Uniforms/Military Clothing page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4


TAD Gear Force 10 Utility Top

5/2/08 - TAD Gear now has the companion top to their popular Force 10 Cargo Utility Cargo Trousers; the Force 10 Utility Top. Constructed of the lighter weight Crye Multicam 50/50 NYCO shirt weight twill, the TAD gear 'black label' Force 10 top has a host of practical features, like the trousers, and is made in the U.S.A.

The new Force 10 Top has a modified fit based on the current issue ACU shirt. It's slightly tapered in at the waist for a better fit. Besides Crye MultiCam, it's also available in Desert Tan and Olive Drab 100% cotton ripstop to match the ripstop Force 10 trousers. With 47 bartacks, TAD reinforced these shirts where ever they could to improve durability in the field.

Force 10 Utility top tucked in, collar up

Untucked, collar down

Collar details

Here's a rundown of the features on the Force 10's (size medium shown):

  • Current issue ACU fit - The Force 10 Utility Top has a more 'tailored' fit than regular cut BDUs. I often find that regular BDUs fit me fine around the shoulders but are way too baggy around the torso. As a result, when I put a rig or vest over it, there's a lot of excess material under it. The Force 10 top is tapered at the waist for a better fit.
  • Mandarin collar with velcro closure - the 2" high collar can either be worn up or down, or open at the front. It folds over nicely when worn down.
  • Canadian style slotted buttons - Like many of TAD's other clothing, the Force 10 top uses Canadian style slotted buttons. TAD has implemented an improvement however - the tape between the buttons is now sewn down. Before, I'd have a tendency to grab at the loose tape between the buttons, especially if they were on pockets. Now, no such chance.
  • Velcro name tape - mil-spec coyote velcro is used throughout. A 6" x 1" velcro name tape strip is sewn above the chest pockets.
  • Double chest pockets - The chest pockets are slanted inwards at the top for easier access from the opposite side. They have a flap closure with Canadian slotted buttons. At the top inside of the pocket is a buttonhole to the inside of the shirt, for routing wires etc. Beneath the top-opening pocket is a high-rise side-entry pocket, accessible when wearing a chest rig. It's not just an opening in the side of the main pocket, but extends below to provide better security for the contents and to prevent them from falling out the side opening. Sewn at the bottom corner on a short length of webbing is a plastic D-ring for dummy cording the contents.
  • Double sleeve pockets - the double-compartment sleeve pockets are flap-closed with Canadian slotted buttons and are slanted forward slightly for access. The front compartment opening is slightly lower than that of the rear for differentiation. There's a pen sleeve along the front side of each pocket, and chem light retainers at the rear. The chem light retainer consists of a loop of 550 cord at the top and elastic below it. The 550 cord loop prevents the chem light from falling through the elasitc loop. A large 6" x 4" patch of loop velcro covers the outside of each pocket.
  • Modified cuffs with velcro tabs - The wrist cuffs have an extended flap to protect the back of the hand and provide some extra camouflage like the first generation Crye Field shirt. It can folded over on the inside and function like a standard cuff.
  • Double reinforced elbows - The double-layer elbow reinforcement also functions as an elbow pad pocket. Sized to fit TAD's T-Pro knee pads, it'll also fit Crye and 5.11 elbow pads.

Like the Force 10 Cargo Utilities, construction and workmanship on the Utility Top is excellent, and it's a great match for the pants.

Shoulder pocket

Side-entry chest pockets

Slotted buttons

Chem light retainer and pen sleeve on double sleeve pocket

Cuff folded in and left out

T-Pro pads


TAD Gear Force 10 Cargo Utilities 2007

1/25/06 - TAD Gear has released the newest evolution of their popular Force 10 Cargo Utilities - the 2007 model in Crye MultiCam. Constructed of the 8.5oz MIL-PRF-MCCUU 50% Nylon 50% Cotton heavier weight twill (same as used on the Crye Precision Field pants), these TAD gear 'black label' Force 10's are laden with features and made in the U.S.A.

