Överkill – Kifaru Urban Zippy Pack Spotlight by No.1 Jimmy Pie

Överkill – Kifaru Urban Zippy Pack Spotlight by No.1 Jimmy Pie

Funnily enough, today marks the 3rd year anniversary of my very own ‘Pie Slicer’ from Jim over at No1. Jimmy Pie Knives

Needless to say, after three years of work, use and abuse – with a little care and maintenance it’s going as strong as ever …

Albeit it’s picked up what I think is some rather fetching patina …

Now, I’ve been meaning to get Jim on the blog for quite sometime, however, if not quite found the angle I was after – and he is a very busy man. In between cups of coffee he’s found toiling away crafting exquisitely functional knives, related accessories and ephemera in his incredible workshop hidden, somewhere in the depths of leafy suburbia …

I know this much, Jim is exceptionally well thought of, not just by me, or his customers and legions of fans but his contemporaries within the industry.

He’s forged, or should that be ‘carved’ a reputation through his intimate dialogue of photos of knives, axes and hatchets, often modified and detailed to bespoke customer requirements – and, have been seen subsequently across the globe in the hands of outdoorsmen, every day carry enthusiasts, hiking community as well as Law Enforcement and Military too …

I’ve got my own, and plan a second (I blame you Jim for sending that phot) – but what has attracted many, is through his visual diary you often get a unique insight into how they are made, processes he’s developed and learnt. It’s a very affirming process, and even from a customers point of view, gives you a real personable account of your knifes creation …

Anyhow, on with this posts topic – Jim, like many of us, comes from a background of gear collecting, and as such, having more than a passing interest knows what works and what doesn’t – I’d noticed he’d been shifting a few pieces of Cordura and suspected it was for a higher purpose …

Enter The Kifaru Urban Zippy

Jim recently picked up a brand new Kifaru Urban Zippy, this model in Ranger Green.

In his original post he had this to say:

Little Bag, big capacity, I honestly don’t think I’ve owned a ruck in this size range that packs this much in with room to spare.

He went on to further explain and evidence with some great explanatory photos too:

I can still fit in my hammock or a set of base layers, the rear pouch is still empty too …

Better yet, Jim gave a run down on what he was packing too, giving not only example of the packs capabilities – but many of the things you should consider carrying on a leisure hike and or short stay out camping …

He explained:

… it lets you get to it all easily too, great design by Kifaru.

External Lid Pocket

Small Fixed Blade, Ruck Cover, External Lid Pocket – Spare Large Kifaru Pouch

Internal Lid Pocket

First Aid Kit

Main Pocket

• 1Ltr Nalgene Bottle

• Jet Boil PCS


• GoreTex Bivvy

• Triple Aught Design Scarf

• Kifaru x 4 Pockets (Wash Kit, Brew Kit, Fire Kit, Snacks)

Left Side Zipper

• Shelter Kit

• Folding Saw

• Cordage

• Bungees

Right Side Zipper

• Tarpaulin

Outside Pockets

• 1 Ltr Nalgene

• Large Fixed Blade

Rear Pouch

• Empty (as you can see the pack is vacuous with room for much more despite its diminutive size)

Encouragingly, Jim is always keen and enthusiastic to engage questions solicited from followers and made the following poignant remarks. When asked about not having a proprietary ‘waist belt’ he explained:

It does have a simple waist strap, nothing padded, and you’d be correct, I wouldn’t want to do a full days hike with it as it is – but a light bimble (walk) and an overnight wild camp, it’d be fine …

The proof however, will be in the pudding as they say, when I get out and test it properly.

Further praise was evidenced by Jim:

… this feels perfect, in the 25ltr range, it’s been a while since I’ve had a Kifaru in my life, maybe three years, very happy to get one back …

With regards to the unique and innovative design, the side pockets:

It’s a damn neat idea!

Quick access to the bottom of the bag or the internal mesh pouch, genius and cool as f**k !!!

