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Archive for the ‘Clothing’ Category

Ferro Concepts – Pro Hat

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Ferro Concepts has introduced two version of their new Pro Hat.

It’s a baseball style cap with a Velcro panel at the front, embroidered with the Ferro Concepts logo. There’s also no button the top to get in the way of headsets.

Both are 6 panel caps, but the stretch version is all Tweave Durastretch with DWR protection. In the case of the Mesh version, the front two panels are 500D Cordura and the rear four panels are of, yep, you guessed it, mesh.

The caps are adjustable via an internal, hardware-free Velcro strap system which leaves the backstrap clean. There’s also a terry cloth performance sweatband and laminated vent holes.

Finally, the flexible brim is foldable and will snap back into shape.

Pro Hat Stretch

Pro Hat Mesh

Kitanica – Raider Pants in Woodland Camo

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Kitanica has added classic Woodland camouflage to their Raider Pant lineup.

Made from Woodland Camo 6.5 oz. 50/50 nylon/cotton Ripstop and Super Fabric knee reinforcements, the Raider Pant features 13 pockets.

Offered in sizes 30-46 in various lengths including up to 37″ inseam for certain waist sizes.

Raptor Tactical – Welded Down EXFIL Jacket

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

I couldn’t believe that Raptor Tactical was going to make a down jacket when Tom told me his plans a few months ago, but here it is.

The down jacket’s seams are sonically welded and it integrates zippered shoulder pockets with Velcro panels along with zippered handwarmer pockets and elastic cuffs.

When worn inside out, the sleeves are reflective Orange for rescue.

The interior also features a Morse Code chart along with a zippered chest pocket.

Available in Coyote Brown and Ranger Green, sizes Small – XXLarge.

DC Guard to Wear Black ID Vests for Inauguration

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

District of Columbia National Guardsmen will wear a black identification only vest during the activation for demonstrations in Washington D.C., June 5 to 7, 2021.

The black identification vest is not body armor nor a tactical vest. It is the traditional uniform worn by the D.C. National Guard members in multiple domestic operations including Presidential Inaugurations, the COVID-19 pandemic response, the 4th of July celebration and the “Anniversary March on Washington” in the last year.

More than 300 Guardsmen are supporting the District of Columbia from Jan. 5 to 7, 2021, at the request of Mayor Muriel Bowser and Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, Director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, on behalf of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and D.C. Fire and Emergency Services.

The request for support was approved by the Secretary of the Army, the Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy.

By Capt. Tinashe Machona | D.C. National Guard

Sitka’s John Barklow Q&A

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

SSD recently conducted a Q&A session with Sitka’s Big Game Product Manager John Barklow. He is well known to many of you, but for those unfamiliar with John, he is a US Navy Veteran who capped off a distinguished career at Naval Special Warfare Center – Detachment Kodiak in Alaska, teaching NSW personnel how to survive in the cold. Although he was a diver by trade and not a SEAL, his expertise was valued from his years in the mountains that they recruited him to be an instructor at the Kodiak Schoolhouse.

SSD: What is your role at Sitka?

JB: I am the Big Game Product Manager. I help develop clothing and equipment for hunting animals like elk, mule deer, sheep, and mountain goats. Most of that hunting occurs in remote mountains which leverages my decades of experience.

Photo: Jay Beyer Imaging

SSD: You were in the Navy, tell us a little about your service.

JB: I served 26 years in the Navy. Twenty of those were in direct support of Naval Special Warfare.  I spent a lot of time climbing and skiing on my days off and was considering getting out. I thought I wanted to become a mountain guide and was working to get my American Mountain Guide Qualification.

I was assigned to SEAL Team Five at the time and for years I’d been teaching point men from different teams how to move through technical terrain at night and climb tactically, what we called cliff assault. My unique skill set was in dire need after 9/11 and I was recruited for the job at Det. Kodiak. Most of NSW’s experts in Mountain and Arctic Warfare had retired so I was one of a select few brought in to help. The truth is we were ill-prepared for the terrain and environment of Afghanistan. We took a year to study the problem and understand the unique challenges. Within two years we had developed the Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) and Personal Environmental Protective Survival Equipment (PEPSE) system with the help of professional climbers and industry partners.

We also worked on new Tactics, Techniques and Procedures and developed a curriculum for the training we were conducting. This training eventually became part of the SEAL training pipeline.

Photo: US DOD

SSD: Tell us about those who influenced you while you worked on PCU and PEPSE.

JB: I learned a lot from Mark Twight while I was working on the PCU. Mark is a world-renowned alpine climber and I learned about the attitude and mindset required to work in that harsh environment.

I also had the chance to work with Rick Elder of Natick’s Special Operations Forces Survival, Support & Equipment Systems team while PCU was being developed. Rick taught me about working the system to get what we needed in such a short period of time.

One of the biggest influences was working with my peers, including those from other SOF units. And by working, I mean in the mountains: climbing, skiing, and becoming comfortable in the environment, discussing tactics. We were all trying to figure it out and the collaboration lessened the learning curve.

