We’re very fortunate in America. We have many brands to buy from but it’s not so in Europe. Read this article by Project Gecko guest writer Phillip Wolfertz. Very cool loadout and fantastic camera work! We”re glad our readers get a chance to see what other units are kitted out with.
By : Philipp Wolfertz.
Welcome back. Last time we gave an introduction into the topic and an overview of the gear and apparel we are going to review in this series. In this article we are going to have a look at the UF Pro “Boonie-hat” and the Leo Köhler KSK-Smock/Einsatzkampfjacke.
Now let´s have a look at the stuff. We´ll start with the “Boonie hat” by UF Pro.
Price: 25.99 USD /24.51 Euro
Weight: 80g (Size L)
UF pro is a trademark of the company UNI & FORMA based in Slovenia. They specialize in high quality garment systems for professionals. Their UF Pro boonie hat features Velcro areas for any kind of patches and IR-tabs on the top and at the sides. Unlike boonies from other manufacturers it does not have a long Velcro for name tapes. There are loops all around for additional camouflage vegetation. Remarkable is the integrated inner pocket for small stuff. An adjustable chin cord made from Para cord prevents the hat from getting lost.
Africa, 2014… Multicam VS Greenzone….
The hat is lightweight and very comfortable to wear. Compared to other boonies the brim of the UF Pro boonie hat is rather small. I like this because it keeps the user´s silhouette small and the boonie gets less often stuck in bushes and trees. Also a headset like 3M´s Peltor comtac XP can be worn comfortably. On the other hand this design does not offer as much protection from sun or rain as one with a larger brim would do. In the end you have to decide if you prefer this design over larger brims. Also it is missing a Velcro for IR.
The boonie hat is very well made of 50/50 Nyco ripstop material. It can be machine-washed at 40°C. My head has a circumference of 58cm and Size L fits me perfect. All in all I can really recommend this boonie. You can purchase it directly at UF Pro´s webshop.
Next in line is the Leo Köhler KSK-Smock, also referred to as “Einsatzkampfjacke”.
Price: 179,00 EUR/189.55 USD
Weight: 1420g (Size S)
The Leo Köhler KSK-Smock has been a very successful product for several years now. It comes in a large variety of colors and camouflage patterns. Finally it is also available in PenCott Badlands and Greenzone. I think that most readers know this one quite well. So I try to keep it short here. The Smock is very well crafted and like all Leo Köhler products made in their own factory in Tunisia. It is made of 50/50 Nyco Ripstop material. It can be machine-washed at 60°C. Size S fits me (172cm, 71KG) perfect.
The smock can be closed and opened with a big two-way zipper. Additionally it features big slotted buttons and Velcro. Like any real smock it has multiple pockets on the arms, chest, waist and lower back. All outer pockets are secured with big slotted buttons that are also usable when the operator is wearing gloves. Pockets can not only be found outside, they are also inside the smock. The two inner pockets on the left and right of chest are closed with a zip, the inner pocket at the butt is open at the top and divided into two compartments.
The waist can be adjusted with an integrated cord. The wrists can be adjusted with Velcro. Speaking of Velcro of course you have two smaller Velcro patches on either side of the arms and one bigger in the left arm. There should be enough space for any kind of milspec-tactical-pork-eating-beard-owner-crusader-patches. You might notice in some pictures that I simply covered the Velcro areas with a rectangular patch from UF Pro because Velcro covers do not come with the smock. Also there is Velcro for nametapes and ranks.
The hood is adjustable in size and big enough to wear a helmet under it. A wire integrated in the brim gives the opportunity to adjust the hoods shape and give more stability to it.
From my point of view one the most important features of this smock are the cordura padded elbows with integrated soft foam pads. They make pruning very comfortable. Second great feature are the zippered armpits. The two-way zippers help the user to control the ventilation and adjust it to the ongoing situation. When your body gets hot, simply open the zippers and the airflow will cool you down. When it gets cold simply close the zips. I don´t want to miss this feature in any outer shell. Speaking of layers the KSK-Smock is not really waterproof but it surely is water repellant for a longer time. So I suggest you can use it as a third layer in 90% of all times except for heavy rain over a long time. But even this is possible when wearing a waterproof layer underneath. Since the smock is quite large, wearing a cold weather layer underneath is also no problem. For example I successfully combined it with a Helicon Tex “Patriot” heavy fleece jacket and even with a Carinthia “MIG 2.0” Jacket (Use the arm-pit-zippers!). Vice versa in summer you can just wear a thin shirt as a base layer under the smock a still benefit from PenCott concealment.
One of the few missing features would be pockets in the sleeves of the forearms. Front chest pockets that are not only accessible from the top via slotted buttons and the inner sides with zippers but also from the outer sides would be the cherry on top. This would make the whole thing even handier when wearing a plate carrier, vest or chest rig.
All in all the Leo Köhler KSK-Smock is a Smock as it should be and a very good bang for the buck. It is second to only very few and even more expensive smocks like for example the “Special Forces Smock Gen. II or Gen. III” from Sabre (Gen. III: 239,90 EUR). The pockets offer a lot of storage room for any kind of gear. They even can be used as a substitute for a chest-rig or day pack. For example I can pack my 10×42 Binoculars easily in one of the side pockets or put my rolled-in poncho in the large back pocket. With all these pockets a smock can be especially useful in LRRPs. But keep in mind not to overload yourself with too much gear stuffed into the pockets. Walking, laying down or even sitting can be limited! If you keep this in mind the KSK-Smock is very comfortable to wear and a highly recommended piece of gear for any season and almost any weather.
Next time we will focus on gear. We´ll have a good look at the tactical tailor Fight Light Platecarrier and several different pouches. So stay tuned, like and share. We are looking forward to your comments and suggestions. Also if you have any questions fell free to ask.
See you next time.
Project Gecko is a company which specializes in the field of Tactical Training & consultant services. Their capabilities ranges from setting up Tactical courses & projects to consultant services. During their courses Gecko instructors give their participants the mental and physical tools for their personal success.
They offer a wide spectrum of programs that take place in one day classes, three-days-seminars, and events up to one week. All those programs are based and created on their knowledge which they unpack and repack in a way that will suit every participant. For Gecko the gear is just a tool and the will is the key. Gecko believes that every person who has the will, will find his place in their seminars and workshops.
The instructors behind Project Gecko are all former military personal with extended training’s and combat experience. Eliran founder of Project Gecko was born in Israel. Before he moved to Germany he served in the IDF in one of the SF units.
Find out more about Project Gecko