As he’d sent over additional phot’s for this very article he parted out with this great line:

The real game changer I think with a load like this is the internal frame …

You can keep up with Jim here over at No.1 Jimmy Pie Instagran and check our more from Kifaru here: http://www.kifaru.net/

He also sent over this stunning exclusive photo – showcasing his incredible craftsmanship alongside his Kifaru Pack – S23


Restocking stickers, back by popular demand and now with

an all new additional variant sticker – get em’ here: http://s23familia.bigcartel.com/product/s23-familia-stickers


Plaster your ‘Blaster Cases’ stocks, kit and gear or even coffee mugs with hard wearing S23 Familia Sticker pride

Each Sticker set contains:

• x 1 S23 Ranger Diamonds sticker

• x 1 S23 Beer Mat sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Rated Plastic Deth’ ESRB sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Plastic Deth’ sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Mas Grey’ NSW sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘S23 Deth’ Skull

• x 1 ‘Mystery’ sticker variant A*

• x 1 ‘Mystery’ sticker variant B*

* (*whilst stocks last)

Power Metal – Doomtrodon New Demo Track

Power Metal – Doomtrodon New Demo Track

We take a quick detour from our usual fare of ‘Plastic Deth’ to introduce something, we at the S23 HQ have been quietly waiting for a for a while now – the first track from Doomtrodon’s upcoming ’68 Demo’ …

If your not up to date on the current ‘Metal Zeitgeist’ then let’s bring you screaming up to speed …

Doomtrodon is a new band based out of west England and are on guitar ‘Geezer’ drummer ‘Gav’ newly acquired vocalist ‘Matt’ and on bass, the inimitable ‘Biz’ !!!

Sound familiar – well, as I posted elsewhere this evening …

… check out Doomtrodon’s demo track Vampyre Ratt from there ‘68 Demo’ – that driving bass line, alongside those tortured vocals, pummeling drums and gravel rough buzz saw guitars is by none other than artist extraordinaire Simon Bisley …

Simon ‘Biz’ Bisley is famed for his incredible illustrative body of work, including Dredd vs Batman one shot ‘Judgement on Gotham’ – cover art for Doom Patrol, his groundbreaking Slaine, ABC Warriors for 2000ad and much much more …

Whilst not his first foray into music, his art has also graced Danzig’s EP ‘Thrall Demon Sweat Live’ as well as working with the Misfits vocalist extensively on his own comic line.

You Can hear the new track by hitting the link below

New Demo Track ‘Vampyre Ratt’ from Doomtrodon’s ’68 Demo’

This is a powerful and promising start, Geezers solid guitar work with riff heavy hooks oozes confidence.

You can also give another track, ’68’ from Doomtrodon a listen here !!!

Gav’s precision drumming pins it all down, and with extra greasy groove domination from the Biz’s incredible bass line, quite possibly motivated by his underlying skill at the drums, it’s great to see him switch instruments here.

All ably led by the tortured growls and screams of newly added Matt, that’s not to say there’s no lack of melody to what he’s delivered here, but it has its own nightmarishly tortured charm.

Doomtrodon to me personally sound like a really much needed and refreshing take on British Grind and Doomcore with a healthy nod to influences such as Sabbath and Motörhead – without sounding plaid or routine, I’ve quietly observed rumblings and movements over the past few months on their FB page and it’s been impressive to see what has slowly unfurled and evolved, it clearly is genuinely passionate and genuinely professional going concern, more importantly a labor of love which has finally come to fruition.

Whilst no genuine music hack, more over, just a die hard enthusiast- as I’m sure many of you are aware I’ve long been a fan of the many heavy genres of music, including Metal, Hardcore and Punk – of late much has left to be desired of new music in general, and after several plays Doomtrodon’s new track has left me exceptionally excited for what’s to come …

I’ll certainly not dare to pigeon hole them into a genre or cast too many similarities to their own brand of swaggering heavy groove laden doom – but any fans of Crowbar, EyeHateGod, Bolt Thrower or even the Obsessed would happily see this band stand proudly alongside them as contemporaries – high praise, maybe but they’ve surely got the punch and heart to put British Heavy Music back on track …

If your local they are due to take the stage this Saturday, May 12th at Oxfords O2 – someone pick me up a shirt !!!

Supporting Death Remains – you can pick up tickets here !!!