Force 10 pants

Pocket flap details

Here's a rundown of the features on the Force 10's (medium/short shown):

  • American BDU-type sizing - I found my Medium/Shorts to fit similar to BDUs with one caveat. With standard BDU sizing, size Medium is supposed to fit waists 31"-35", utilizing the waist adjustment tabs to provide the adjustability (each BDU side tab can take up 2" for a total of 4"). The Force 10's have velcro side tabs, but the range of adjustability provided wasn't enough to make them tight enough. I measured the max waist size of the Force 10s and came up with 36", so they're size an inch larger than the BDU. The maximum adjustability for each side tabs is only a bit more than 1", so the most I could can tighten the waist down to was 34", which meant I had to use a belt as I'm a 32"-33" waist. I've brought it up to TAD and suggested that more velcro be added to the waist so the tab will have more adjustability. A non-issue if you always intend on wearing a belt, or your waist is 34"-36".
  • Velcro waist tab adjustments - As mentioned above, more adjustability could be obtained by extending the portion of loop velcro behind the waist for the tab to stick to. Other than that, it's more comfortable than the metal BDU buckle and doesn't slip.
  • Zipper fly - A Delrin-tooth YKK zipper fly for convenient donning/doffing and the military-style taped TAD Gear button is a nice touch.
  • 1.75" belt loops fit rigger belts (shown here with an SOE QR rigger belt). The front two belt loops have YKK D-ring gear keepers for dummy cording the contents of the front pockets. The belt loop are also located to accomodate placement of a hip holster.
  • Diamond Gusseted Crotch - usually found on rock climbing and martial-arts pants for full mobility and the assurance that you're not going to split them.
  • Reinforced double seat and double knees - The knees also have a knee pad pocket with slot over the double knees so padding can be inserted through the velcro-closed entrance at the bottom. They're sized to fit Crye Precision knee pads, but the user can cut foam to size and shape quite easily. The knees are also articulated.
  • Two rear 7" x 7" pockets with flap/velcro closures - all pockets are made from the same twill as the rest of the pants for durability, instead of a lighter weight material. Pocket flaps are angled off.
  • Two 6" deep x 4.5" wide welted cell phone/utility pockets in the front - no closure.
  • Two side/slash pockets - these have reinforcements for pocket knife clips, which TAD was first to introduce. The extra reinforcement helps with the wear associated with the repeated carrying of knives with pocket clips. You should see my Levi's - they're all worn out in that area from carrying knives over the years. The double material also makes the clip tighter and less likely for the knife to fall out.
  • Large, side bellows cargo pockets - TAD Gear decided to go with the more expensive 'true bellows' design instead of the more common pleated BDU style. This results in a cleaner appearance overall. The roomy pocket has bellows in the rear only, for a lower profile and less snag potential when moving forward. The cargo pocket opening is slanted forward - ACU style, for easier access. The velcro-closure pocket flap corners are angled. Each cargo pocket has three internal compartments. The one in the middle is about 7" deep, and the ones to each side of it are 4.5" deep, sized just right for .45 or 9mm pistol magazines. Most folding knives or flashlights will fit in the compartments, and longer ones in the middle compartment. The pocket flap has an opening - the 'flashight slot' which allows access to the middle compartment without opening the pocket (shown here with a longer 9V light). There's also a D-ring sewn in for dummy cording. I like the idea of internal compartments, so that the contents of the pocket don't just collect at the bottom in a pile.
  • Drawstring cuffs

Construction and workmanship are excellent, as is the attention to detail; especially in the places that can't be seen, like inside the pockets.

Taped/slotted button

Waist tab

Gusseted crotch

Front pocket and side pocket knife reinforcement

Side cargo pocket compartments

Flashlight slot

Crye knee pad pockets


SKD Tactical MultiCam Enhanced BDUs (2007 Model)

Updated 2/11/07 - Ever since Crye Precision came out with their Field Uniform a couple of years ago, there has been a demand for an alternative (due to either pricing or availability of the Crye products) MultiCam uniform. Some didn't want the extra features that the Crye Field Uniform offered, and complained that the prices was too high. What they didn't take into account is how expensive it is to have clothing made in the U.S., and in relatively small quantities when compared to a govt contract BDU manufacturer and widely used patterns. Since then, some other companies have produced MultiCam BDUs with various features (some better than others), but there's very little difference in price between them and Crye's.
SKD Tactical
is one of the few companies that have stepped up to the plate to offer good quality MultiCam BDUs made in the USA, and their price is slightly lower than the others. They have three models, called 'Enhanced BDU shirts' - the Alpha, Bravo and Charlie versions. Why so many models? Well, SKD realizes that not everyone has the same needs, so they're offering different configurations to cover most bases.