SSD: How do you apply that experience at Sitka?

JB:  I’ve trained thousands of guys and seen how gear is used both correctly and incorrectly. I’ve worked with designers to help instill my no compromise mindset. I trust our field testers, but nothing is ready until I’ve tried it out myself. This mindset goes back to the Rewarming Drill we had our students conduct at Det-Kodiak.

SSD: I’ve heard about this. The Rewarming Drill is legendary. There’s this photo of an instructor towering over some very cold, very wet SEALs. Could you tell us a little more for those unfamiliar?

Photo: MCS2 Manzano – DOD

JB: The instructors at Det-Kodiak developed this evolution where students are completely immersed in cold water, wearing their kit, surrounded by ice. The idea is to keep them in long enough to drive a sense of urgency to perform the task. They have a set amount of time to get out of the water and work through their protocols with a buddy to rewarm and dry out.

The drill creates trust not only in the gear to save their life but also in themselves to control a bad situation. You can’t just leave the mountains during an op because you’re cold or tired. The gear and this drill helped them to understand they can leave the mountains on their terms.

I made a video with Eastman’s Hunting Journals demonstrating it several years ago titled Re-Warming Drill – How to Survive Hypothermia without a Fire (Eastman’s Hunting Journal – 04 April 2017).

With technical gear, you can’t just hand it to someone without training. That’s like giving the keys to your Porsche to a 16-year-old.

Photo: Eastman’s Hunting Journal

SSD: Put us in the thought process. Give us a scenario where this applies to the hunter.

JB: 13,000 feet… a mule deer hunt in August. A storm rolls in unexpectedly from over the top of the ridge. The temperature plummets, the wind picks up and it starts to snow. If you don’t have the right gear, and most importantly know how to use it, you’re a casualty.

SSD: You’ve been the manager of Big Game for six years. Do you see any parallels between the military and hunting?

JB: Absolutely! A Special Reconnaissance mission and a wilderness hunt have direct parallels. You plan and you execute. The biggest difference is in what you’re observing. However, a hunter can leave anytime he wants. The guy in the military is in, until the mission is complete.

Photo: Jay Beyer Imaging

SSD: Have you ever been in a life or death situation while hunting?

JB: We were hunting in Northern British Columbia in mid-October a few years ago. They dropped us off at a lake by floatplane.

There, we linked up with horses to head deeper into the backcountry to hunt mountain caribou. We rode into full winter conditions the deeper we went. The wrangler dropped us off on a glassing ridge with some bivy gear and left us for a few days.

The ride out to the trailhead took four days I believe. The snow turned into rain and then refroze on the narrow horse trails. One of the guys was thrown from his horse and dislocated his shoulder. Another guide was thrown off and had a concussion. My horse, a 1400 pound beast, fell out from underneath me in the dark as we rode through a boulder field. I was banged up pretty good but was able to get out from underneath before the horse freaked out and crushed my leg. The horse almost didn’t make it and we thought we’d have to shoot him where he lay.

Photo: Jay Beyer Imaging

SSD: Between your military experience in Alaska, your time climbing and hunting, is there anything you’ve applied directly to clothing development?

JB: Clothing is all about managing moisture. It’s your armor from the elements. Twight taught me that. These technical clothing systems aren’t meant to keep you dry as much as to dry out as quickly as possible. It’s all about managing moisture and using your body as the heat source to dry out.

When I’m testing out a new clothing layer or textile, there’s a test I put it through that I don’t ask of any other field testers. I put the new layer in a bucket of water to get it soaked. Then I put the layer on within a tried and true clothing system. I want to see how the layer works within the system to manage moisture. I’ll go for a hike, ski tour or do a workout in my gym. The worse the weather the better to simulate worst case scenarios. I call this exercising your clothing system. It’s critical to find out how a layer works within a system to provide the performance I’m looking for.

Photo: Eastman’s Hunting Journal

SSD: Our readers are quite interested in the new SOF product line. Although you’re the Big Game Product Manager, how have you been involved in the new line?

JB: When he arrived in the Fall of 2020, I walked Lav (John Laviolette, SOF Program Manager) through the entire Sitka line. I also went over what SOF guys have been asking for and what they’ve been using from the HUNT product line already. That helped influence the DNA of the soon-to-be launched SOF product line.

A lot of these guys have been operating in the same clothing they hunt in. They know they can rely on it. They like the durability and the fit. It goes back to confidence.

We cherry picked Sitka technologies and laid the foundation for the program, however, we don’t build single pieces. We use a systems-based approach to design. When you do this, you get the performance you seek.

SSD: Earlier you mentioned wanting to get your American Mountain Guide Qualification. Are there any personal projects you’ve got going on?

