The Outdoor Research Helium II is a light-weight waterproof jacket ideal for many outdoor applications. This product was originally designed for climbers and runners to be worn for a short period of time during a storm. The main concept behind this product is to always carry it with you.
Due to the extremely light-weight we have kept the jacket stored in our EDC backpack every single day for the whole season. With an astonishing weight of 180 grams you literally forget about it. The jacket is so compact that can fit even in a small cargo pocket. If you actually compress it with a vacuum machine it reaches the size of an energy bar.
We have already seen some very small and lightweight jackets on the market. What makes the Helium II unique is not just the weight but the waterproofness of the fabric. We have use this jacket in many unpleasant weather conditions and it has always kept us dry. To reach this kind of excellence Outdoor Research has utilized a 30D ripstop fabric with a Pertex Shield+ 2.5L coating. At first we were quite skeptical about the longevity of the waterproof shell due to the way the fabric compresses when the jacket is stored, but even after some pretty rough use it hasn’t showed any sign of weakness.
For example if you compress some other waterproof shells on the market like Gore-Tex the layers of the PU film could break, making the fabric permeable. Gore-Tex works with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane with a hydrophobic PU film; in some cases if the fabric is folded too much there could be a loss of waterproofness.
One of the greatest features of this garment is its breathability. Keep in mind that this product was not actually designed for prolonged use, this is why OR focused more on the weight than on the features. This is a jacket to always have in a backpack or just keep stored in a bag. Even if it does not have armpit zippers (like the bigger brother Helium HD) it still offers enough breathability to get the job done.
If you plan to wear this jacket for a longer period of time please take a look at the Outdoor Research Helium HD, it features a more complete type of hoodie and pockets, for a slightly larger size and weight.
Outdoor Research has done a great job designing the hood. It features a bungee cord that runs from the forehead to the back of the head, and if pulled tight it really secures the hood and the visor, offering a very smooth and “noise-free” motion. The visor is made of a much stiffer material allowing a very comfortable wear during storms. This feature really comes handy when shooting (both handguns and rifles) under bad weather.
We have chosen the black/hydro version of this jacket because it does not scream “tactical” while still offering some decent concealability. The blue OR logo and zipper don’t really stand out too much but are keen to make the user appear as a civilian. On the range this jacket is fantastic, due to the lightweight it can always be packed in a range-bag, and as soon as it starts raining you have backup. The elastic on the wrist allows to keep a clean motion during weapon manipulation, without risking of getting the garment in the way.
The choice between Helium II and Helium HD is only driven by the application of the user. Both offer lightweight, waterproofness and breathability. So because we like to carry this shell 24/7 in our backpacks we decided to go with the more lightweight/small version rather than the feature-richer one.
For more details about the Helium II please visit the Outdoor Research website: OutdoorResearch.com
Blue Force Gear has now released the full line of Dapper Organization products. These pouches and panels were first introduced to the market at Shot Show, last January. Blue Force Gear is well known for smart and extremely-lightweight products. We have use extensively their Ten Speed line of pouches and we are excited to see the same technology applied to the EDC segment.
As for now the Dapper line consists of 3 series of hook and loop attachments: Mag pouches, Elastic loops and Clear zip pockets.
The Ten-Speed Magazine Dapper combines the legendary Ten-Speed performance with the flexibility of the Dapper system to provide the lightest, low profile way to carry spare magazines or other similar-sized items. Military-grade elastic pockets hold most double or single stack pistol magazines, lights, multitools, or other similar-sized items secure and in place. The Ten-Speed® pockets lie flat when not in use for reduced bulk and greater storage flexibility.
The Utility Dapper Pouch is a larger utility pouch to hold most everyday items and mission gear such as chargers, personal items, computer equipment, medical supplies, tools, magazines or almost any other item one would carry in a bag. The Large Utility Dapper can be quickly installed and removed on any loop field to quickly change the load out, making it the ultimate in discreet, modular load carrying.
The Pouch has two blue zipper pulls that are easily located and a top rubberized carry handle for easy opening and transporting. The carry handle can be hung around most US door knobs for use when traveling. The top is transparent, allowing you to see the contents without opening the pouch. The inside is a loop field, allowing the installation of Dapper Loops for even more organization options. The pouch comes in two sizes.