The Alpha, Bravo and Charlie models of the SKD Enhanced BDU Shirts share some common features. These are:

  • Front or button velcro closure options - All versions of the SKD Enhanced BDU shirts are available with standard button closure, or a velcro-only closure. The idea behind the velcro-only closure was to eliminate pressure spots that buttons might have when worn under armour. Also, a velcro closure would have better ventilation than a zipper front. There are three 4" x 1" velcro strips, and one 2" x 1" strip at the collar. While the lack of buttons does make it seem more comfortable when worn under gear, I found the velcro wasn't as easy to don because I had to line up all the strips perfectly, or else the two sides wouldn't be lined up properly. I had to observe the alignment of the hook and loop strips while donning the shirt. I tried it in the dark, and without looking, and I was never able to get it lined up properly by feel alone. It's a lot easier to put a button through a hole than line up hook and loop strips perfectly. Another concern was that the velcro wouldn't be as secure as buttons. I went through a multitude of different movements - crawling etc, in an attempt to separate the front velcro, but it stayed put. However, when donning some gear (putting a vest over my head), the gear snagged the shirt and pulled it partly open as I lowered the vest onto my body. Once the vest was on, it wasn't easy to reach under and get the velcro lined up properly again. So, personally, I prefer a standard button closure. The button closure is standard except that a 5" velcro strip has been added at the bottom of the shirt below the last button, to further secure the bottom.
  • Mandarin collar with foldback velcro - The collar is 2.5" high and has a tab that closes the front or folds back for a neat appearance. It can also be worn folded down.
  • Construction - The SKD shirts are made of MIL-PRF-MCCUU 50% Nylon 50% Cotton lightweight twill, same as the Crye field shirt.
  • Slanted Upper arm/shoulder pockets - The shoulder pockets are the same size and design as the chest pockets - flat for less bulk. They each have a 5" x 4" loop velcro ID panel on the outside. There is a pen pocket inside the left shoulder pocket. A pen can be inserted through a slot in the flap so the pocket doesn't have to be opened.
  • Velcro name tape - 6" loop velcro for name tape above each chest pocket on both sides.
  • Elbow pad pockets - These provide a double-layer on the elbows and will fit pads about 7" tall and 8" wide at the top and 7" wide at the bottom. They're sized for the 5.11 elbow pads (available separately, not included), which provide padding without being too bulky. I like 'em. They have a velcro closure access at the bottom, from the outside, so you can insert or remove the pads without taking the shirt off.
  • Velcro wrist/cuff tab closures

Collar details

Shoulder pocket detail

Elbow pad pockets and cuffs

The differences between the Alpha, Bravo and Charlie models are in the pocket configurations on the body:

Enhanced BDU shirt Alpha Model - The Alpha model has a four-pocket BDU configuration and is meant to be worn untucked. Button front version shown here.

Alpha front

Alpha rear

Pocket details
  • Upper chest pockets - The upper chest pockets measure 6" x 5" with bellows on the outer edge for more volume. They are straight - not slanted. no bellows or pleats. The flap has a full-width velcro closure. The left chest pocket has an inner pen pocket sewn in which can be accessed without opening the flap.
  • Lower pockets - These are large, 7" x 7", with full bellows all around.

Enhanced BDU shirt Bravo Model - The Bravo model shown here is the velcro-front closure variant. The lower pockets have been eliminated.

