TYR Tactical

The Canoeist / Beach Recce Smock

Back in the early 90s, UK-based Special Air Sea Services offered this little gem. The Canoeist / Beach Recce Smock was designed back when folding canoes were all the rage.


This anorak-style smock incorporates an interesting adjustable hood design, double wrist closures, and elasticized waist, and pockets galore. In addition to a large, angled chest pocket accessible with the right hand, there is an additional conventional chest pocket as well as skirt pockets and a large pocket on the back. There are two other features on the hood that no one could seem to explain. First, was the snapped tab and second, the small pocket.

Don’t tell me that Travis and I were the only two guys to ever want one of these.


21 Responses to “The Canoeist / Beach Recce Smock”

  1. Exploriment says:

    “…back when folding canoes were all the rage.”

    I’m working on a skin on frame take down kayak right now, so they must still be somewhat ragey.

  2. MattF says:

    Alas, SASS seems to have ceased doing business. 🙁

  3. Strike-Hold says:

    When the UK MoD switched to MTP and decided to restrict it to official MoD suppliers only, they basically killed SASS.

    I’ve heard rumors that SASS was going to reinvent and relaunch themselves as an outdoor clothing supplier, but so far their website still says “under reconstruction”.

    I wanted one too Eric. 😉

  4. Richard says:

    I remember seeing this smock in the SASS catalog back in the day.

    Think we could ping Paul Lewis (fmr. owner) and ask if he’s still got the patterns?

  5. Dagorul says:

    I believe the pocket on the hood was intended for a survival whistle and or a compass. This was in the same (early 90’s) catalog I bought my “Rhodesian style” SAS assault vest. I had it duplicated in tiger stripe pattern camouflage and added a flotation bladder inside the reinforced lining.. much much use in the Southern hemisphere. These folk have good kit, and surely will be missed.

  6. Bradkaf308 says:

    Gotta love the smocks. I’ve got issue one and an Arktis one in my green room. Always liked the SASS designs just never put down the $. My loss. Considering most of my camping is done via kayak or canoe now, more so my loss.

  7. Walter says:

    The pocket on the hood was most probably for the water-activated emergancy beacon, I guess.

  8. LooseCannon says:

    …I smell a Kickstarter in here somewhere.

  9. Austin says:

    I could see this being a successful KickStarter if the original designs still exist somewhere. I’d love to see an updated version in Gore-Tex Paclite.

  10. m.j. says:

    Back in the late 90s I got a SASS smock with the Artic hood – used it a lot when I went up into the mountains in Tochigi and Nagano. Got a Kit-Karry smock a few years later (still have both smocks – great pieces of kit).

  11. coops says:

    Bought a smock of them a few years back and I honestly say, the customer service was as good as there smocks. Heard a rumour that if you drop them an email the will knock you a smock up. How true that is I don’t know ?

  12. Whokka says:

    Still have my SASS Chestovest and a full SASS belt kit. Both bits of kit well ahead of their time. Pretty sure they are still running up in Lancaster though. Their force 8 smock was epic… gutted that i sold mine!

    Would like to see more of this catalogue if you have it??

  13. Zulu6 says:

    I’d love this again back in production or even a custom. I have TWO foldable Klepper Aerius II two man Kayaks and an all-black Australian SASR Klepper with a new black Weyland Special Ops Hull. This jacket could replace the ECWS parka which does not have pockets I could use under my PFD.

  14. Y.T. says:

    I’m surprised that SASS never did anything in Multicam. I would have loved one of their smocks but I’d never be able to wear it in uniform.

  15. Cdr Alf says:

    Love to have one i black to match my new Klepper skin.

  16. Chris says:

    Interesting… VERY interesting…

    I happen to be a fan of everything smock, anorak, and parka related. Thank you for the reminder SSD.

    I’ll have to look into this a little more. 😉

    • Pyronaute says:

      I echo that sentiment!

      There is something cool about calling a garment ‘a smock’. Maybe it’s been imprinted from kindergarten. I remember wearing ‘smocks’ to keep finger paints off our clothes in art class. I still love my British DPM Combat Smock from the ’80’s. Good stuff!