Fighter Design is an up and coming company bringing some very cool new ideas to the tactical market. Their Airflow pants in particular have the most aggressive hot weather design I've seen to date where you'll have to get into space suit type designs to do much better. No wacky fans, gels, or anything like that, just well placed mesh on an already good set of military style pants. Additionally the pants can utilize another cool product from Fighter Design, their Magnetic Fastener kits. For folks where velcro just doesn't match your needs, the magnetic closures offer a silent and smooth alternative.
What I think is one of the best attributes to the Airflow pants is that the airflow effects are immediately noticeable. They are not just some half ass snake oil where you hope it is helping, it is so noticeable it actually takes some getting used to the cooling effects. For example some thoughts on my early tests while running were: is there a hole in my pants?, am I dripping sweat?, and oh crap am I bleeding? This all stemmed from being cooler in areas I wasn't used to in normal pants rather than any of those actual contemplated issues.
Propper has started several new apparel collections earlier this year with these STL I Pants being a part of the LS1 line. I don't know what any of those abbreviations mean, but the general design theory on the LS1 line is to combine tactical and athletic ideas which seems like a pretty good idea. Overall they fit a good middle point where they don't quite scream tactical man yet have more usable features than the more covert designs.
For notable features the main fabric is a nylon spandex mix. Although not a bad material by any means they try and make it sound fancier than it is. It isn't very water repellent and the stretch is very minimal. I also seem to get more pilling on high abrasion areas compared to say a pair of 50/50 nyco material pants. That said it is an overall comfortable and reasonably breathable material.
Although Crye was one of the first to make a combat shirt, other companies are now offering some worth while variants such as this Propper TAC-U Combat Shirt. The basic concept of a "combat shirt" being the sleeves and upper portion are done with more traditional military jacket materials while the torso is done very low profile with light weight breathable materials; the intent that armor will be covering that zone all day anyway. This concept change certainly helps a lot to keep cooler in hot climates and prevents pressure points from any extra buttons or pockets. The TAC-U Combat Shirt in particular uses 65/35 poly/cotton Battlerip fabric which includes a Ripstop weave, and torso has a 60/40 knitted Cotton/Poly Blend.
I've been beating on the 782 Gear Rogue Parka for a few months and have definitely been pleased. Soon after receiving it brought up the question; what the hell is difference between a parka and a jacket? The internets don't have a very unanimous definition, but something along the lines of: a parka is a hip length hooded coat made for cold weather. On the 782 site they claim "an amazing 3-season parka" which greatly to my surprise is actually an appropriate description. Whatever fabric magic they have going on, I've been able to comfortably wear this parka inside at cramped Shotshow ranging all the way to the snowy winter of Kentucky.
As another part of the Magnum RD (Rapid Deployment) line, they also offer Tac shirts. I'll be showing the long sleeve version here, however the short sleeve version is available and even a female variant. Still using the 5.4 oz. 100% cotton ripstop in combination with some serious ventilation efforts, these shirts are made with hot weather in mind. This is a good setup for me as being a white boy I gotta cover up in the sun pretty much no matter how hot it gets. The SilencerShoot 2011 ended up being a good starter testing ground for the shirt as it must have been 100+. Many appeared shocked that I was in a long sleeve, so I just had to inform them this white boy has to cover or burn baby.
Woooo more pants. Magnum is mostly known for boots, but have expanded their offerings in tac clothing this year. One may have low expectations due to the company not specializing in apparel, but I personally was pleasantly surprised. Using 5.4 oz. 100% cotton ripstop, the pants are very light and breathable. The intent to make these hot weather pants is clear with other signs such as the vent holes in the inner thighs and even mesh material pockets.
782 Gear has come out with a some pretty cool tactical apparel this year sporting some pretty fancy fabrics. Rather than a bunch of small reviews I thought a varied item post would give a good idea of some concepts they have cooking.
For more bargain tac pants options the Genuine Gear brand has popped up semi recently. With a little research it appears the pants are actually made by Propper which I consider a good thing as they have been making solid uniform items for a while. The core material is overall lightweight (6.25-ounce) consisting of a 60 % cotton / 40% poly blend. Upon first look, the layout certainly has that 5.11 original tac-pant vibe, but there are plenty of differences to make the Genuine Gear pants unique.
Vertx has been around for a bit, but they are new to me as I've mostly been getting full on tactical pants. These Vertx tactical pants take a different approach attempting to find a balance of looking like just some random pair of work pants to common folk while offering some solid tactical pant features. I was reluctant with the concept at first as I don't have a covert job and I've come accustomed to all the extra pockets seen on tac-pants these days for my everyday carry items. Even so, the overall quality of materials and design really grew on me and I quickly began to enjoy this Vertx style.
My buddies at LA Police Gear have seen a lot of pants and hear a lot of user comments so I was excited to get a hold of this latest tactical pant design. For starters they are made of a lightweight 6 oz 60 % poly / 40% cotton rip-stop material making them great for hot weather environments. They don't have any cool Teflon coatings or anything, however the fabric is treated with color-fast to resist fading.
I picked up one of these jackets to try out something a little lesser known. The full name is Marine Corps Combat Desert Jacket, however so I don't have to type all that business out every time we'll just call it the CDJ. The main concept of this jacket is to be a full on desert jacket. Everyone knows the desert gets hot, but it can also get cold at night. Although rain isn't so common, wind and sand storms frequently come into play. A lot of effort went into finding fancy fabrics to create this soft shell that can both keep you cool or warm as needed. Some fabric use highlights include: