm, they usually inhibit dexterity. If you can pick up a dime with them, you’re probably going to freeze. I usually wear thinner gloves in the cold and rely on a quarterback-style handwarmer from Cabelas to keep my hands warm. If I’m in conditions where I can’t do that, I wear Arcteryx Cam SV gloves or OR Swoop mittens. The Cam gloves allow me to still manipluate a firearm or radio, and the Swoop mitts fold back to expose your fingers, allowing you to form a firing grip or utilize touch screen devices.
There are a lot of companies making good clothing for colder weather, but putting together a full layering systems can be pretty costly. Many retailers offer sales periodically and if you shop around now you can still find some before the weather starts to cool off. Don’t be afraid to buy gently used or stuff from last season. If you are on a tight budget, surplus PCU layers can be had at a steal and is still pretty good stuff. Stay warm this winter, and check out the links below for some great stuff.
Jon Canipe served on Active Duty with the US Army as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant at 5th SFG(A) and was a Senior Instructor at the JFKSWCS, training SFQC students in planning, unconventional warfare, small unit tactics, CQB, and advanced marksmanship. He is a veteran of multiple combat tours, and still serves in the Army National Guard’s 20th SFG(A) in addition to working as an industry consultant and small arms instructor.
Yesterday, we showed you a picture of the knee of USSOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform level 9 combat uniform component manufactured by ReadyOne. You may have noticed these interesting holes on the corners of the double knee.
The holes are for a new two-part kneepad system developed by Patagonia for this uniform.
The two-piece design consists of a foam padding component that fits inside the double knee through a slot in the bottom that is secured with Velcro. The male portions of the snaps are aligned in the four holes located at the corners of the double knee and the outer, hard plastic shell is snapped into place, providing abrasion resistance and protection from sharp objects.
As you can see, they snap together and fit through those holes. These are only made for the PCU Level 9 and are not compatible with any other system.
As an added bonus here is a snapshot of the Block 2 PCU Level 3A we wrote about back in January. It uses a Polartec fleece-based insulation sandwiched between a level 4 face fabric and a soft nylon backer fabric. As you can see, it is quilted like the old field jacket liner and is very comfortable. Level 3 now offers 3 options. The classic fleece level 3 jacket, this model (3A) and the 3B which features a WL Gore fabric story.
Patagonia related to us at OR Summer Market that they are developing a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art R&D facility focusing on military products as well vector styles. The Forge will not only focus on styles, but also materials and construction techniques and will also be able to rapid prototype new products. This will be a boon to both military clothing programs such as SOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform, currently designed by Patagonia as well as cutting edge outdoor styles. Both markets will greatly benefit from this initiate.
If you’re looking for fleece hoodie that will fit in with both your off-duty wardrobe as well as your uniform then the Los Lobos jacket from Patagonia is for you. It is made from a combination of 100% polyester high-nap fleece for the torso and stretchable Polartec Power Dry for the for the sleeves. The jacket also incorporates two zippered hand warmer pockets in addition to the left bicep pocket. And…it’s available in Alpha Green (!) as well as Narwhal Grey and Black.
The Slinghsot was a component of the Military Advanced Regulator System (MARS) military clothing system. A lightweight softshell, it has a bit of stretch built in. It is treated with a good DWR so light rain rolls right off. Two angled bicep pockets feature Velcro for insignia and the collar is lined with fleece. Finally, there are two deep pockets in the chest to warm hands or store essentials. Currently sizes Small – XX-Large are in stock. The torso is true to size with plenty of room for base layers but some may find the sleeves a bit short and also be aware that the cuff is elasticized. At $90 it is a smokin’ deal so these won’t be around for long at this price. Order at www.Patagonia.com.