Super Bowl of Hardcore – Patagonia Lvl 4 Gen II Windshirt

Super Bowl of Hardcore – Patagonia Lvl 4 Gen II Windshirt

I recently picked up from good friend Simon B an allegedly second hand Patagonia Lvl 4 Gen II Windshirt in ‘Foliage Green’ – arguably, due to its excellent condition I’d hazard a guess that it’s all but virtually brand new, so a big thank you to him.

As I understand it SOCOM sought to address harsh weather conditions for Special Operations troops deployed in Afghanistan in the early 2000’s.

Enter the PCU (Protective Clothing System) – NATICK leaned heavily on experiences from the civilian world with extensive cold weather experience to develop and issue an interchangeable clothing system called the PCU. This provided war fighters comprehensive suite of apparel and options for cold weather conditions.

The PCU is divided into seven levels, here I’ll clarify, which are not seven levels to be worn necessarily on top of each other, but rather combined interchangeably with one another for a wide variety of atmospheric and environmental conditions.

It’s comprised of a total sixteen garments – each providing a different complimentary functionality to the overall system.

Want to know more on this or other garments in the PCU system head on over to the inimitable ITS TACTICAL here:

Patagonia Lvl 4 Gen II Windshirt

Level 4 consists of a thin, windproof “wind shirt,” which is intended for use inside the system, though it can be worn as an outer layer. Generally it’s worn under other layers and helps retain 300% more heat than without a wind shirt. It is ideal in escape and evasion situations, as it’s very compact and can be rolled up and stuffed in a cargo pocket. It’s less durable than the Level 5 soft shell garments and not meant for high abrasion situations like low-crawling over rocks or work in which the wearer is getting into and out of vehicles with some frequency. It’s frequently worn as an under-layer beneath the soldier’s camouflage uniform and in helicopter use, or other situations with significant environmental wind.

With this in mind, I’ve used thus far as a supplementary garment for intended purpose whilst worn over a PolarTec ‘Grid Fleece’ and under my Patagonia Lvl 5 Gen II ‘Soft Shell’.

It’s worth mentioning here, The PCU system consists of synthetic materials that don’t retain moisture. While they may become wet, either from external moisture, or moisture generated by activity- they have been designed to dry quickly. The use of these materials stems from experiences mountaineers, who determined that it was impossible to stay perfectly dry. As a result, the superior strategy was to don materials that would shed water as fast as possible.

In short, this provided an ample protection against the recent freezing wind chill, biting cold snow and gale force winds, which even here in the South of the United Kingdom dropped as low as -12° …

Whilst we’ve apparently more inclement weather inbound, and even more snow due this weekend (at the time of writing) the temperatures have soared back into the early teens, and such a combination has proved, whilst on the move a little too warm, however, that’s a good thing, indicative of how much heat each garment traps, and naturally when combined it keeps you more than warm enough.


So proverbially, what do you get out of the box. The Patagonia Gen II ‘Lvl 4 Wind Shirt’ is not unlike its civilian ‘Houdini’ model, however is minus the stowage feature of being rolled into its own proprietary pocket/bag – no matter as we ‘Ranger Roll’ jackets here at the S23HQ

Made from ‘Epic Fabric’ the wind shirt offers a slightly thicker brushed twill, comparators to the Gen I and civilian models. Yet is still comes in at paltry 14 oz’s – so thin in fact is easily stuffed into any BDU pant pocket or large jacket pocket …

The Gen II features a full zip, as opposed to the original Gen I which was a half zippered pull over affair.

Like the Lvl 5 it has a generous hood, easily worn over head wear, be it a beanie, boonie or even PPE such as a helmet, and as expected can be cinched down using the double barrel locks on the bungee cord that runs through the brim.

It’s worth noting that unlike the Lvl5 the hood which is stored in the collar as is the Lvl 5’s has additional Velcro points, allowing the collar to be brought back up into a full neck coverage, thus with the zipper brought all the way up, gives good protection from chilling frosty winds.

The zipper runs up from waist to neck, is naturally expected, the industry standard, YKK – and as you can see, I’ve traditionally heat shrunk the paracord pull tab …

Cuffs are elasticated offer full closure, but unlike other garments are non abrasive nor do they cause irritation.

You can see the difference in fit and form against the Lvl 5.

The front of the torso is cut slightly higher in line with the belt line, and the back slight dropped fishtail style – offering a slightly more dynamic and athletic fit around the lower abdomen.

Both the Lvl 4 and 5 have again barrel locked waist adjusters to draw the jacket in as well as adapt fit and form to suit your preferences as well as keep out the elements.

The jacket has little in the way of storage but does have a small Velcro’d closure on the upper left chest area, ideal for keys, pens, chem lights or a small torch.

The material, as mentioned above is ‘Epic Fabric’ and is DWR treated, whilst recommended for only light precipitation stands up well against heavy rainfall, albeit temporarily as eventually it will start to wick.

A form of 100% nylon made by Readyone Industries.

To summarize this garment will undoubtedly stay a permanent feature stowed in my day sack, as even during the more clement months, of either spring or summer – is a quick solution to either high wind, light rain or cooler late evening.

Or as a combination with other garments if the weather really takes a sudden down turn.

Combined with the Lvl 5, and a PolarTec fleece, with a light neck gaiter and PolarTec watch cap (beanie) this jacket provided invaluable protection from the elements in recent weeks, it is – quite simply a very welcome addition to the gear locker – S23


1) lay the jacket out flat and zip up

2) fold over either sleeve and 1/5 of the torso

3) Repeat step two and you’ll now have the jacket in the form of a long rectangle

4) start to roll from the bottom up to the neck

5) Squeeze Rolled torso into hood, you can use the barrel locks to compress the hood size and achieve an even smaller pack – and if you so desire place in a zip lock bag from protection against water and quick and easy recovery from your pack as well as saving additional space and easier stowage – S23

**ORDER YOUR Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Patch**

S23 FAMILIA Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Edtn.