JB: I recently started an Instagram page @jbarklow to continue teaching. I’m working now on building a website and training content. I missed teaching and wanted to continue to help others lessen the steepness of the learning curve. The dirty little secret is just because you work for a company developing product doesn’t mean you’re an end user or know how to use any of the gear. There is a real need for education within the hunting and mountain sports community.

SSD: I spoke with Sitka founder Jonathon Hart about being overwhelmed by the sheer number of styles you guys offer. He said that Sitka is taking a look at that.

JB: I’ve reset the Big Game line over the last six years, cutting the styles in half. An eight-piece system will work about 85%-90% of the time. Of course, there’s personal preferences, price points, and environmental considerations to factor in.

Photo: Steven Drake

SSD: If you could summarize your philosophy, what would it be?

JB: People’s lives can be on the line when they use our gear, especially now as we enter the military business. My philosophy is easy: No compromise, period, end of story!

Mountain Khakis – Camber Ready Pant

Monday, January 4th, 2021

The Camber Ready is a new style of pant from Mountain Khakis.

They are made from a comfortable fabric, 8.7oz 98% Cotton, 2% Spandex Canvas.

Currently, they’re only available in a color called Jackson Grey, but the sizing offerings are pretty awesome. You’ve got 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 and 38 waist with 30, 32 and 34 lengths depending on waist. The seams are triple-stitched with bar-tac reinforcements.

Yeah, they’re cargo pants, but they’re MK cargo pants. You’ve got two front pockets, two rear flapped pockets and two flapped cargo pockets, along with a knife pocket on the right front. The weirdest thing going on is the inverted knee articulation which you can see in this video.

They look good. I’ve been a Camber fan for years. I ordered a pair.

Friday Focus: Beanies, Neckies & Wool Socks

Friday, January 1st, 2021

As the temperatures dive and the new year kicks off, check out FirstSpear all American wool Beanies, Neckies and wool socks. FS Neckies and Beanies are constructed from FirstSpear ACM BASE 100, a merino, poly, and modal blend. Featuring flat seams for maximum comfort under helmets and just enough material to double up over the ears when temperatures drop. Neckies are available in charcoal, FS sand, FS commando and heather grey. Beanies are available in black, charcoal, FS commando, FS sand and heather grey.

Unlike cotton, wool is the ultimate insulator and it absorbs a high amount of moisture all while maintaining its insulating properties when wet. The FirstSpear Boot Super Sock and Every Day Sock are 100% American made with USA materials. Both the EDS and BSS are constructed from a tubular knit for enhanced support and all day comfort.

The EDS features a reinforced heel and toe box, support ribbing through the arch, as well as light and thin across the top to help dissipate heat. Exceptional moisture wicking and antimicrobial properties will keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.

EDS: 82% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 6% Lycra

BSS: 86% Merino Wool, 8% Nylon, 6% Spandex blend

Available and shipping now in sizes small through XL.

If you want to see out more FirstSpear gear in action, check out FirstSpear TV’s X-RAY Team.

UF PRO Now Offering Its All-Round Weather-Protective Hunter FZ Gen.2 Tactical Jacket in Improved MultiCam Fabric

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

TRZIN, SLOVENIA (29 Dec. 2020)—UF PRO today announced it has begun making its popular lightweight Hunter FZ Gen.2 tactical jacket in an improved MultiCam fabric designed to help wearers stay warmer in low temperatures and be better protected against inclement weather.

The move represents an expansion of the UF PRO MultiCam Low-Temperature Line, which currently includes Multicam versions of the company’s Delta OL 3.0 Tactical Winter Jacket, Delta AcE Plus Gen.2 Tactical Winter Jacket, and AcE Winter Combat Shirt.

According to Armin Wagner, head of UF PRO product development, the company began offering its Hunter FZ Gen.2 MultiCam garment today.

The newly improved MultiCam fabric is a laminate formed from a 100-percent polyamide face material layered atop a membrane made of polyurethane, Wagner explained.

“This is the softest MultiCam material yet, so it emits less noise as the wearer moves about,” he said. “It’s also fully windproof and extremely water-repellent, which affords the wearer protection in weather ranging from light rain to high winds.

Wagner noted that the improved fabric exhibits an impressively high sheer-strength thanks to a special ripstop weaving technique used in producing the face layer.

“Wearers will be very pleased by its abrasion resistance,” he said. “It holds up exceptionally well, even after being continuously rubbed against by backpacks, plate carriers, and other gear.”

The improved MultiCam fabric is a perfect fit for the Hunter FZ Gen.2 Tactical Jacket, which is favored among military and law-enforcement operators for its comfort-enhancing features, such as mesh side-panels that provide cooling ventilation to prevent overheating and a 37.5™ microfleece lining that helps keep the inside of the garment dry by very efficiently dissipating sweat.

“The jacket is also a favorite because it folds up compactly for easy stowing inside a backpack,” Wagner added.    

Go here for more information about the UF PRO Hunter FZ Gen.2 Tactical Jacket.

Go here for more information about the UF PRO MultiCam Low-Temperature Line.