G3 COMBAT PANT™ Multicam Pants Review
Crye Precision the Birth of a Revolution
I recently had the good fortune to supplement the gear locker with a set of Crye’s G3 Combat Pants in the ubiquitous Multicam no less, in excellent condition from very good friend Scott over at Task Force Neptune.
Representing such good value, the price point made these, an opportunity to good to pass up – if only for the purpose to review them vs my previously owned Crye AC sets, UKSF and Custom respectively …
Whilst here, I’ve included considerable preamble before review – this is to perhaps best illustrate and set the tone and context within which the framework of this article focuses on.
Perhaps best illustrate the design, innovation and creative thought process by Crye Precision LLC we’ll take a look back just short of nearly two decades and set the tone for this review with a little retrospective insight. Much of what follows here in this introduction is extrapolated, or perhaps rather, is an interpolation of an interview published a few years back on the After Cooper site. I’ve included the link, as there’s much more to read …
Caleb Crye and Gregg Thompson, a School of Art graduate (’97) and an Albert Nerken School of Engineering graduate (’00) respectively, founded a business fourteen years ago that seamlessly united the art and science of their alma mater.
Crye Precision started as a “nothing to lose” spare-time venture in a studio above Chelsea Market that has grown to occupy 56,000 square feet of space employing 150 people in New York and New Jersey.
Here they design, prototype and manufacture protective clothing for the United States Military in a competitive industry market that not only keeps American troops alive but also arguably helps keep a shrinking Stateside Tactical Clothing and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) industry from an untimely demise.
Post-graduation, after two years of commercial design work, Crye decided to try developing products for the military, Caleb was quoted “because it would be rewarding and I actually like the military,” . In pre-9/11 New York, Crye says, “it felt like the military was not viewed positively and growing up I never really had that feeling. I’m a huge fan of freedom and see our military as big part of what safeguards that.”
Thompson, still completing his Masters at Cooper while working full time in the sculpture shop, came on board too.
For their first venture Crye Precision designed, prototyped and pitched a new version of the crude portable computer then used to calculate angle and propulsion for mortar ballistics. They learned their first hard lesson: the commercial model for getting business does not apply to the military. “We didn’t know that’s not the way the military works. That’s not the way you are going to get a contract”Thompson explains.
Instead you must develop products that meet a publicly stated need. So they proposed to work on an initiative to “revolutionize the soldier” by focusing on body armor and garments.
Their first assignment was to design a new helmet for the Army. They had only eight weeks to do it but crunch-time skills honed at Cooper came in handy. “So we made two, fully-functioning carbon-fiber prototypes that included integrated communications, removable chem/bio protection, flip-down goggles and integrated cameras” Crye says, “It was our first job for the Army and we wanted to hit it out of the park.”
As it happened, September 11, 2001 occurred at the midpoint of their development work. The resulting escalation in Afghanistan, followed by the invasion of Iraq, put CryePrecision in greater demand.
Over time the company found itself focusing more on the needs of Special Forces troops because, Thompson states “their needs are very tangible and they give direct feedback.
For more insight you can also watch this short video interview with Caleb Crye
However Crye and Thompson began to feel frustrated in their inability to mass-produce the products they designed. “Guys are telling us they want our stuff but we were not a manufacturer at the time and could not say when the gear would be available”
So they decided to take a risk and move into the world of production as well as design.
Overview – Specifications, Material and Features
I’ll breakdown here the bullet points to give you ‘liner note’ style an overview, however, as Crye’ succinctly explain on their product catalogue:
designed as a no-compromise assault uniform, these pants are aggressively cut for maximum mobility. These combat-proven pants are sized in 2″ waist increments and multiple lengths for a perfect fit. Features a unique padded waistband and hi-mobility stretch panels at the knee and lower back. 10 pockets. Designed for use with our patented removable AirFlex™ Combat Knee Pads (sold separately). Base fabric is Mil-Spec 50/50 NYCO ripstop with durable a 4-way stretch-woven accents. Zip fly with VELCRO® brand closure.
Unique low-profile adjustable waist feature. Patented, see http://www.lwpatents.com. Made in the US from US materials.
• Unique low-profile waist adjust system
‘this is an intriguing feature, as such – Crye’ fit and form is a uniquely individual experience and, as supplied here – if you ‘read between’ the sizes you may well find a larger or smaller size can actually be at the very least – more comfortable and offer a wider latitude of movement and articulation. Point in case, I’m a longlegged 6ft tall and wear in a traditional boot cut pant, a 34R or 34L – however, confident in Crye‘ fit and form, these at 36S would be sufficiently adjustable.
