- Created: Saturday, 09 July 2011 23:37
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.
Starting with the Flash-Lite FR Balaclava, it uses 6.5 oz. Polartec Power Dry FR jersey, an overall thin and light material that still gives Flame Resistance. The material is also nice and stretchy, moisture-wicking, and very important for a balaclava, one can breathe through it. The neck part is attached separately to the hood part which makes the unit more versatile allowing better adjustment from full coverage, open nose, open full face, etc.. all without messing up the hood coverage. The user can get further crafty using the Balaclava as just a neck gaiter or even just a cap. On my early sample the unit was a bit tight for being one-size and me being on the smaller end of the human scale, fortunately 782 has noted this and has started to adjust the sizing. For a further improvement I'd like to see the forehead covered better using more of a rounded rectangle shape rather than circular, thus providing more skin coverage.
Next up, the Flash-Lite FR BAC ¼ Zip which sports a design to be worn with armor on top. Comprised of CYBERKNIT 9.5 oz. jersey and 5.5 oz Polartec Power Dry FR jersey mesh, this gives Flame Resistance to the exposed parts (shoulders and arms) while giving anti-microbial protection / moisture-wicking to the covered torso areas. The result gives durability for the combat environment with cooling assistance while wearing armor. For those not familiar with this type of setup, any little bit helps when you are sweating your ass off in the desert. A low profile zipper allows adjustment of the collar area ranging from full relaxed to all the way up, giving a mandarin collar effect. Like with most collars of this type, they feel a little funny at first since touching your chin, however it doesn't take long to get used to. The overall shirt length is good, giving plenty enough to tuck into pants without being overkill and bunching up down there. Movement freedom is great likely thanks to both the layout and the stretch qualities of both materials. Since simplistic the BAC is fairly lightweight, but some users will miss features such as pockets or adjustable cuffs. 782 tells me they do have plans to add on some loop velcro fields for unit patches and such. Despite being fancy pants materials, the BAC is overall comfy and feels very cotton like.
The Flash-Lite FR Skid Lid is a simple yet surprisingly useful cap design. Made from the same material as the Balaclava, the 6.5 oz. Polartec Power Dry FR jersey gives plenty of stretch with the bonus of Flame Resistance. How the Skid Lid is constructed further promotes stretch capability. The material isn't very thick so isn't for super cold environments, yet works great when beating cool weather and wearing with helmets. Since so thin and light the Skid Lid is easy to put in any normal sized pocket making it very portable. If one wants to get their origami on, they could likely fold it up quite small. For those who need something to fight off harsher cold, 782 makes 2 other Beanie type caps to suit your needs.
And to mix things up there is the Velocity Softshell ¼ Zip, which is available in full zipper jacket for those curious. It doesn't have the cool guy Flame Resistance, but it is a rowdy lightweight and thin softshell. Schoeller NanoSphere treated 2-way stretch shell makes the core offering great wind and water resistance. Since so thin the material doesn't breathe much to help with the heat / weight ratio. Tweave DURASTRETCH 4-way stretch panels are incorporated into the sides and shoulders to give enhanced stretch flexibility. They also sneak it in on the cuffs. The double zipper seems like an odd choice at first, but I could see a world where someone would want access to a chest pocket underneath without messing with the collar area. The collar itself can be worn lose or fully closed to give good neck coverage. The layout is overall simple, but they did manage to sneak one zippered pocket on the left arm. Since the material is so thin, this can make the zipper a little harder to open and close, but it does allow storage of something like a smart phone or wallet. Preferably I'd have the pocket on the right arm, since in the tactical realm right hands will tend to be busy holding onto rifles, but strike the current layout as a win for lefties. 782 also plans to add some loop velcro fields to this softshell for your cool guy patch needs. To help show the lightweight and thin factor, the last pic shows a quickie fold up attempt. This will easily fit in a cargo pocket and can be compacted even further by those with more skill in the art. This feature makes the Velocity Softshell a great backup jacket.
Due to the fancy materials none of the 782 Gear would be considered cheap, but the specialized designs are certainly appreciated resulting in the remembering of the get what you pay for concept. Be sure and check out their site as this is only a grab bag of the many items they offer.