Triple Aught Design has advised they are getting a restock on their Stealth Hoodie LT and Ranger Hoodie LT as of today. Like most Triple Aught Design (often colloquially referred to as TAD Gear) apparel, the hoodies typically sell out quickly and I’m sure these will be no different.
The Ranger Hoodie is made of Polartec Wind Pro, which is described as blocking the wind approximately 4x as well as typical fleece. I don’t know precisely how they quantify that, but I can attest to how well my own Ranger withstands the wind (and precipitation for that matter). The restocked Rangers will have the standard TAD hoodie features – 6 pockets, a media port, a guide wire for headphones, lie-flat aero hood, etc.
The Stealth Hoodie LT is described as providing the “…perfect balance between weight, durability and capability…”, making it a good all-around garment. It’s a seam-taped softshell made of Schoeller’s c_change™ membrane. It features Nanosphere™ conditioning and both “3XDRY” and “coldblack” treatments. The former is used to give it better moisture regulation and breathability (as I understand it) while the later reflects UV rays to keep the jacket cooler for longer no matter the color. The softshell is waterproof and the hood, which lays flat, can be converted into a collar.
This isn’t your typical Kit Up! post by any stretch of the imagination. However, I’ve found sometimes the oddest things have a certain appeal. There are two pieces of kit that received rave reviews from some fellas at COP Herrera and another location were an electronic kettle and this thing – the Travel Halo. I’m guessing some of you reading this can understand why.
Originally created last year after an Indiegogo campaign, the Travel Halo is designed to make it easier to sleep sitting up (and, by default, in other contorted positions). Set aside the obvious benefits if you’re stuck in a C-130 or a C-17 for a flight halfway around the world, this could be another sort of beloved snivel kit entirely.
The Travel Halo doesn’t act as just a pillow, it provides stability for your head, with an optional piece to shut out the light.
“We checked that spare magazines were ready to pull out. Pick them up the wrong way and you waste a precious second or two turning them around. Put them in your belt kit with the curve the right way up, and they’re ready to slap into place. A lot of people put a tab of masking tape on the mag to make it easier to pull out. When my mags were empty, I’d throw them down the front of my smock for refilling later. We could use the rounds from the belts of the Minimi…” Andy McNab, Bravo Two Zero
Vertx has some new options available for admirers of their original smock (to wit: offering them in black and dark earth so you can wear one without looking like you’re hunting muj or training to be a mall ninja). If you’re not familiar with the Vertx smock, it’s billed (fairly accurately) as a wearable go-bag.
The smock has 14 total pockets with 6 integrated 30-round magazine pockets. It features NanoSphere treatment of lightweight Cordura (not nylon as their catalog says) so it’s weather resistant. Both the hood and the hand warmer pockets are lined with hydrophobic fleece so they won’t retain water once they get wet (which is for me particularly annoying and occurs frequently on some garments’ front pocket). It’s oversized so you can wear it over your other kit, has pit zips with mesh lining to keep debris out while allowing the garment to breathe and features patch/ID panels on the sleeves.
The Vertx smock has been around for a little over a year now and is essentially a modern take on a military classic (the Denison smock, which really is a classic):
One of the guys at SHOT mentioned this project to me and although its not as sexy as an unobtanium plated rifle or bulletproof combat shirt I thought you might be interested anyway. 550 cord is (rightfully) ubiquitous and this appears to be a simple, effective way to secure it. It’s the brainchild of LVPD LEO Brent Garcia and uses friction to hold the paracord in place. I could see this being an excellent piece of kit for field expediency. The only thing I wonder is if there will be any in darker colors – obviously there won’t be a huge demand for shiny stainless steel out in the field, but that wouldn’t prevent its use around tents or mixed in with personal gear.
Morrison Industries(another small veteran-owned business, by the way) recently posted this op-ed about the evolution of gear (or lack thereof). It’s the very first post from their new website and is a hell of a debut…promises great things to come. I thought it brought up some damn interesting points, and although I would maybe argue just couple of things (possibly just semantics) I think it’s worth spreading the word. That’s why it’s posted here. No one can argue the point that gear is frequently misused and/or over-carried. Nor (in my opinion) can it be argued that some kit isn’t actually built to solve problems that don’t exist (lots of it obviously is). That said, I personally think we have seem some great evolution in gear, we’ve just seen some horrible regression in implementation and use - again, that may be just a semantics issue, not a contradiction to what the author (presumably Nathanial Morrison) posits below.
Somebody should make the brass read this Morrison Industries blog post thoroughly…and the six points he brings up should be taught to every new troop by his NCOs.
I would certainly rather have to go to war today with the equipment available than what we had in the desert storm days…I just wish our military was practical, even ruthlessly pragmatic, in its use and requirement. More of a Rhodesian philosophy maybe. DR
Back in my day… My goodness, I’m officially old enough to say that! How time flies! But seriously, back in my day we used the ALICE gear. ALICE web kit, ALICE pack, etc… It was good kit. We were training for those long-range missions and flirting hard with CQB. It all fit together and with a few mods it worked very well everywhere we went.
Modifications did happen. I used to have a sewing machine and I modified my gear and ended up doing a good bit for the other guys on the team. The first thing that came out was velcro. A bunch of use did a number of uniforms in velcro. But it was so damn loud that we abandoned it. We also found that it attracted dirt and leaves like a magnet and that clogged it so bad that it didn’t work at all. We also found that it sucked when wet, especially in salt water. Freefall speeds tended to rip things open as well. I will never forget a day at Camp MacKall when we took contact. We dropped and slithered backwards down the slope we were on. Every one of us with velcro on our LBE had lost the contents of our pouches and the velcro was so clogged with leaves and sand that we had to tape the pouches shut for the next 2 days. After that I had the velcro removed and sailing snaps installed. I have viewed velcro as largely worthless since that day. Granted, in some applications it is genius. But the trick is understanding where those applications are.
When Operation Enduring Freedom kicked off the old garrison Army rules were shredded and overnight we started running chest rigs. Chest rigs are fine of you are carrying a mountaineering pack. If you load the front of the torso with no counterweight you instantly induce massive amounts of strain to the entire back, especially the low back. So if you wear a proper pack this is OK. But most do not. So it is impossible to call this progress from a human performance perspective.
I received an e-mail from Bartek, one of the Equipped.PL crew. He was kind enough to send an English version of their review of the Vertx smock, which the Mad Duo posted yesterday in Polish. Hopefully this is a little easier for most of our readership to understand (since I’m guessing we have a limited number of Polish speakers). They apologize for any awkward wording and syntax, as English is not their first language. I’ve tried to smooth out some transitions, so any glaring issues are probably mine. Mostly I’d just like to thank Bartek and Equipped.PL for being good sports and letting us share their review. DR
Smock jackets are one of the most characteristic pieces of combat clothing associated with United Kingdom armed forces (and all the other Commonwealth countries too). Smocks have been used by airborne and special forces troops since World War II – fabrics and camouflages often changed but the cut was only slightly modified. The unique, generous cut of hooded parka with plenty of pockets to allow the carry of complete survival or first line kit became its trademark.
Smocks have always been a symbol of elite forces and a piece of gear all the international partners of the SAS or Royal Marines wanted to have. Though the issued smocks were apparently one of the best of military clothing ever developed,they did not always fit to the custom requirements of all prospective users. Naturally a commercial market developed, resulting in multiple derivatives of smocks from numerous companies such as Arktis and SASS. Since the introduction of the new British Multi-Terrain Pattern camouflage and Personal Clothing System (PCS) in February 2011, smocks are now a widely issued part of equipment for every British Soldier. Of course, the updated version includes many new features (as sleeve pockets which weren’t common in the past) but overall it’s still a good ole’ smock. In other countries, especially France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, smocks are very popular in the reconnaissance and mountain infantry units. Over the past few years the smock fashion arrived in the United States, where unique features of such clothing were finally seen. Most of new projects were very “traditional” but there have been some incredible and innovative solutions, both in cut and fabrics.
The first, widely presented “US Smock” was the technically advanced Vertx Smock of the Vertx brand – a smart design company which quickly became widely recognized for their low-profile tactical pants. During SHOT Show 2011 they also debuted a new concept of smock, the wearable go-bag.