Again the underground has delivered, and it’s this original and fresh take on the genre that’s certainly reinvigorated my faith in new music – anyhow, enough from me – tune down, turn up and sab out – S23

Keep up to date with more from Doomtrodon here on there FB page: https://m.facebookn.com/doomtrodon/

NEW DESIGN – S23 ‘Plastic Deth’ Skull Tee

In NSW ‘Navy Blue’ with the classic ‘Beer Mat’ on the front and custom ‘Plastic Deth’ Skull Art sporting the now infamous ‘Ranger’ diamond on the rear, by S23 himself – you can now sport you OG S23Familia Pride on or off the field – S23

Available in Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XXL-Large and XXX- Large here: http://s23familia.bigcartel.com/product/s23-plastic-deth-skull-tee



Whilst out on early morning trek, an early morning stroll post breakfast on a quest for coffee, I took the opportunity to really punish my Obōz Bridger Bdry boots through sand and across gravel. Foot deep through streams and babbling brooks and of course my youngest and mines favorite – thick mud !!!

Feet and socks kept dry, without any undue heat or perspiration despite covering several miles the Bridger Mids remain undisputed across all terrain.

Whilst perhaps not in the truest sense of a torture test, this was only extensively put through their paces for a few hours. I took no end of reward from seeing them repel running water, thick viscous mud and sludge just oozed off the nubuck’s waterproofed hide.

The nylon shank and rubber toe cap easily brush out and away loose soil, gravel and debris. Even after three months of use, through the last throes of winter, snow, ice and the deluge of recent precipitation has seen little to none with regards to wear and tear. Even the rubbery tactile soles still have no end of heavy tread left yet …

Speaking of tread, the Obōz soles easily transition, even at heavily elevation and gradient across slime covered roots and mossy fallen tree trunks. In the mud or across the shoal of streams water beds grip and torsion remains uncompromisingly strong. Conversely when caked in mud the soles still find a sure footed grip …

I look forward to giving em’ an even harder time soon – S23


As you can see both boots have been cleaned free of dirt, grease, mud and sand. You can watch the instructional cleaning video by hitting the link to our original Obōz review below.

Both boots were cleaned using NikWax boot cleaner and re proofing spray and allowed to dry naturally whilst stuffed with newspaper. As you can see they’ve been restored to their original moisture resistance ready to face the elements once more …

Catch our original Obōz overview

You can read our full review here: https://s23gearmonkey75.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/new-jack-oboz-bridger-bdry-mids-review/

**S23 Familia Stickers Ver. 2.0 -NOW WITH MORE NEW DESIGNS**

Plaster your ‘Blaster Cases’ stocks, kit and gear or coffee mugs with hard wearing S23 Familia Sticker pride

Each Sticker set contains:

• x 1 S23 Ranger Diamonds sticker

• x 1 S23 Beer Mat sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Rated Plastic Deth’ ESRB sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Plastic Deth’ sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Mas Grey’ NSW sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘S23 Deth’ Skull

• x 1 S23 ‘Mystery’ sticker (whilst stocks last)

Don’t forget you can catch up on all our reviews, interviews and spotlights over at s23gearmonkey75 – Airsoft and MilSim reviews and interviews


End of Green – Crye G3 COMBAT PANT™ Multicam Pants Review

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

**LAST FEW LEFT – ORDER YOUR Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Patch** S23 FAMILIA Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Edtn.

Qty Remaining: 3



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

*patches exclusively produced for us by the inimitable BritKitUSA go check out all there other awesome patches here: http://www.britkitusa.com

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: https://www.itstactical.com/gearcom/apparel/comprehensive-guide-protective-combat-uniform/amp/

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

How to ‘Ranger Roll’ your Jacket Tutorial

How to ‘Ranger Roll’ your Jacket Tutorial

“… bunch of readers asked how I ‘Ranger Roll’ my jackets – you can also use the bungee cinch cords to make it even smaller.”

After posting two photos on Instagram earlier today as I prepared to brave the sudden brace of snow that’s hit the United Kingdom, I mentioned I ‘Ranger Rolled’ my Adventure Tech NV/DCU GoreTex Parka, which we incidentally reviewed last year.

Anyhow a slew of readers asked how to do this quick, easy and simple technique – happy to help and pass on this cool trick, I made this little tutorial …

You can also ‘Ranger Roll’ no collared garments and jackets inside ‘hooded’ garments – and using the hood bungee cinch cords you can set it to pack up smaller yet. It’s a great way to store jackets, even putting them in a zip lock bag to keep dry and maximize space in your day sack, great for a speedy draw without pulling out all your other gear too – S23

**ORDER YOUR Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Patch** S23 FAMILIA Mk 1.5 ‘Beer Mat’ 2018 Anniversary Edtn.