Qty Remaining: 12


Order the classic ‘Beer Mat’ Cloth Patch – now, new, improved, and rejuvenated for 2018 we are proud to offer the limited Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ classic edition for 2018. Strictly Limited run to only 100 pieces, only a maximum of two patches per order – never to be repeated.

This is a redesigned variant of the original Mk I ‘Beer Mat’ originally produced by ToySoldier for us, which was subsequently put out as a ‘give away’ – the original patches went as far as Finland, Norway, Japan, Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and of course all over the United Kingdom – S23


The Art of Rebellion – LBT Multicam Tropic 8000A Review

The Art of Rebellion – LBT Multicam Tropic 8000A Review

I spotted good friend over at Allied Risk Equipment letting go of some gears surplus to requirement, including this little gem, London Bridge Trading’ 8000A Pack.

Naturally, not only did he part out with it at an exceptionally good price, it is to all intents and purposes brand new.

Promptly shipped, it landed on my mat today with today’s post and it is upon inspection is as every bit as good as I expected.

Featuring the ubiquitous LBT Lion proudly on the side, this model of the 8000A is made from genuine high quality Multicam ‘Tropic’ pattern Cordura.

Whilst, I’m by no means adverse to the Multicam ‘Tropic’ Pantone’s, it’s a color way or rather camouflage I’ve optioned in favor of the defiantly populist and still highly effective original Multicam.

I recall initial footage of Tropic used in its intended AO, and was somewhat dismayed that, when put up against Multicam how much of silhouette it generated, but – I can concur, it performs superbly in low light, early dusk and dawn …

What drew my attention to this, was aside from having a bag for everyday load bearing of kit to and from work, naturally confident in LBT’s solid reputation for making good gear that lasts and stands up to use and abuse, and it’s uniquely alternative pattern – but that it is in the form of the traditional ‘school’ back pack style.

Pack Specifications and Features

• Large main compartment with tablet/laptop storage area on the back

• Medium sized exterior compartment

• Mesh storage area on exterior with draw string closure and loop for placement of morale patch

• Compartments secured with two (2) zippers with paracord pull tabs

• Adjustable padded shoulder straps with adjustable sternum strap

• Drain grommet on bottom of bag

• Carry Handle

• Overall dimensions approx: 14L x 8W x 16H

◦ Front pocket dimensions: 11.5H x 9W x 2.5D

A hark back to my old skate board days !!!

It features the classic oversized main bucket, however – LBT have opted to include a divider to allow separation of carried items, I’d imagine I’d keep soft goods, such as a soft shell, gloves and hat here, and my obligatory stash of coffee making equipment in the front facing side. Simply put, that’ll keep the clothing warm and dry and away from being soiled by my Coffee Press, Java Mill etc …

As you can clearly see, fitting in a jacket alongside a Jet Boil, Nagalene 1 LIt bottle and more, despite the diminutive stature of this day sack, is no problem, in fact it’s deceptively voluminous and has room for more.

It has a front facing pocket, again – a feature classic to this ‘school bag’ pack. Giving a little bit more carry space, and room to organize is no bad thing.

Last but not least, the front cargo pocket has a mesh kangaroo pouch, which a Velcro placement point, perfect for your latest morale patch, flag or call sign or IR identification.

This can be locked off, using the bungee drawing string and popper – great for short interim storage of keys, torches or glasses or even to dry and air out damp gloves …

Whilst the bag has no padded back, the shoulder straps are, and as I can attest upon loading up with a considerable amount of goods from the grocery store, it’s makes for a comfortable wear.

YKK zippers and zips used throughout, making it overall a little more than reassuringly standard, but a solid robust day sack.

Likewise, ITW furniture is used throughout.

Last but no least, it has the obligatory carry handle, here in MulticamCordura.

Here you can see it fully loaded, without breaking a sweat. It’s simplicity and brutal functionality over form makes it welcome addition to the gear locker, aside from the camouflage, it’s more otherwise sedate appearance harkens back to a simpler time.

The only adjustment I’ve made, as I traditionally do, is heat shrink the pull tabs !!!

However, undoubtedly, under the hood, with mil-spec stitching and construction throughout, I’m expecting a considerably longer lifespan to this day sack than the short lived packs that lasted barely a term during my college days – S23

**HERE IT IS – PREORDER OF THE Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 4th Anniversary Patch**

S23 FAMILIA Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 4th Anniversary Edtn.

Qty Remaining: 39


Pre Order the classic ‘Beer Mat’ Cloth Patch – now, new, improved, and rejuvenated for 2018 we are proud to offer the limited Mk 1.5‘Beer Mat’ classic edition for 2018. Strictly Limited run to only 100 pieces, only a maximum of two patches per order – never to be repeated.

This is a redesigned variant of the original Mk I ‘Beer Mat’ originally produced by ToySoldier for us, which was subsequently put out as a ‘give away’ – the original patches went as far as Finland, Norway, Japan, Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and of course all over the United Kingdom – S23

My War -Spotlight on ‘OLD SCHOOL’ Thales MBITR Radio Carrying Case Bag Pouch Black AN/PRC-148

My War -Spotlight on ‘OLD SCHOOL’ Thales MBITR Radio Carrying Case Bag Pouch Black AN/PRC-148

Photo courtesy of Legit-Kit

Backstory …

… earlier this week whilst trawling a few posts from groups and pages I follow, I spotted a piece of gear posted up on the TRI/TCA REPLICA MBITR USERS PAGE – it certainly caught my eye, and as it was posted by good friend Gunnar aka ‘Whoriar‘ who’s our contributing guest editor here today, I gave it a good look.

Not only had he posted up photos, but an exceptionally well written, short but no less sweet review of the item he’d recently acquired.

It’d had certainly piqued my interest, so much so I went and re read it later that day, and was encouraged to ask if he’d allow us to republish it.

He kindly agreed.

