Snivel Gear

The 2015 Modern Day Marine Military Expo will be held Sept. 22-24 at Quantico Marine Base and Kit Up!, will be there.

This year’s show will feature panel discussion groups for the first time. The panels will focus on Marine Corps programs, future amphibious operations and special operations.

Kit Up will be walking the exhibit floor, searching for sweet new gear.

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Agilite will soon offer its Battle Element soft-shell jacket in Ranger Green.

“The Battle Element is engineered to keep out wind, cold and moisture whilst maintaining an inordinate level of flexibility, breathability and durability,” according to Agilite officials. Developed together with “Israel Defense Forces and Israeli Navy operators, it was designed with the needs of special operations and extreme outdoor professionals in mind.”

It’s made of a tight-woven polyester with exterior breathable, waterproof membrane. Special features of the Battle Element include the Agilite “Half-glove” that covers half the hand and helps bridge the transition area from jacket sleeve to glove. The Half-glove can also be folded inwards to form a regular sleeve if required.

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I covet Arc’teryx gear, but I wasn’t in love with the Atom LT Hoody the first time I wore it a few months ago.

It was a frigid December morning in Virginia. The high-30s thermometer reading felt below freezing in the 17 mph winds.

This might be a good time to admit that I hate being cold. I don’t mind winter as long as I have the right combination of snivel gear.

Anyway, I was not happy each time the biting wind gusts passed right through the new jacket’s thin, stretchy side panels. I quickly regretted choosing a polo shirt as a base layer.

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The shopping days before Christmas are slipping away. Maybe you finished all your shopping before Halloween. Or maybe you are like me and still agonizing about what to get the gift-worthy gearheads in your life.

KitUp! has assembled a handful of gift ideas for the expensive-gift buyers and the bargain hunters out there. So whether its flashlights, knives or tools, the list gives you the steep (pricey) first and then the cheap (less-pricey) gift options.

Take a look:

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This does look like a handy piece of kit from Agilite.

The new Mat-Evac litter is a camping/shooting mat and rescue litter in one, Agilite officials maintain.

“For Recon troops and outdoor enthusiasts, the padding in the Mat-Evac is the difference between discomfort and the ability to sleep well outdoors. In winter, the high-density Israeli-made foam inside the Mat-Evac isolates you from the cold ground keeping you warm as well.”

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esfk_smThere are many sparking fire starters out there, and most perform pretty well. The SOLKOA Survival Systems Faststrike appeals to me more than many because it features a three-inch hacksaw blade as a striker to accompany its ”ferrocerium high-energy sparking rod.”

“Besides acting as the striker for the sparking rod, the hacksaw can be used for cutting of course and also produces excellent sawdust for use as additional tinder for a survival fire,” SOLKOA Survival Systems officials maintain.

I know this is not a new idea. I made a similar striker for my Light My Fire Swedish Fire Steel a couple of years back. It works well, but I would have just purchased this one had I known it was available.

The saw teeth create a good shower of sparks compared to the cheap sliver of metal that comes with most fire steels. Truly, a Bic lighter is the best fire starter, but the gear head in me always wants a fool-proof back up in my pack.

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IMG_1162When we decided to do reader reviews on military-style bivy shelters, we wanted to give the rest of our audience some insight on what amounts to be a substantial investment in snivel gear. We chose these three bivies because they were anything but cheap.

The Observer Plus, which retails for a little more than $700, features a duel-pole support system at the front opening and is extremely low profile. The Sabre SE, which averages about $500, has an inflatable, Airbeam support system, a large vestibule and light-signature reducing fabric. And finally, the IONOSPHERE, which costs about $200, is a roomy, well constructed shelter that will likely keep you well protected in foul weather. [click to continue…]