Qty Remaining: 18



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

New Jack – Obōz Bridger Bdry Mids Reviews

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 Police Officer 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 Gear Whores 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’s ‘Pilgrim’ GTX’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

Boot Maintenance and Cleaning

Step 1

Brush/rinse off the mud after each hike. Taking a moment to wipe off the dirt or mud when you return home is a good habit to get into. Better yet? Do it at the trailhead and it will save you having to clean out your car of those mud tracks!

Step 2

Several times over the hiking season (or more if you hike year-round, lucky!) thoroughly clean your boots. It’s important to use the correct cleaning agent; avoid solvents, petroleum, and detergents, and never put your booths in a washer or dryer. A great option is Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.

Step 3

After you’ve removed as much of the dirt and mud as you can, rinse with clean water to damped the boot surface. Shake your cleanser well, and press applicator to break the seal before brushing over the area of the boots you want to clean. Don’t worry, you can apply generously! If an area is really grimy, you can scrub the area with a stiff brush.

Step 4


Step 5

If your boots need to be re-waterproofed, you can then apply a leather conditioner or waterproofing product.

Step 6

Air dry and plan your next adventure!

*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

… Today will be different – Spotlight on Dagger 22 MARSOC’s Marine Museum display

… Today will be different – Spotlight on Dagger 22 MARSOC’s Marine Museum display

Naturally, like many readers around the globe I was captivated by the recounting of MSOT 8222’s brave and heroic actions as detailed in SSGT Golembesky’s best selling books Level ZeroHeroes and it companion Dagger22.

You’ve collected the patches, got the shirt, even read both books and watched his stunning documentary (or you can watch it below). But, now you can see kit from this very deployment in the United States Marines National Museum

This Saturday, 10th December at the National Museum of theMarine Corps. In addition to the new MARSOC display cases honoring the endeavors and bravery of MSOT 8222 and the fallen Marines being unveiled, about 5 members of the Dagger 22 (2009-10) will be there from 12:00 Hrs to 14:00 Hrs to sign books and talk to visitors. Items seen here have be donated to be archived in the museum by SSGT Michael Golembesky, author of Level Zero Heroes.

Check out below, the items on display at the museum here:

The display includes FAST helmet with AN/PVS-15 Night Vision Binoculars and PELTOR headset. Combat Shirt is a DRIFIREForetrex, and is fire resistant with padded elbows. Modular BodyArmor Vest (MBAV) with attachments.

Also included is the ModularAssault Pack and rear of combat shirt. MSOT8222 display in foreground.

Afghan 7th Commando Battalion Patch

And, the Infrared Reflective flag patch assisted with friendly identification through Night Vision. The ‘Kill’ patch on the front has an alphanumeric code which is used to identify Marines during missions, and to report casualties.

… also on display is the BarrettM107 SASR magazine that took a round during that deployment.

Amongst many of the items donated for archival, included are shrapnel from GBU-31 JDAM’s, Map of Bala Murghab River Valley, and HALO 14’s very own identification patch. Surely making this a must see display – S23

Watch Dagger 22 in action here: https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=RD0Ef4Hq9Hs

To find out more on Level ZeroHeroes and the Museum head on over here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LevelZeroHeroes/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/levelzeroheroes

Web: http://www.levelzeroheroes.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/USMCMuseum/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/usmcmuseum

S23 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier: http://www.toysoldier.com.hk/


S23 Familia Stickers Ver. 2.0

Plaster your ‘Blaster Cases’ stocks, kit and gear or coffee mugs with hard wearing S23 Familia Sticker pride


Each Sticker set contains:

• x 1 S23 Ranger Diamonds sticker

• x 1 S23 Beer Mat sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Rated Plastic Deth’ ESRB sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Plastic Deth’ sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Mas Grey’ NSW sticker

• x 1 S23 ‘Deth’ Skull

• x 1 S23 ‘Mystery’ sticker (whilst stocks last)

Don’t forget you can catch up on all our reviews, interviews and spotlights over at s23gearmonkey75 – Airsoft and MilSim reviews and interviews