Well, what is it – it’s an old school Thales MBITR Radio Pouch/Storage Bag. Best describes as a ‘Carrying Case’ on the tag. These were provided with the PRC-148 MBITR Radios. These can attach to PALS/MOLLE via ALICE Clips. Great piece of kit!

These can be found for a very reasonable price on eBay and as we’ve borrowed a few stock photos from Legit-Kit I’ve included a link to several he has listed here:

Whoriar’s Review

This year I’m planning to write a series of gear reviews for the TCA/TRI Radio group. They might vary in quality and depth, but I hope I can satisfy your interest.

First out, one of the most basic items overlooked by most, the black PRC-148 carrying case.

I love the 148 radio. I have several replicas now, and while one is currently on my kit, the rest is stored in various types of boxes, bags or on the shelf in my closet.

But I found that I needed for a storage and transportation an option that could be both lightweight and versatile.

On eBay I found a pair of original US issue black nylon carrying cases. These fit the radio, a H-250 handset, antenna (both the whip and the blade antenna if you disassemble the gooseneck) a spare battery and a PTT (in this case, I used a PELTOR PTT).

The compartments are snug enough to provide a secure fit, yet roomy enough for small items like a relocation cable or some folded documents. This is ideal for keeping things organised and readily available if you need to grab a spare radio kit during weekend game.

The case has alice clips on the back so it can be used as a pouch on most any type of rigging, belt or webbing.

The main compartment has no less than four clips to secure it. The small compartment at the bottom is perfectly sized for a spare battery and is secured with one additional clip.

The black nylon is heavy duty (I’m guessing 500D) and each compartment has a small drain hole at the bottom. (the were used and popularized by SEALs from NSWS23)

The seams are solid and overall of solid quality as you should expect from a military issue item. I can’t seem to find anything on Google (don’t worry we’ve got you covered bro, as described above –S23) on who makes them but that doesn’t matter I believe when it comes to an item such as this.

For the money, such good value, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want one to keep things safe and tidy. No replicas of this are made, and I can’t think it ever will when the original is so readily available for a handful of change – Whoriar

S23 FAMILIA Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Edtn.

Qty Remaining: 54


Pre Order the classic ‘Beer Mat’ Cloth Patch – now, new, improved, and rejuvenated for 2018 we are proud to offer the limited Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ classic edition for 2018. Strictly Limited run to only 100 pieces, only a maximum of two patches per order – never to be repeated.

This is a redesigned variant of the original Mk I ‘Beer Mat’ originally produced by ToySoldier for us, which was subsequently put out as a ‘give away’ – the original patches went as far as Finland, Norway, Japan, Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and of course all over the United Kingdom – S23

New Jack – Obōz Bridger Bdry Mids Review

New Jack – Obōz Bridger Bdry Mids Review

Introduction – These Boots Are Made for Walking

Whilst even though I’m on a temporary hiatus I thought I’d dust off the blog and run up a review on my new boots, the Obōz Bridger Bdry Mids in Maple.

I recall as far back as my formative years, when attending high school I’d clock up considerable mileage on foot walking the three miles there and back again.

As such, I actually consider walking not only enjoyable, but a past time too.

It was then, I started to take a keen interest in footwear and enabled by fathers time in the Marines, and ever intrigued by his latest and greatest boot he’d purchased for duty as a PoliceOfficer I heeded and absorbed no end of solid advice on what makes a good boot, and there subsequent maintenance and care.

Now, whilst in more recent years, due to my own career, I’ve not only been issued a slew of high end boots for duty – such Lowa, Alt-Berg and Meindl, I’ve traditionally worn, in all weathers a high boot not only for ‘PlasticDeth’ (Airsoft, MilSim – whatever your preferred nomenclature is) but, walking to and from work, and out and about in everyday life.

Why? well, despite living in leafy suburbia and my daily commute into the city, you’d be amazed the amount of mud, gravel, sand there is to traverse and not forgetting snow, ice and frost and of course the United Kingdom’s ever abundant precipitation.

In my teens I was very much taken by high end skate wear, however, I was alway crestfallen when they picked up dirt and grime or worse, not cope with the inclement weather or withstand the daily tread of urban environments.

I must confess, my like my daughters beloved Peppa and George, I too have a propensity to walking through muddy puddles. I take no end of pleasure, and affirmation putting the latest and greatest boots through a little bit of ‘water torture’ too …

Obōz Bridger Bdry Mids ‘Maple’ Boots

I discovered Obōz whilst seeking to replace my much loved and subsequently third pair of Salomon Quest 4D GTX’s in the ubiquitous ‘Absolute Brown’ – a truly superb boot, and as they where becoming harder to find in that color way, I turned elsewhere.

Initially looked long and hard at Crispi’s ‘Nevada’ boots, but being unable to settle upon an agreeable price, let alone find my size I was dissuaded by conflicting size conversion. However, it was here Obōz popped up on amongst my searches and with additional recommendation from GearWhores Anonymous I was compelled to take the plunge and jump all in …

Here, disaster struck, and the fledgling Obōz had no distribution outside of the States, nor could I find any in stock or at reasonable price without exorbitantly priced shipping costs.

Fortunately, my new boot dilemma was solved in the form of AKU’sPilgrimGTX’s and whilst they are just about serviceable, they’ve been retired after over a years very heavy use and abuse, I’m sure I’ll pick up another pair of those too, in the future.

So, again in need of new footwear, I found a UK based company stocking not only a wide selection of Obōz footwear, but my ‘grail’ the Bridger Bdry Mid – in the Maple color way too, with 40% off, I doubled down without a moments hesitation.

About Obōz

Outside + Bozeman = Obōz.

Based in Bozeman, Montana. Revolutionary footwear in groovy designs. Technical does not have to be dull! Obōz has just what you need when it comes to trail shoes, hiking shoes, hiking boots and mountaineering boots. Oh, and casual wear of course.

FACT: Being the good guys that they are, they plant a tree for every shoe sold.


