Tactical Tailor

Vertx Smock

I’ve had a Vertx Smock prototype for well over a year. It’s served me well and I’ve worn it in a variety of environments. But, for me, there were two issues with the prototype. The first is that the pockets were closed with snaps and the fabric is 50/50 NYCO. Nothing wrong with the NYCO but when combined with the innovative design of the Vertx Smock, it just didn’t seem up to the task. A garment like this needs a softshell fabric and Vertx came through. They have combined the same fabric used on their Gunfighter Storm shirt (anti-microbial 40D face fabric treated with Scholler Nanosphere) and paired it with fleece in the hood and lower cargo pockets which are well suited to warming cold hands.

Almost every other smock I’ve seen on the market follows the traditional styling found on the original British smocks; fixed hood, big chest and hip cargo pockets along with a single FFD pocket on the sleeve. Vertx took an entirely different approach.

Their smock features a removable hood, pit zips (with a mesh liner to keep the nasties out), and pockets. Pockets unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The poacher’s pocket is divided in two and the opening is angled so you can get into it be reaching around behind. On both sides of the hips between the poacher’s pocket and the front hip pockets there are pockets for a single 5.56 magazine, kept at the ready. I am sure users will come up with a myriad of other uses for this pocket as well. The chest and hip pockets are of the patch cargo variety but feature rounded edges so that items won’t get caught in the corner of a pocket and the pleats keep the pockets nice and flat when empty but expand with ample room for your gear. The napoleon style chest pockets also feature integrated magazine pockets.

The bicep pockets aren’t exactly inset but their expansive design is very low profile with a vertical zipper closure. Both bicep pockets feature Velcro fields for ID or other insignia. Also, the elbows are reinforced.

The fit is designed to fit over armor so it’s got plenty of room for additional layers. Additionally, all of the buttons are of the slotted Canadian style so there is little to no chance they will fail. In fact, I’d say the base fabric will give way first.

Battleware caught up with the smock’s creator, Dave Walsh and shot this video of Dave talking about this “wearable go bag’s” various features.

If you’re looking for a combat oriented softshell then this is the one for you. The pocket configuration is unlike anything else you will find out there and this in turn, offers a unique look not found with other garments. Remember, it’s a softshell and priced accordingly. But it’s quality and innovation you are buying.

At this point I haven’t had any wear time with the production version. They just simply aren’t available. But…one lucky SSD reader is going to get a chance to win the very first smock. That’s right, Vertx is sponsoring a contest to give away the first smock out the door.

To enter for your chance to win, visit https://apps.facebook.com/webpromotions/vertxsmock. You’ll need to “like” both Vertx and Soldier Systems Daily. The contest ends on 16 December so go sign up! Visit here for full rules.

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18 Responses to “Vertx Smock”

  1. Buckaroomedic says:

    Nice looking smock. How about a contest for those of us not on FB?

    • Administrator says:

      Vertx is sponsoring the giveaway and they enjoy a strong FB presence.

      • john says:

        since 50/50 nyco fits my requirements better than the stated production materials will, I am a little disappointed, but that is how the cookie crumbles i guess. I would be very willing to purchase a prototype from anyone willing to part with an inferior garment, just so ya’ll know…

  2. Strike-Hold! says:

    Interesting comments you made about the prototype vs. production models. A performance softshell fabric is probably much better for many types of climate conditions, but it would be very good to hear from someone who’s worn one for a while – to hear how it holds up and how well it breathes.

    All in all though, I think its the most awesome smock design I’ve ever seen. I hope I win the FB competition. 😉

  3. MarkM says:

    Breathable fabric was a significant foundational issue with combat smocks. From what I’ve read hear and on other sites, including those UK based, the idea was to be able to pass off a lot of heat when active, transporting the moisture with it. Since the Euro concept is that your’re going to get wet no matter what, especially under the garment, make it as quick drying as possible.

    How the end users from America perceive wetness is the market for a number of companies, and the promise of teflonized membrane fabrics was to prevent it completely. The unfortunate reality is that it doesn’t work all that well, or for very long given a garments light duty life over 8 to 12 years.

    Softshell fabrics are highly water resistant, and don’t breathe well at all. If wear during high physical activity is the real key, then moisture builds up underneath. Having tried them in 30-45 degree temps more than once, they make a great car coat and work ok shopping, not when moving overland with a purpose or when hunting. Too much moisture is trapped and saturates the other layers. Right back to square one, you get wet.

    I guarantee you’ll see these in the field completely unzipped, in full venting mode, and the user soaked under any gear on their back. At that point, what good are they? Nice mall coat for college campus, or at the range.