Bravo front view, collar closed

Collar folded down

Arm pocket detail

Shirt tucked in

Tucked in, rear

Velcro front
  • Upper chest pockets - The upper chest pockets measure 6" x 5" and are slanted inwards very slightly for access with the opposite side hand when wearing a load bearing vest with center opening. They are flat pockets - no bellows or pleats. The flap has a full-width velcro closure. The left chest pocket has an inner pen pocket sewn in.

Enhanced BDU shirt Charlie Model - The Charlie model shown here has the button-front closure. The Charlie also eliminates the bottom front pockets. Like the Bravo, the Charlie model is meant to be worn under a vest or armour, hence the side-entry pockets.

Charlie front view, untucked

Collar closed, shirt tucked


Charlie pocket details

Side entry chest pockets

Side entry chest pocket detail
  • Upper chest pockets - The upper chest pockets measure 6" wide x 5.5" tall and are side-entry (from the outside). They are flat pockets - no bellows or pleats. The flap has a full-width velcro closure. The left chest pocket has an inner pen pocket sewn in, accessible from the outside. This configuration is best used with body armour or chest rigs that cover the chest and have no center opening. I tried it with a couple of different rigs and was able to access the pockets without a problem through the arm holes.


BDU pant - The SKD Enhanced Combat Pant is based on standard mil-spec BDU pants in design and sizing. The Crye field pants have a shorter than normal rise (height between the crotch and waist), which suits me fine, but some didn't like as much. The SKD BDUs have a standard rise for those who like to wear their BDUs around the waist instead of just above the hips. Standard features of SKD's MultiCam pants are:

  • Button fly and waist
  • Made of the same MIL-PRF-MCCUU 50% Nylon 50% Cotton lightweight twill as the Enhanced Shirt.
  • 1.75" bar-tacked belt loops
  • Front slash pockets and rear pockets - The front pockets are standard, as are the rear. The rear flaps have standard button closures.
  • 2 side cargo pockets - standard bellows design with two-button flap closure.
  • Draw string leg closure
  • Knee pad pockets - These are sized for the 5.11 knee pads (not included) and measure about 9" tall x 8" wide. Again, the 5.11 knee pads aren't thick or stiff, and provide a good amount of padding without much bulk or weight.

BDU pant

Side cargos

5.11 knee pad pockets

For those looking for an alternative to the Crye Field uniform, or prefer more of a standard BDU style for the pants, the SKD Tac MultiCam uniform provides just that.

SKD Tactical Enhanced BDU Pants (Gen 2 - 2010)

2/6/10 - SKD Tactical's new Gen 2 Enhanced BDU pants are a follow-on to their Enhanced BDUs released two years ago. While the Gen 1 Enhanced BDU pants were based on the standard mil-spec BDU pant in style and sizing, the Gen 2's still retain the classic BDU cut and fit but with the addition of quite a few new features and changes.

I've actually been wearing these since 2008 as it's taken quite a while for SKD to get these made. Unfortunately, due to slight manufacturing irregularities from pant to pant, SKD has decided to offer them at a deep discount, rather than full retail.

Note: size Medium/short is shown here. I'm 5' 7" with a 29" inseam (short legs). Also note that the Khaki BDUs shown here are a pre-production pair, and the knee pad pocket material and edge tape for the pocket clip reinforcements will be changed to match better on the production model. The tan nylon on the knees have a slight 'satiny' sheen - the production ones are matte.



Front details


Pelvis pocket detail

Features - Here a summary of the features on the SKD Tactical Gen 2 Enhanced BDU Pants:

  • MultiCam pant made of 50/50 NYCO Ripstop Crye MultiCam fabric. Tan pant made of 65% polyester and 35% cotton ripstop. Also available in Black and OD.
  • Button fly and waist
  • 1.75" bar-tacked belt loops - There are five 1"-wide belt loops. The front two and rear middle extend to the inside to provide attach points for split D-rings for suspenders. I'd prefer for them all to have D-ring capability as some suspenders need two rear attach points.
  • Hidden nook in waistband - on the waistband right at the top where the front slash pocket meets it, is a hidden 'nook' with the opening left unsewn. It's about 3" deep and 1.3" wide, and provides a hiding place for small items (coins, keys, button compass etc) that can be then sewn in place for emergency retrieval. The nook will fit a couple of 1-ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins, as shown below. Just don't forget they're there.
  • Side waist adjustment tabs - standard BDU style
  • Double seat