Waterproof Nubuck Leather

• BDry Membrane: Keep dry when the trail isn’t. Our proprietary BDry membrane blocks water from wet trails while wicking sweat away.

Moulded Rubber Toe Cap

• Moulded Heel Counter: Snug heel hold that’s built to last. We mould this heel counter, making it extra durable against collapse.

Construction: Board Lasted

• BFit Deluxe Insole: A supremely supportive insole, engineered specifically for our shoes. The BFit Deluxe Insole stabilizes arches, protects high-impact zones, and costs nothing extra.

• Midsole: Dual Density EVA

• TPU Chassis – Lightweight, powerful armoring and stability. Our TPU Chassis provides featherweight, effective armour underfoot, reducing stone bruising and torsional twist.

• Nylon Shank

Outsole: Granite Peak

• Weight (approx.): 539 g

Review – A First Impression

Without a doubt it’s a great looking boot, well – in my opinion, and I’d wager as many of the aesthetics seen here are carried across the range of Obōz’ boots, it’s certainly proved popular with the ever growing legion of Obōz .

I’m a huge fan of the Maple Nubuck Leathers colorway, it offsets nicely against the orange and black furniture surrounding the boot, and it’s washed grey green Pantone suitably subtle and reserved for any setting.

More in importantly, the Nubuck is proofed offering the boots it’s initial first defense against precipitation and standing water.

I take no end of pleasure seeing water bead of any apparel and these boots are no exception.

Already trialed out in heavy rain and slick mud, the Bridger Bdry’s seem almost hungry for more abuse, the wetter the better.

It was here too, traversing through rain filled and slick muddy pathways the ‘Granite Peak’ outsole and TPU Chassis combined with the boots midsole’s dual density EVA really shined and performed solidly – offering real grip and traction, switching seamlessly from inch this mud to gravel within a beat and no impact on positive tread.

The outer soles patented ‘GranitePeak’ is aggressively cut and toothed elevating the foot and the rest of the boot, giving a generous elevation off and away from whatever terrain you are traversing.

Whilst it wore quickly, when worn on concrete, the outer sole does have a beveled texture and this gives the grip a nice tacky tread, especially when the deck is wet or slick from either rain or frost.

That said, other than the fine texture the soles have shown zero fatigue, damage or otherwise – they’re as tough as they are aggressive looking.

The boots rubberized toe cap pushes debris, dirt and dust and moisture away from the boot with ease, and here I’m happy to report its generously oversized so as you’d expect, offering not only protection from unwanted bumps and scrapes but admirably over performs.

Likewise the rear of the boot nylon shank offers protection and assists with a solid posture of the foot when laced securely against the ankle, despite being a lower cut mid boot, particular with the rear of the boots mouth being scalloped to allow great movement I nonetheless felt assured by the boots support.

So, essentially the two part sole forms a base, or rather platform within which the boots Nubuck outer and proprietary GoreTex lining sits, which is further protected by the rubberized cap and nylon shank.

However, Obōz haven’t stopped there, and put in the own in house designed Bfit Deluxe Insole, superior support, stabilizes arches, protects high-impact zones – it’s perhaps here thar truly the Bdry’s quality and innovative design is best represented.

All of the above is finished off with generously thick laces, which naturally secure the boot and lock off the tongue and mouth of the boot.

They fit true to size, and when properly opened and released utilizing the lace system they are very easy to don abs doff, and of course as easy to securely cinch too.

It’d be remiss of me to not mention the boots weight, at only 539g these are barely noticeable when worn, when you can tear your eyes away from how good they look that is …

I’m already an immediate fan, and as it stands today highly impressed, and as such looking at the slightly higher cut variant in black for work, particularly when duties call upon us to explore some unforgiving and muddy terrain.

I’d argue, despite the competitive price point, Obōz have very generously over engineered a very high end boot. The Bridger Bdry gives many of its high end competitors a serious run for their money. I’d best describe these as ‘foot armor’ – with its two part component outer sole offering abrasive traction and protection, the midsole giving substantial shock absorption too. Leaving the inner sole to cushion, support and assist the foots natural articulation and tread, rubber toe cap and nylon shank covering the front and rear – Obōz has your back.

Don’t just take my word for it, Rich over at the Reptile House, lauded them as the boot communities best kept secret and warmly welcomed me into the ‘secret cabal’ of Obōz faithful.

I’d encourage any outdoors enthusiast, experienced or casual walker or explorer – or even for that matter die hard exponent of ‘Plastic Deth’ to duly consider Obōz when looking to purchase a new boot. A truly welcome, and warmly received entry to the ‘gear locker’ – S23

*Bonus Section – Danish Endurance Merino Wool Socks

For years, I’ve eschewed perhaps the most vital part for truly enjoying and optimizing any boot I’ve owned, socks !!!

Whilst I’ve used either good quality cotton or wool socks, or generic thicker twill boot socks – I’ve missed out on what some of the hiking and trekking ‘boot communities’ have been enjoying for decades.

I’ve a few other brands to try, but initially opted for Danish Endurance’ Merino Wool Hiking Socks in Forest Green no less.

Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks are the perfect hiking partner to help you perform at your best.

These socks are designed to keep your feet dry, warm and comfortable.

The cushioning will prevent your feet from getting blisters, aching and optimize ventilation.

1) Premium craftsmanship for durability

2) Perfect Anatomical fit

3) Optimum padding to prevent blisters and wick away perspiration

Constructed from 33% Merino Wool, 33% Acrylic and 33% Polyamide plus 1% Elastane – these are an ingenious hybrid of Boot, Sports and Support sock all rolled into one.

The thick Merino Wool panels offer warmth to the toes, heel and lower ankle. Acrylic calf and upper foot stretches to promote correct articulation and Polyamide stretch panels proffer support.

These compliment the boots no end and will be surely stocking up on more imminently – S23

S23 FAMILIA Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Edtn.