    Whether we like it or not, the combat smock has to breathe, and do it well to seriously reduce the onset of hypothermia. The Brits commonly used a wool layer under the smock, fleece could serve if more fire resistant. But the fabric needs to allow the maximum amount of moisture out – contrary to our cozy American misperceptions.

    If it’s raining that hard, time to get out a poncho. It’ll slack up and you’ll dry out more quickly.

    • I see what you mean but... says:

      Looks like they included pit zips. Doesn’t seem to be near the issue you make it out to be.

    • Mateo says:

      By the looks of this piece I would guess that I would find it too warm if I were on the move for any length of time in temperatures above freezing. But if I understand correctly there is very little fleece used in the construction and the greater part of the body of the garment is a wicking synthetic. If it is anything like the Marmont windshirts constructed with their DriClime fabric the perspiration management issue might not be bad at all.

  4. Zak says:

    I hope I win… it looks great. Is it only available in Multicam?

  5. PLiner says:

    I don’t care for Napoleon chest pockets on any item that I will potentially wear under body armor and or a chest rig of some sort. I would think that by now companies would recognize that guys who use this gear, often use body armor/chest rigs and make the change to the pockets orientation.

  6. A smock is made to go over not under most those items so the pockets work in its intended use.

    • Pliner says:

      The reality is that guys who actually use the gear operationally and from my experience, is that it ends up under body armor or a chest rig of some sort.

  7. D2 says:

    Im familiar with the material from use and wear of the gunfighter storm. I feel that the material is extremely light weight making it regulate temp well and pack away easy. The material is highly wind resistant and wear resistant. It is wet weather resistant to a point but not intended or built to fend off down poor conditions. The trade offs are obvious to those who do regular work in sucky conditions. You can be wearing a DUI dry suit or a gorton fisherman tuxedo but your coming out of it wet if you exerted yourself with water proof materials that cant transport moisture to the outside faster than its created. The concept of throwing on a good coat over armor and gear is an honest one, and fits to many real life conditions such as 8 plus hour range trainings, mounted combat patrols or law enforcement who are vehicle based in there work or just throwing on some snivel for the chill of a helicopter transport or a tower duty. The scenarios are numerous and reflect the efforts of serious designers who base their work on user feed back. Reducing weight bulk and modernizing a classic user friendly item like a recce smock is a great move .

  8. J26 says:

    Great write up! I can’t wait to get my hands on one. If I win the context, great. Otherwise, I’m breaking out the credit card 😀

  9. MarkM says:

    But is it snivel gear, or primarily meant to replace the Load Bearing Equipment as an outer shell, too? I read a lot of posters not seeing it any differently than a Gen 1 ECWCs. David Stirling would set them straight.

    Combat smocks aren’t American in concept, the Brits came up with this as a Gamekeeper/poacher ensemble to wear in all outdoor climates encountered in rural Britain. That’s the full range of weather. If you had a long overland hike to accomplish, a minimum amount of equipment (totally unAmerican,) and the absence of heavy field gear was a positive contribution, you’d still need pockets to store wound badges, mags, maps, etc.

    It’s about being windproof, passing out moisture, and quick drying. Pockets hold the stuff, so the arrangement doesn’t get compromised with accommodating the Chest Rig of the Month. And it could pass off in town, especially the anti-car-centric urban centers where a long wool dress coat would look inappropriate. That means the absence of camo can be a priority. Looking for smocks online, the straight colors are rare and quickly snapped up.

    Big market for someone like Condor, who’s been accused of copying, but at least sticks with a proven design for more than a few months at a comfortable price. They could do this for a $65 street price. Interested?

    One feature item that can put you in a quandary – hood or no hood?

    I got half a dozen winter coats and parkas, pieced together, I can find every feature of the smock on one of them. Like building the best AR or finding a EDC knife that is actually meant to work, getting all the features in one garment meant for use in the rural hinterlands without LBE is the point. If this can eliminate a day pack hunting, then it’s a viable answer. Considering its roots, it looks like the Brits came up with a winner 50 years ago, and we’re finally getting around to recognizing that.

    • PLiner says:

      OH, I get it now, so instead of wearing your gear like normal, you put it all in the coat pockets so you have a 40 lb jacket hanging off of you. And of course none of the locals would look twice at a guy wearing a military looking jacket with a plethora of pockets all bulging with gear cause we see that all the time. Great concept, way to blend in and be sneaky.

      If you want to carry all your gear in a jacket and not look like a geardo wannabe in a military looking and cut jacket while walking around in public,buy a ScotteVest jacket.

  10. Dev says:

    No love for OCONUS residents?

    • Administrator says:

      That is really an issue you will need to raise with Vertx. They are generous enough to give the smock away, but this also means that they set the rules.