Waist band details

Hidden nook

Front pocket clip reinforcement

Knife clip slot in pocket flap

Rear pocket clip reinforcement (prototype shown with OD edge tape)
  • All pockets lined with longer lasting self fabric instead of lighter material
  • Two front pelvis pockets - These are slanted for easy access and are roomier than besom-style welted pocket. The downside is that they're not as low profile. These are a roomy 6" x 6" and have small expandable pleats. The flap has two velcro patches to secure the opening, plus they can also fold down in half onto themselves to leave the pocket open. Inside the pocket is a elastic loop made from 2"-wide elastic. It's sized for a snug fit on an M4 magazine which can be secured in the open pocket for quick retrieval when you're not wearing duty gear or additional mag pouches. An M4 mag secured there is quick to access in the seated position. The elastic loop also works for other items like a wallet, iPod etc.
    The pocket flap has a small slot, so that when a knife is clipped to the side pocket, the knife clip is covered. This keeps it from scratching stuff you brush up against and also from snagging the knife clip.
  • Two side slash pockets - standard BDU style.
  • Two rear slash pockets - instead of the standard flap BDU rear pockets, there are two rear slash pockets that mirror the front ones. There is a 1.5" velcro patch in the middle of the opening to keep it closed, but bear in mind that the contents are not fully secured if they are smaller than the opening not secured with velcro. Better for large, flat objects or larger soft ones like a beanie cap or gloves.
  • Front and rear slash pocket clip reinforcements - Edge tape is used to reinforce the bottom edges of the slash pockets and protect them from knife clip wear and tear. The MultiCam pant uses MultiCam nylon. In some of these pics here, the prototype had OD green nylon.
  • Low profile side cargo pockets - These are located just below where the slash pockets end, and are shallower than standard BDU side cargo pockets. The have the standard flap and two-button closure, with two pleats and bellows in the back. They were made shallower than standard to that the contents are easier to retrieve without bending, and to keep the cargo load minimal for less flopping during movement. They'll fit a couple of M4 mags placed horizontally.
  • Knee pad pockets/reinforcements - The knees are covered in lightweight nylon (330-500D depending on colour) which greatly increases abrasion resistance and also provide pockets for knee pads (not included). The pocket size is generous (about 10" tall x 9" wide at the top, 8" at the bottom) and will fit most foam pads (5.11 knee pads shown below).
  • Draw string leg cuff closure.

Pelvis pocket elastic

M4 mag in pelvis pocket

Side cargo pocket

Knee pad pocket/reinforcement

Observations and Notes - One of the pairs of pants I was sent had one of the pelvis pockets sewn about 0.5" different than the other one. The two pairs shown here don't have any irregularities. I informed SKD of this, and they looked into it. Unforunately, some pants in the first production run displayed some of these irregularities, which don't affect functionality, so now the whole run is being offered at a deep discount. Other than that, overall quality is decent/good - on par with other govt contract BDUs. As with other BDUs I own, they're not finished as cleanly as some commercial pants (loose thread ends, and I usually burn off the loose thread ends with a lighter. Nothing that would affect functionality that I noticed.

The Gen 2 Enhanced BDU pants are more of a blend between the BDU style and current 'tactical' pants on the market than a pair of military BDUs. Ken from EMDOM was one of the people consulted on this project, so it shares some of the features found on the EMDOM CBDU. The classic military 6-pocket BDU style is pretty firmly ingrained in our minds, and quite recognizable everywhere. These pants, due to the deviation in key features from that pattern, don't stand out as being overtly 'military', due in part to the smaller side cargo pocket and rear slash pocket profile. On the other hand, the front 'pelvis pockets' are more noticeable than welted besom pockets, and I've been asked about them a couple of times. All I say is that it's easier to reach your phone or sunglass case when seated because of the way they're angled (which is true) and that makes sense to most people. An M4 mag placed in the elastic there is very quick to draw and won't fall out during movement. It works best when the pants are worn alone, without a duty belt and thigh rig. I've mentioned in other writeups how much I utilize front besom, or in this case, pelvis pockets, and these are some of the most functional I've tried. I haven't found myself missing the larger side cargo pockets either (yet). The shorter ones work as advertised, and don't swing as much.