Qty Remaining: 54


Pre Order the classic ‘Beer Mat’ Cloth Patch – now, new, improved, and rejuvenated for 2018 we are proud to offer the limited Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ classic edition for 2018. Strictly Limited run to only 100 pieces, only a maximum of two patches per order – never to be repeated.

This is a redesigned variant of the original Mk I ‘Beer Mat’ originally produced by ToySoldier for us, which was subsequently put out as a ‘give away’ – the original patches went as far as Finland, Norway, Japan, Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and of course all over the United Kingdom – S23

Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear Pt I ‘The Phalanx Two Day Pack’

Keepin’ It Real – Spotlight and Review on Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear Pt I ‘The Phalanx Two Day Pack’

The good people over at Scott Country reached out to us and spoke to us about having a good look at some of their Cannae Pro Gear Range.

Naturally, an exciting prospect, and a venture we were only too happy to undertake – as in fact we’d been already following their product range with no end of considerable insterest.

Cannae Pro Gear has an interesting and  cool history, and whilst I’ll save their modesty and blushes as I understand it, this is born from a renowned and since much longed for and lamented industry leader in gear manufacturing, who back in the early days where one of the leading innovators in modern gear and equipment.
Subsequently reborn, under the auspices of Scott Country, Cannae Pro Gear has been subsequently unleashed upon the discerning tactical gear world. That should perhaps, despite being somewhat vague give you, the reader a baseline from which to approach this review and the pedigree from which Scott Country’s Cannae Pro Gear is originates from.

Scott Country sent several pieces they thought would interest us the most, and more importantly you the reader. So much so, I’ve decided to give each one it’s own individual review.

This review, is the first of three and we’ll endeavor to give each one a detailed inspective insight into what each product is capable of.
The first piece of Cannae Pro Gear will look at is the Phalanx Full Size Two Day Pack w/ Helmet Carry

The Phalanx Features and Details

It’s significant to note, each bag comes with a label, this is well worth keeping as it gives you the end user not only a brief but succinct over of the bags features and details but includes the code for registering your product under their life time warranty policy.
Further more the card supplied gives a brief overview – ‘detail’ of the bags capabilities and functions.

• Comfortable Yoke Strap

• MOLLE Webbing along both shoulder straps

• Sternum Buckle (which also features an emergency whistle function)

• EVA Foam Air Circulated Back

• Removable Waist Belt

• Concealed Hydration Compartment

• Eye Protection Hard Pouch

• Patch Field

• Helmet Carry

• Quick Access Open Pocket

• Bottom Compression Straps

• 9 x 6″ Zipper Mag Pouch

• MOLLE throughout
All of this is supported by Duraflex Buckles, Hard Wear and Furniture including D-Rings and Clips, as well as YKK zippers with super grip pull tabs, and as you’d expect 500D Invista Cordura throughout.

… in Cordura we trust …
It dimensions are as follows:
• Capacity: 21 Litres

• Dimensions: 19.5″ in height x 11.5″

in width and a depth of 6″ (59.5 (H) x 29.2 (W) x 15.2 (D) cm)

• Weight: 2.9 Ibs/1.3 Kgs

Phalanx Review 
Literally, straight out of the packet or proverbial box if you will, The Phalanx screams function over form. That’s by no means to describe it as ugly or unbecoming in appearance, but perhaps in deference to other ‘prettier’ packs – The Phalanx is quite clearly here to do work and has some very specific tasks in mind.
It’s that no thrills honesty, that immediately draws an element of ‘old school’ admiration and respect.
Initial inspection clearly evidenced that this in the first instance has been ‘built’ with hard use – and abuse in mind.
Don’t let it’s broadly ambiguous appearance fool you or dissuade you against more aesthetically appealing products which may well lack some of the operability of Cannae’s Phalanx.

Phalanx Full Size Two Day Pack w/ Helmet Carry

The stitching is solid and consistent throughout, with many of the external pockets and the packs main ‘bucket’ being reinforced with additional ‘Cordura‘ panels, to protect not only contents, but the actual exterior from abrasive wear and tear and ensure longevity and prevent dreaded failure ‘in the field’ …

… hydration bladder is housed in the concealed pocket behind the EVA backer and has pocket to feed the bladders drinking tube through. Look closely and you’ll the emergency whistle on the chest straps clasp …
I was personally thrilled to see all retention straps are looped and stitched at the end, and feature a double side male and female Velcro ‘tidy’. This is ideal for cinching off the straps to size and not only storing them safely out of the way from snagging on branches or doors of vehicles or cargo holds but assists with keeping them locked at their desired setting. As you’d expect some of these straps are for assisting with expanding or compressing the pack, ultimately preventing contents needless rolling around and either interfering with ‘noise discipline’ or becoming unnecessarily jumbled about.

… fully loaded with primary, secondary, clothing and even a HSP D3 CR …

My initial overview and review here, was essentially an attempt to play with the bag and see just how much I’d could fill up its interior, what applications could I use it’s interior pockets and compartments for, and could I carry most if not all  of the equipment, gear and clothing I take out for longer extended events.

The answer to that quite simply is yes, but perhaps understanding the limitations of the bags volume, which is generous – but you the end user need to understand and decide on priority of packing, more critically what you intended to to immediately use, and what can be carried and drawn from the Phalanx as required.

… spare gear and clothing for inclement weather …

I’ll explain further. The Phalanx is broadly quite capable in the first instance of carrying my blaster when both the receiver and lower are disassembled, my secondary blaster, a jacket, such as soft shel shirt or light weight PCU and even at push, a spare set of pants and shirt. Additionally spare magazines, perhaps your primary load for both your rifle and secondary as seen here. As well your helmet utilizing the the exterior ‘kangaroo’ pouch as I’ve aptly nicknamed it.