Here, the waist adjusters cinch down viaelasticized Velcro Hypalon tabs to provide – combined with the front pockets which house the height bungee paracord adjusters not only transform these into a moredesirable size, but benefit is to be had from the larger and looser intended cut. This gives a more palpable sense of movement and mitigates restriction.’
• Each cargo pocket conceals water bottle/magazine stabilizer
‘whilst a simple feature, dismissively overlooked for its ingenuity, it’s the small details that really make the pants design shine. I’d even counter further, and illustrative of Crye’ design ethos.
A secure elastic loop centered in the middle of the bloused cargo pockets offers security for radios, magazines, bottles of water or comparable sized items – I’ve even placed certain sized pouches here. It’s security, retention and allows you to intuitively locate what you’ve housed without a second thought.
• Dedicated knife/light holder that still allows pocket access
‘A nice feature, however unless the item has clip invariably it drops through to the larger side cargo pockets. I’d suggest that an interior ‘sock’ of material would easily solve this minor quibble’
• Simple knee pad height adjuster located in front thigh pocket
‘As discussed above, these alongside the waist adjusters are pivotal in not only getting the best results from fit and form – but are integral to seating the proprietary AirFlex™ Combat Knee Pads
• Designed for use with removable AirFlex™ Combat Knee Pads
• Built-in flap covers kneecap opening when not using knee pads
‘I’d always considered that a panel of NYCO attached to the interior stretch panel would be a better option, thus allowing for more knee movement – the idea here otherwise being these covers when pulled into place offer a little more uniformity and protect the stretch panels.
• Stretch diamond gusseted crotch
‘A feature not seen on the Gen I or AC editions, the same tweave material offers greater movement and prevents the gusset from being subjected from too much torque and causing the pants from splitting.’
• Rear-zip pockets
• Larger expansion panel at lower back
‘the rear stretch panel combined with the stretch diamond gusset and double layer seat are a three part combination offering greater movement and mobility particularly when awkwardly positioned or when kinetic – ergo traditional cut garments can restrict climbing or abseiling , or awkward positioning when navigating restrictive confined spaces. Here this move towards greater mobility whilst negating restrictive fit is possibly subtly missed on some – but perhaps one of the pants driving design features’
• Larger front thigh pockets
• Double layer seat
• larger belt loops
• Velcro knee adjustment points
‘This quite simply lock the knee pad in place, and prevent the knee pad from rolling laterally. I’m surprised that each knee still doesn’t have two Velcro tabs like their competitors (imitators). This would offer greater stability and security, sadly overlooked.’
• Lower ankle cuff adjustment points
‘perhaps dismissively overlooked as an after thought – the ankle cuff truly completes the pant and is such simple solution to an age old problem. This cuff not only closes the ankle, but allows you to seat it at a height appropriate to your chosen boot. Negating the necessity to blouse your boot, it clears away and pulls material closer to the calf which facilitates easier use of gaiters and putties.
Sure not garrison friendly – but it’s surely one of the features that truly completes the fit, form and functionality of the pant – and, alongside the knee sockets stretch panels and height adjusters really pushes the design to truly work as a ‘3D articulated’ piece of apparel.
G3 vs AC
Now, here’s the deal breaker. Whilst the design ethos and brief to make quite possibly the most innovative and packed with utilitarian features whilst offering unparalleled freedom of movement and mobility – is it worth the price tag ?
Whilst many of the enhancements between the AC cut and the Gen 3 are marginal – it’s clear they’ve listened to the end user and refined the design, rear pockets are now zipped, larger side cargo pockets and better more secure height adjustment system.
However, I miss the original sand tweave stretch panels, aesthetics aside – the Multicam patterned tweave is really the only way to go. I think the raised rear padded waist which has been forgone in favor of a more traditional belt line. The original AC raised belt line was great for belt compatibility and gave a more aggressive athletic cut.
It is without out a doubt, either pant visually is stunning – and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying they are comfortable to wear and inspire confidence to push yourself in even the most extreme and harshest of conditions – armed with the knowledge they’ll not fail and capably over perform.
however, of late I’ve been enjoying no end of simple functionality from standard BDU cut pants, and found everywhere at giveaway prices brand new I’ve not paid no thought to how hard I run em’ or how much abuse they get.
It’s here in lies the rub, Crye has always respectfully commanded prices that reflect its ingenuity, quality and to a lesser or greater degree that reassuring quality of exclusivity …
But considering the prices currently commanded and the recent price increases of RRP as recently announced by Crye it certainly encourages thought regarding are the really worth it.
No doubt supply and demand will make these the populist choice, and I expect we’ll see a backlash on the second hand market where scarcity, desirability and demand drive prices to exorbitantly heady heights.
That said, I think that will leave the market open for newer, hungrier company’s to exploit Cryes price driven un-obtainability – S23
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