The rear slash pockets are also easier to access than standard flapped pockets, but are theoretically not as secure as flap-closed rear pockets. You just have to make sure that the item you're putting inside is larger than the partially-secured opening.

I've been wearing the prototype pants since about mid-November of 2008 for everyday wear at work (the khaki ones) and the MultiCam ones elsewhere, and they're a great fit and are comfortable. Definitely more so than my 5.11 pants. While they're supposed to have the same cut as standard BDUs, I've found the 'standard' to differ between manufacturers. Some are really baggy while others fit better. The SKD Enhanced BDU pants are of the less baggy cut, and they fit more like 'normal' tactical pants than baggy BDUs, which I like better. They have more than enough room in them for unrestricted mobility and range of motion. The waist/rise isn't too high either.

The nylon on the knees is light enough that I don't notice it during daily wear. Granted, I started to wear these in the fall, but we've had a mix of hot and cold weather during that time and I didn't feel that my knees were feeling more stuffy than with other pants due to the nylon layer. The added abrasion resistance is definitely worthit, in my opinion, and the ability to insert foam pads.

I prefer this Enhanced BDU style to regular BDUs as I found the layout and design of the pockets and the additional features to be more practical and suit my needs better.

Update 2/14/10 - Here are the production versions - shown here are the khaki and OD green pants. The knee pocket on the khaki is now completely matte, and the fabric is colour-matched quite well on both colour pants.

Khaki and OD Green

new knee pad pocket fabric

OD green pant

OD knee pad pocket/reinforcement




Dropzone Tactical Recce Smock

8/12/05 - Hailing from the Great White North in Oiler country is Drop Zone Tactical in Edmonton, Canada. Drop Zone manufactures and deals in all kinds of military gear and equipment, including load bearing gear, cases, bags, packs and clothing, to name a few. If you're looking for CADPAT stuff, check there first, as they're one of only a few manufacturers licensed to make items in CADPAT.
One of the clothing items DZ makes is the Recce Smock. Forgive the expression, but what can I say - it's a gorgeous garment. Combat smocks have been around a while (at least since WWII) as a lightweight, multi-functional item of clothing usually worn over the uniform that provides additional protection against the elements, camouflage, and load bearing capability. Combat smocks continue to be quite popular amongst many of the European forces (especially the British), but for some reason, aren't that common amongst U.S. forces. The old M1965 field jacket is probably the last thing that came close to a U.S. smock (or the Desert Storm Night Desert parka), but that was bulky and didn't have any ventilation.
I've always liked the British SAS windproof smocks in the lightweight gabardine material, but Drop Zone has taken the old concept of the combat smock, improved on it with modern features, and brought into the present with the Recce Smock.

The Recce Smock is sized generously - meant to be worn over other clothing as a shell. I usually wear a medium BDU top, and the small Recce smock still leaves enough room for an insulating layer underneath. DZ makes their smocks in a variety of patterns and colours (shown here in Crye MultiCam), most using cotton-synthetic blend fabrics which provide breathability and can be treated to be somewhat water repellent. It won't keep you dry in a downpour, but then it wasn't designed to be rain wear.
The smock comes down to mid-thigh at the bottom, with a paracord drawstring. A shock cord drawstring with cord locks provides adjustment around the waist. A beefy two-way #10 YKK zipper secures the front of the smock. The zipper is covered by a velcro tab-secured storm flap with a button-up rank tab at center chest. The sleeve cuffs have velcro tab adjustments. The sleeves have a double layer of material starting from just above the elbow down to the wrist, forming a pocket that opens at the top with velcro to accomodate foam padding for extra protection.