… easily secures this Ops Core Maritime when on patrol …

The helmet storage –  functionality at it finest, however – and by no means fault of the Phalanx, but in my attempt to ‘pressure test’ just how exhaustive the pack could be carrying all of my immediate gear it proved to be a tight fit. However, as I mentioned earlier, it’s about managing your, or in this case my expectations. Here in this instance, once some of the equipment  has been deployed, such blasters, there’s a little more give and depth given back to the pack. As such using the retention straps and bungee paracord fasteners the ‘kangaroo pouch’ can be adjusted to accommodate your head PPE. Simply then drawing the straps tight your helmet is now secure, of course not forgetting to tidy those straps away with the supplied Velcro closures.

I’ve also here dropped in one of my Source hydration bladders, which sits inside the quilted and micro fleeced pocket, which zippered behind the back, which unlike many other packs has ‘concealed channel for feeding out onto the left shoulder strap, a nice touch often overlooked on other packs I’ve owned, and is perhaps indicative of the packs design and innovative thought that’s been applied throughout.

Sticking with my brief of seeing just how much I could get inside the Phalanx opening the main primary cargo pocket shows Cannae have used every inch of space to offering functionality. The main pockets opening aperture forms a zippered and pocketed tray. This has allowed me to store batteries, pens and markers, Cymalume’s, torch, watch cap and face wrap.

… main cargo tray features two mesh pockets for contents visibility and two partitioned lower pockets with a singular master zippered closure …

Inside the main cargo pocket you can see, I’ve got clothing, weaponry, magazines, gloves, headwear and much more. All of the interior is padded and quilted and alongside the walls of the main cargo area are again covered with micro fleeced lining to prevent wear and tear against the interiors contents when being moved around in vehicles, storage or during use. There’s two adjustable elasticated straps, my initial thoughts were to use these to retain my rifle when stored, but alternative they too can be used to compress larger items of clothing.

… secure …

The main cargo pocket also has an additional sleeve, with Velcro retention flap, again I intend to store in the first instance, shirt and pants here, but concur it’s of comparable size for either armor plates or even a laptop.

More importantly, the pack when fully loaded is an easy wear. Holding here, just short of 30 Ilbs it’s comfortable and the EVA padded back, in conjunction with the generously padded shoulders makes easy work of heavy loads.

This channels heat away from the body, using the meshed interiors of the straps to allow air to ventilate and EVA pads keep the pack off the back as much as possible again to promote good gear management.

Cannae Pro haven’t stopped there, it’s with good examination you’ll find lots of details and additional features such the external admin pocket.

The Padded Eye Pro pocket and patch field, which with its merrowed border which decreases wear and fatigue of the Velcro. Are just some of the many additional features that really make this pack a true contender for your attention.

Or the packs external right side pocket ideal for additional magazines – the possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.

I’m proud to welcome this to the gear locker, and keen to put it through its paces at Airsoft International’s Ai500 at the end of September.

It is The Phalanx’s shining strength, its versatility to switch between load bearing carriage option and quickly changing gears to be used as mission specific pack. Alternatively, using the compression straps it would easily be at home used as an every day carry pack be on outdoor adventures, to work or to and from training – S23

You can check out more from Scott Country and view all their products including Cannae Pro Gear at the links below:

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**STICKERZ, PATCHES & GEAR** Head on over to and gear up at (link is also in my IG bio) and show your #ogpunkrockhardcoreplasticdeth #s23familia pride …

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Spotlight review on WarCry’s HexCam Face Wraps

Spotlight review on WarCry’s HexCam Face Wraps

Lets start at the beginning. HexCam is a veteran owned and designed revolutionary honeycomb camouflage based on naturally occurring patterns found in several animal species. It’s versatile design has already been proven to perform well in a multitude of environments against some of leading designs in the industry.
We received two patterns, in the form of War Cry Apparel’s Face Wraps, from our good friends over at Allied Risk Equipment. Selecting two patterns that we felt best suited environments and topography that we most commonly found ourselves in.

… options – Allied’s Arid vs HexCam’s Spectre and Wasteland. All three are going in the kit bag, ‘one is none’ …
Before we discuss these further, War Cry CEO Gerry Searfoss had this to say, and puts this suite of camouflage into perspective – ‘Hexcam USA is a camouflage line under WarCry Apparel. As an American disabled veteran company it was our goal to bring a quality and functional pattern to the hunting, tactical and recreational community. The Hex is nature’s strongest shape, when combined with other hexagons it forms solid shapes within the pattern. With our patented shading and color techniques we have been able to create an illusion of three dimensional depth.’

It’s that very quote which for me is pivotal to this review, and whilst I’m no authoritative expert on camouflage other than what I’ve used for perhaps the best part of decade –  a multitude of patterns with a varying degrees of success.
This success or effectiveness has in part been based on utilizing the right camouflage for the right environments. 
More often than not, most modern camouflage, ideally is perhaps employed in low light, and as I’ve often found using the wrong camouflage whilst operating in the pursuit of ‘fun’ can result in hilarious consequences – I can only imagine that in the real world, the consequences are dangerous and quite possibly fatal.
However, something the really intrigued me with HexCam, and it has been attempted both successfully and unsuccessfully by individual patterns and other suites of patterns is to create the illusion or the appearance of depth, shadow and ultimately disrupting form and shape which the human eye and brain instinctively and unconsciously pick up on.
Whilst almost virtually essay worthy in itself, most modern infantry, particularly those who are employed as snipers are trained to further utilize this concept and natural instinctive behavior to not only further conceal themselves but to spot and identify targets too.


As stated above in the reviews opening introduction, HexCam have sought to provide a suite of patterns which emulate naturally occurring shapes and patterns amongst animals, plants, fauna and environments and use a series of naturally based algorithms to generate a series of shaded hexagonal patterns – which, in layman’s terms disrupt the perception of depth as perceived by the human eye.

Spectre vs Wasteland – just two of six patterns available, giving the option to choose a pattern best suited to the environment and specific light and topographical conditions …

I’d further describe this, as I can best example, it’s not entirely dissimilar to gazing into a heavily leafed tree. It’s almost three dimensional appearance creates an illusion of depth and distance, which is arguably counters, going some way, to preventing the human eye from naturally detecting shapes and form instinctively otherwise recognized.