The Accessory Loop Dapper uses military-grade elastic to keep smaller items in place and organized. The smaller loops hold cables, batteries, chem lights, medical supplies, pens and other smaller items in place.
The Large Accessory Loop Dapper holds larger items such as tourniquet straps, bandages, large bundles of cables, 550 cord or smaller electronics such as GPS units, point and shoot cameras and most phones. The Accessory Loop Dapper is available in three different sizes: small, medium and large.
What we really like about the Dapper Organizers is the flexibility of it. Where you are an Operator overseas, a First Responder or even just a student who wants his backpack neat and organized this is the right product for you. The fact that the same product could be used for a Direct-Action backpack, a EDC Bag or even a car (or TacticalWalls) makes your kit very versatile and efficient.
For more information please visit BlueForceGear.com
Haley Strategic Partners has just released the new version of the INCOG Shadow Holster for the latest model of weapon-mounted pistol light from SureFire. The smaller 200 Lumen SureFire XC1 will allow the operator to better conceal the weapon even in low light conditions. The holster is sold both with or without the +1 mag caddy. The latest addition to the incognito line from HSP will start shipping in September.
The Haley Strategic Partners D3 FlatPack is an expandable compact assault pack. Designed with a unique expandable gusset system, the D3 FlatPack is an assault pack that can go from an almost flat profile when compressed to 600 cubic inches when completely expanded. It is Available in four different colors: Black, Coyote, Multicam and Ranger Green. In its compressed state, the D3 FlatPack can run a 1 liter hydration bladder in the main compartment with additional small items like batteries, energy gels and chem lights stored in the dedicated admin chamber. Expanded, the main compartment can fit a fully loaded D3CR, a helmet or a jacket while the admin can fit electronics and/or small binoculars. The FlatPack integrates with a D3CR or D3CR-H, replacing the H harness with the pack straps, to create a light reconnaissance, patrol or an EDC worst case scenario rig. The FlatPack will also molle into any PALS based nylon system including plate carriers, assault vests or other packs with external PALs webbing. Although designed with the Special Operations end user in mind, the D3 FlatPack also makes an excellent everyday pack for civilians looking for a very compact carry bag that doesn’t scream military. Able to safely transport electronics such as the iPad, MacBook (12″) or any laptop or tablet up to 8″ x 12″, the padded inner chamber can also hold a number of items ranging from books and periodicals to digital cameras.
The D3 FlatPack can hold the HSP D3CR making it a very compact and reliable pack to carry a chest rig in a covert situation. During the transition from covert to overt, one the D3CR is deployed, the operator is able to slim back down the pack and integrate it with the chest rig, making this system a great site exploitation bag. Materials and Weight:
500D Cordura Mil-Spec nylon
200 cubic inches expandable to 600 cubic inches
Computers (max size 8″x 12″) will fit when fully compressed
50 cubic inches that can also be expanded to 100 cubic inches
With the HSP D3CR to create a patrol system
Any PALs based systems (such as plate carriers)
This year at SHOT Show Magpul has released some very interesting products. The first segment is dedicated to the “marriage” between Uncle Sam and Mother Russia with the release of some new rifle furniture for AKs.
Magpul ZHUKOV-S Stock
The Magpul Zhukov-S Stock is a no-compromise folding stock for the modern AK. The Zhukov-S Stock casts aside traditional AK stock shortcomings and offers a folding, collapsible stock with QD sling mounts, modular Cheek Risers, and a shock-absorbing rubber butt-pad for superior traction. The Zhukov has right-side folding for compatibility with side-mounted optics. Designed to fit most common stamped AK receivers without modification via a unique wedge block, the durable injection molded polymer Zhukov-S Stock redefines the human interface with the AK platform.
Magpul MOE AK Stock
Providing Magpul construction and ingenuity to the venerable AK platform, the Magpul MOE AK Stock is an optimized fixed stock for most stamped-receiver rifles. Featuring the unique wedge block fitment of the Zhukov-S Stock, the MOE AK Stock provides internal storage, optimized QD sling swivel placement, a shock absorbing rubber butt-pad for positive placement, and user-selectable snap on Cheek Risers.