Front view, hood rolled up

Rear view, hood rolled down

Front view, hood down

The Recce smock hood is well-designed and simple to adjust. It's roomy enough to fit over a helmet, and a velcro strap adjustment is used to shorten it when used without one. The adjustment strap is sewn to the back of the hood, and goes through a looploc at the base of the neck. The height of the hood is varied by adjusting the length of the strap. The hood opening is adjusted by a shock cord drawstring, by pulling on the ends on either side through the sewn-down cord locks. Tightening the hood can be done one-handed. I didn't illustrate it here, but the brim at the front of the hood can be folded back to form a channel, which keeps rain water from dripping off the front of the hood, diverting it to the sides instead. When not in use, the hood can be rolled down, where a tab originating from the inside base of the neck goes over it and buttons down in the back, securing the hood.

I've mentioned how much I value pit zips, and the Recce Smock includes them of course. They're essential for ventilation and greatly increase the range of temperatures that a garment can be worn in. The Recce Smock's pit zips open up from the waist to past the armpits. The pit zip pulls are a bit small if you're wearing gloves, but it's a simple matter to tie on short 550 cord pulls if desired. If additional ventilation is needed, a 6" front opening access zipper is located beside the main zipper, behind the storm flap. It also allows some access to chest pockets on garments worn under the smock.

Hood details

Pit zips - they make all the difference

Front opening access

Elbow pad pockets

The large, bellows cargo pockets on each side of the chest are covered by flaps, with tape-style Canadian military buttons. A plastic D-ring is located at the top inside of each pocket, for dummy cording items inside. Behind each of the chest cargo pockets is an additional pocket with vertical zipper closure, accessed from the middle of the chest. Inside each pocket is a pen pocket, angled for easier access. A 6"x1" velcro strip for name tape is sewn above the right chest pocket.
The lower cargo pockets even roomier, and share the same flap closure and taped military buttons as the chest pockets. Dummy cord D-rings are also found in the lower cargo pockets. Hidden behind each lower pocket is a handwarmer pocket with zipper closure on the side. Paying close attention to details, each pocket zipper has plastic pull toggles for use with gloves, and water drainage holes sewn at the bottoms.
Arm pockets have become more common with the increase in usage of load bearing vests, body armour, chest rigs etc that limit access to the pockets on the body. Instead of the small dressing pocket found on the sleeve of the old SAS smocks, the Recce Smock has pockets large enough to be useful on each arm with a vertical zipper opening. A 6"x2" rectangle of velcro is sewn to the outside of each arm pocket for putting patches or IR tabs.

Cargo and side-access chest pockets

Lower cargo and handwarmer pockets

Arm pockets

To better illustrate the internal features of the smock, I wore it inside out, as shown below. There are two large map pockets on each side of the chest with horizontal zip openings. These are accessed most easily by partially unzipping the top of the smock - it's a bit awkward to use the front ventilation opening. You can also see the waist shock cord and cord locks in the photos below. Following the ancestry of the poacher's pockets at the rear of the SAS smocks, DZ placed 3 deep, divided pockets in the rear, each with its own velcro closure. In general, they're used to store soft items.

Inside out - front

Inside out - back

With chest rig

Obviously, when you wear a rig over any garment, it will limit access to most of the torso or chest pockets, less so with a suspender/harness style LBE. I found that I was still able to access the lower cargo pockets while wearing a chest rig over the smock. If the smock is worn over a pistol belt with thigh holster or subload, they'll be covered up - same as with any full length parka. I've suggested adding zippers on the side seams to allow a 6" split, offering greater mobility and less interference with equipment and access to trouser pockets, but that has yet to be tested. If no access to the trouser pockets and you don't mind limiting access to the lower cargo pockets, the belt kit can simply be worn over the smock so that access to a holster or thigh rig isn't affected. At the time of this writing, it's been too hot to wear any kind of long sleeves during the day, so I'll have to wait a few months to get the smock dirty. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the smock isn't as hot or stuffy as I thought it would be, due to the breathable nature of the material and the ventilation provided by the pit zips. Kudos to Drop Zone Tactical for making a classic combat garment even better.