… camouflage to suit your AO …
More over, HexCam have identified that perhaps no one pattern truly works in anyone AO. These variants include patterns such as Wasteland, Spectre (the two I selected to review) and additionally Makalu, Attica, Adirondack and 5-Echo.
These patterns obviously have some specific applications, however I chose Spectre and Wasteland specifically for several reasons. Both tonally used a series of color ways which I felt really best reflected the UK’s foliage and forestry and really resonated with my perception of colors, shape and form as seen and observed in low light, such as dusk or very early dawn. 

Specifically as we enter a time of year when the colors and shades of the UK really start to mix and change, these seemed ideal options as we enter Autumn.

HexCam Review

… blend in …

So, as supplied from Allied Risk Equipment, the Spectre and Wasteland patterns – where chosen by us. It’s certainly a visually challenging pattern, and whilst I really, really find it aesthetically appealing. It certainly could be argued, it won’t win any fashion accolades for being ‘pretty’.

It’s that very principle, that it clearly adopts the muted tones and shapes of environments at particular times of the year, specifically the Autumn – those muted washed grey greens and pale limes, combined with the dark browns, coppers and oranges which made me snap up Spectre and Wasteland variants.

Some of the tones are certainly evocative of palettes used by famous artists and illustrators in their landscapes – who using a select palette of tones, particularly to capture visually a particular time of day, or season for that matter. I in fact wondered if art had either consciously or subconsciously influenced HexCam’s design, or perhaps their study of nature had serendipitously arrived at the same conclusion.

Choosing between either two as a favorite is no easy task, as is deciding which is more effective – as such I’d argue that it’s perhaps akin to choosing a ‘favorite child’.

… Wasteland Pattern …

That however, is inconsequentially irrelevant is that ‘Wasteland‘ is my preferred option for day light use and ‘Spectre‘ will undoubtedly be employed during the low light of dusk and dawn as well as the gloom and shadow of the night. I’ve got an event coming up where I be employing both specifically in those very conditions.

… Spectre Pattern …

As exampled, I found that Wasteland proves to be a complimentary accompanying pattern to pre existing pattern amongst my collection, serving well alongside Multicam.

And the darker tones effectively alongside the venerable but ever popular M81 ‘Woodland’ pattern.

However, I would offer in countenance, true effective pattern disruption would best achieved utilizing either BDU’s or Technical Apparel in HexCam’s patterns, possibly even using several patterns at once. I for one will be seriously looking at Spectre patterns for pants and Wasteland for Shirt color ways and again combing with either a Spectre or Wasteland face wrap. 

So, to summarize, I’m highly impressed, in fact smitten with the two patterns issued here, and will putting these in the gear bag or day sack permanently f’sure – if only as its good to have alternatives and options, and these will sit perfectly alongside my MOE.Gun’s Allied Risk Equipment’s face wrap which we reviewed earlier this year, which is perhaps better suited for either the summer or more muted tones of winter.

… both patterns compliment and work with pre existing suites of patterns with ease …

Like Allied’s wrap – these wraps are constructed from 92% polyester and 8% spandex – which makes for a lightweight and breathable wear. Better yet, they’re tapered at either end and crocodile stitched along the ‘spine’ of the wrap which helps it sit more comfortably around the face and not otherwise gathering around the neck.

… Spectre – ideal for low light, dusk, dawn or the dead of night …
I’m aware, that these subsequently may be produced in a lighter and ventilated variant, needless to say retaining the pattern and colors seen here, but most possibly done so for use in warmer or more historically humid climes.

… perfectly suited to the UK’s, North Europe and North American foliage and fauna …

That said, in part why I’ve specifically chosen to look at the camouflage and its effectiveness as a pattern – its impressive, if only for the initial fact it’s broken my traditional perceptions of what a camouflage can do or what we should expect from other current patterns in use today – I’d go as far to call it ‘intelligent’ and look forward to seeing where, who and what’s it’s employed for – S23


At Allied Risk Equipment has a very limited number of wraps and ball caps in stock, and as I understand it are the only current UK stockist, you can take a look or better yet pick them up here:

You can keep updated with HexCam here:

And of course check out projects, products and equipment from WarCry Apparel:


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Painkiller – Dan S from Red Troop gives an account of Ambush Adventures   Longmoor Event

Painkiller – Dan S from Red Troop gives an account ofAmbush Adventures  Longmoor Event


I had the good fortune and pleasure of befriending Dan S from Red Troop a few years back, if memory serves on the 4th or 5th outing leading TF Viper at the Ai500.
I distinctly recall talking all thing Marui and NGRS as we swapped notes on blasters and admiringly snapped a few phot’s of his awesome blasters.

Well, suffice to say over the years since Dan has not only become a good friend and a long time supporter of the blog, and I all too frequently enjoy his updates and little pieces on all things Plastic Deth on both the Red Troop page and naturally his IG feed.

He recently enquired if I’d be attending an upcoming event at Longmoor FIBUA training camp, lamentably, I was thwarted from doing so due to yet more cancelled rest days …
So we invited Dan to document his exploits, better yet whilst alongside other luminaries from the blog, Diablo, Gray Fox and Cobalt, collectively formed here as CTF226.


Getting up at 05:00 Hrs isn’t how I’d usually choose to spend my Sunday morning, but sometimes the game your attending makes it worthwhile. I was invited by a friend of mine, James (C12 from Cobalt) to play at Longmoor with Ambush Adventures alongside the collective of teams known at CTF226 or as they jokingly refer to themselves ‘The Pain Train‘. 