Magpul PMAG D-60 AR/M4
The PMAG D-60 is a durable, lightweight, highly reliable 60-round 5.56×45 NATO/.223 Remington polymer magazine for AR15/M4 compatible weapons. With a larger capacity than previous PMAGs, the PMAG D-60 gives the shooter 60 rounds of ammunition, effectively allowing the same round count as two standard capacity 30-round magazines without requiring a critical reload. The unique drum configuration keeps the height of the magazine manageable as well, allowing prone firing and easier storage. Features a paint pen dot matrix for easy marking and a rear window for instant capacity indication. Compatible with a wide range of NATO firearms such as the M4, M16, SCAR MK16/16S, HK416, MR556, M27 IAR, and others.
Magpul PMAG GL9 – Glock 17
The PMAG 17 GL9 is a 17-round magazine featuring durable polymer construction, paint pen dot-matrix for labeling, tool-less floor plate removal for ease of maintenance, and a visible capacity indicator hole on the body. The PMAG 17 GL9 is compatible with all full-size 9mm Glock handguns, as well as compact and sub-compact variants with some protrusion below the grip.
Magpul HUNTER 700 Stock
Made from reinforced polymer and a machine finished, anodized A380 cast aluminum bedding block, the Magpul Remington 700 Hunter Stock offers users a fully adjustable length of pull, comb height, and enhanced ergonomics. Compatible with all Remington 700 Short Actions, this stock requires no bedding and is a true “drop-in” solution for the end user. This stock is also M-LOK compatible to accept a broad range of accessories. Also available is our Bolt Action Magazine Well, which allows the rifle to be used with detachable box magazines without the need for custom inletting.
Haley Strategic Partners has just released the Disruptive Environments Chest Rig Heavy. This new chest rig will allow a more mission specific set up for those who operate with a 308 platform while having the same slickness and low profile of an HSP soft good.
The D3CR-H addresses the same mission as the original D3CR, but has been slightly redesigned to support .308 platforms. Optimized for work in urban, vehicle, rural and other confined settings, the Disruptive Environment Chest Rig was built to be worn as a stand alone system with a detachable H-harness or clipped into a armor platform equipped with a quick release system.
When run as a stand alone, the platform is low profile enough to be worn fully loaded and not print on a normal/loose fit jacket or sweatshirt. When run on a armor platform with a quick release system, such as SwiftClips™, it can be attached or stowed in seconds, giving the end user the versatility to transition from low vis to high vis or vice versa.
The rig intentionally does not include a radio or dedicated full size medical pouch so no matter the posture, essentials such as communications and medical kits can remain on the end user at all times. The D3CR-H is also compatible with the Haley Strategic D3 Expansion System allowing the end user to add features including the holster wedge or multi-mission hanger pouch.
The rifle magazine pouches accept almost any .308 magazine. The Multi-Mission Pouches accept 1911, Glock, Sig, M&P, XD and other standard double or single stack pistol magazines, as well as many handheld lights and multi-tools.
The system features:
4 .308 Magazine Pouches with Hypalon® magazine retention tabs (Pouches support SR25, SCAR, FAL, AR10, M14, Lancer Systems, PMAG LR)
2 Multi-Mission Pouches with Hypalon magazine retention tabs (Fits standard double and single stack pistol magazines as well as other equipment including flashlights and multi-tools)
Zipper GP Pouch (Medical, compass, GPS, phone, batteries and other various small electronics)
Zipper Tool Pouch (Includes elastic keepers for more mission specific essentials, such as Kestrel wind meters, ballistic calculators, dope cards, batteries, tools and various electronics).
The D3CR-Heavy will be available in early December in Coyote and Multicam for $179.
S&S Precision has released a couple of very interesting products in the past few days. They have enhanced their apparel line with a patent pending pant/pistol retention system: the 757. The other system they have introduced is the Gear Retention Track, which allows the operator to attach the SMR (Skeletonized Magazine Retention) directly to the Molle webbing, a belt or even in a kangaroo pouch. Read More…