9/10/05 - Went on a hike with the wife today, starting out at an elevation of 6000', going up to 10,000' and back down again. Even though this is the end of summer, it's always windy up at the summit, and it was quite chilly today. I packed along the Recce Smock instead of a civvie windbreaker/jacket as it's been too hot to wear it anywhere else and I was just itching to use it. I put it on before we got to the top when the wind started blowing hard. Worked wonderfully, and was comfortable to wear with the Kifaru Express I had. The pit zips really do help broaden the useful temperature range of this garment. Plus I think it looks dead sexy.

Chilly and windy at the top

Year-round snow patch

With Kifaru Express



Main features of RAID BDU top

RAID top back features

RAID pants

10/03 -The RAID BDU's from www.specwargear.com is the latest (as of 10/03) verison of their modified shirts and pants. Check out their RAID BDU page for more pics and details on the features. They're built on Propper BDUs and I got the ones in 100% rip-stop cotton. I specified some changes to the BDUs pictured on their site, and a discussion of the main features is below:


  • The 4 main pockets were left intact, with the button closures, but I removed the lower pockets upon receipt of the BDUs as I like to tuck the shirt into my pants.
  • I specified that all velcro closures would be of two small squares instead of full-length velcro (as seen on their site) for ease of opening. They're changing that to become standard for their RAID tops and pants.
  • Band collar - the collar is cut down into a band-style collar, with a velcro tab closure that folds back out of the way.
  • Velcro above breast pockets for name tape.
  • 2 velcro-closed tabs on upper chest for routing of comm cables or wires.
  • Shoulder pockets - these have 3 compartments; a main pocket, a smaller pocket sewn on the outside, and a velcro closed compartment behind the main pocket (pen holder on left shoulder). All pockets have velcro closures. I don't do very well with button sleeve pocket closures, especially with gloves. Some may complain that the pockets are too bulky, but they're really not. You don't HAVE to fill them up either. The pockets have velcro on them for flags or ID patches.
  • 1000D Cordura elbows - This feature is not for all - I hate wearing bulky elbow pads, and having cordura on the elbows doesn't provide as much padding, but it's a lot more streamlined. They're a bit hotter though, so those in warmer weather may not like them.
  • Velcro patch on upper back for IR tag.
  • Velcro adjustment tabs on the sleeves like flight suits. I like these better than the buttons.
  • Velcro waist adjustment tabs - these were a special feature I requested.


  • The 6 original pockets are left in place. The main thigh cargo pockets retain the buttom closures.
  • Back pocket closure converted to velcro.
  • Hidden pocket in waistband for small items.
  • Two front slant pockets which are accessible when wearing a holster and subload (which prevent access to main cargo pockets). Velcro closures.
  • Two small channels on front for 550 cords loops for hanging carabiners from or gloves. The orignal design had D-rings on the sides, but when wearing a holster or subload, those are inaccessible, so I requested the change.
  • 1000D Cordura on knees - again, this may not be liked by all. A bit hotter, but not by much in cooler weather. Eliminates the need for knee pads in some cases (not all).
  • Channels for 550 cord loops to support the use of knee pads which prevent the knee pads from slipping down.
  • Calf pockets - two small pockets on each calf, suitable for light items like field dressings etc. Heavy items aren't recommended.
  • I had a choice of cuff closures - standard or shock cord closures. I've converted all my pants to shock cord - no cord-lock needed, just shock cord knotted together. I went with shock cord on these RAID pants.

The SWG RAID BDUs are made as a result of demand from customers. They're not cheap, but when you consider that each one is hand tailored to order, and you add up the time it takes to make all the modifications and add the features, it doesn't seem that bad. Proppers aren't my favourite brand, but they're allright and I've no complaints with this set. I really like all the added features, and realize that they may be deemed unnecessary by some. That's ok, and modified BDU's aren't needed by all. But some of the additional features might work well for some, and the RAID BDUs would be a worthy consideration.


©opyright by MilitaryMorons.com. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, Duplication, Distribution Strictly Prohibited.

Unless mentioned otherwise, content and images are the property of militarymorons.com and are not in the public domain.
They are not to be used without permission. Please Contact me for permission to use any images or content herein.