I’ve met a lot of the guys from Cobalt and Diablo from previous games so it was nice to have a reasonable sized group to be playing with, as I’m a firm believer that Airsoft is about those you play with and against …
A game can be whatever you want it to be if your with the right people. As for the site, Longmoor is a site I’ve been to a couple of times before and it has never failed to impress me, although its not a perfect site for Airsoft as some of the open ground can make assaulting buidings a real challenge. 
We arrived on site at around 08:30 Hrs and were shepherded into the FOB area to park up and get our gear ready, this also acted as a safezone throughout the day and was home to a small selection of stock the guys at Socom Tactical had brought down for sale.
I stocked up on a few extra flashbangs and smokes and then headed back to my car to do those final touches that never seem to get sorted until your on site …

Safety Brief

Radios programmed in, Comm’s tested and final pat downs and adjustments made to belts and straps. We grabbed our gear and headed to the safety brief. Safety briefs are something I have a love/hate relationship with …
Pretty much all the information isn’t often news to most Airsofters and generally the essential and site specific stuff is available in an event page or a warn off/pre-mission pack (as per Stirling Events) …
However, they are something you can’t really avoid and I generally try and just listen and not ask too many stupid questions. The Ambush Adventures brief was around 20 minutes long and included a few photos and videos to give examples and keep people entertained. Once the brief was out of the way we grabbed our kit and made our way to the bottom end of the village for our ‘re-gen’ point to dump our day sacks and grab bags, unfortunately we had longer to walk and either through a comms error or an eagerness to begin, we ended up being caught in the middle of a firefight halfway to our start point. 
The first game was a warm up, something i’ve not encountered at a ‘MilSim‘ game before, although I didnt have any misconceptions about this being anything more than an objective based skirmish at a good site run by a very experienced team. 

The defining characteristic for me at a MilSim is that the stucture of an event is geared towards the tension and the anticipation of a good firefight rather than just wading in straight away, this event was always quite clearly going to be a battle of attrition from the moment game on was called. 

Assaulters Up

With this in our heads, myself and the guys from CTF226 (This time made up of Cobalt, Gray Fox and Diablo) we decided that to win the day we had to deny the use of the village to the opposition – and with the buildings near the railway being key to holding the whole area, we pushed in. 

Easier said than done as it turns out, the other team had set up in the very first set of buildings and were raining fire down on us from the moment we were in range. We decided that flanking to the right and taking over those buildings would give us freedom of movement along all three lines of housing and the adjoining gardens and alleyways. 
After gaining access to these buildings a few of us pushed forward to take the furthest line of houses, although with limited access points we had to make use of the windows and hoisting guys over the eight foot walls to gain access throught the gardens. I was massively impressed by the holes these guys could squeeze themselves through and on a number of occasions we came up behind the unsuspecting enemy and cleared them out the buildings. 
Throughout the morning we moved back and forth between re gen and the contested buildings and although the hit taking wasnt perfect, there was a slight breeze that could have accounted for some of the longer shots missing their mark. The marshals were always around but never in the way. 


The weather started to get warmer and warmer throughout the morning and I managed to get though my entire hydration bladder before we were called to ceasefire for lunch at roughly 13:00 Hrs. 

I had packed a small lunch but the smell of Pulled Pork rolls wafting through the air grabbed my attention (no surprise to anyone who knows me). Lunch was a whole hour, I feel this really cut into the amount of game time we had, and although I’m sure my body was grateful for the rest and time to grab another couple of pints of water I think 30 minutes would have been plenty.
After lunch, we made our way back to the regen point and I decided to cut down on the kit I was carrying. I had barely managed to keep up with the other guys in the morning, and my plate carrier had caused a few issues getting through mouseholes etc …

Gear Change

A quick swap to a Haley Stategic D3CR and simply mounting my holster on my trouser belt really lightened to the load, although I had to make some hard decisions about what I could carry. In the end, my afternoon loadout consisted of 5 PMAGs, 3 glock mags, comms, 4 smokes and a few frags chucked into cargo pockets. It wasnt perfect but I knew it would allow me though smaller gaps and make crossing that openground a lot quicker, It would also make storming buildings quite painful unless i got the drop on them. The remainder of the afternoon we ended up being cut into 2/3 units due to high numbers of casualties returned to re gen, although having effective comms meant that we could effectively inform each other of friendly and enemy positions. 
The gameplay had slowed down a little by this point and generally we were holding buildings and denying their use to the other team, something that was pretty simple as most people had become a lot slower and I suspect a few had mild dehydration and thus were not performing as well as they could have been.


At 16:30 Hrs game over was called, this was a touch early in my opinion as with the lunch break of an hour and the late start in the morning it had cut us to just 4 hours of gameplay. Having said that, the late start wasnt completely their fault and they did try and get everyone sorted and ready to go as soon as possible. There was even a case of at least two players being turned away after the gate closure at 09:30 Hrs, very unfortunate for the guys involved but it does show that they were trying to stick to their published schedule. All in, the walk on was £40 which I feel was worth it for the game I played.  

Final Words

Would I recommend the site? Absolutely. Would I recommend the Event team – yes, but as with all events, make sure you know in your head what type of game this is and have a clear idea of what you want to get out of it. I went into the game with a simple objective …
Storm buildings, shoot people and have good fun with some likeminded people, I was happy at the end of the day because I had accomplished all three of my objectives. I dont know which team won that day, nor do I really care … 
If it was part of a storyline I had invested time and energy into such as Infiltration’s “DystopianSim” or Stirling Airsoft’s ongoing “Chadistan” conflict I might have fought harder for the greater good, but without the groundwork there I simply wanted to put all those expensive toys to use and play Plastic Deth!

My thanks to Diablo, Cobalt and Gray Fox for allowing me to join them for the day, also to Bob and Doug from Reading Gunners who it was nice to catch up with. The event staff for running in my opinion a sucessful day and finally to my wife, for not killing me after waking her up at 05:00 Hrs – Dan S

(**additional photography courtesy of Gray Fox, Diablo and Cobalt**)

Catch up with Red Troop here:

Ambush Adventures:

Gray Fox:




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