After a lot of digging around, I finally managed to pick up all the pieces of the Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) system. Since its inception in 2002, there have been many progressions in outerwear technology that have inevitably made PCU inferior in some ways, but in my opinion as a total system, it is still at the top of the heap. Speaking specifically about the level 5, the most versatile level in the system, the use of Epic fabric made by Nextec does a great job of blocking the wind, but at the same time, it doesn’t trap moisture produced by your body within your clothing system. When you consider those benefits and then look at how thin and tough the material is, Epic is hard to beat. Because the jacket allows for moisture to escape, I’m able to stay more comfortable during high-intensity activities in the cold rather than if I were to use a Goretex which acts as a vapour barrier. After three years and two Glacier Shocks later, I think it’s a good time to write the full review of Beyond Clothing’s level 5 system.
On the last day of August, I was lucky enough to attend the Millbrook HQ grand opening just a few kilometres away from their old location on Iber Road in Ottawa. All the elements you know from the old location have been brought to their new home at 129 Willowlea Road. The difference now is that Millbrook is in their own detached building, and for the public, the showroom has been upgraded stylishly with a tasteful combination of modern displays and reclaimed barn wood. It would seem that with every year that passes, Millbrook Tactical grows more prosperous. The question, of course is, what is the key to their success?
Open discussion for all about the GORUCK Challenge, which is nearing 6 years young and remains our flagship event:
How are we/Cadre doing in line with our goal of Building Better Americans? If you have any feedback on anything at all (events themselves, operations, how we can better help you get your friends to show up), please post below. Good idea, Bad idea, Positive feedback, Negative feedback. Have at it. Even Wednesday whatever drama, just don't get out of hand :)
The worst thing you can answer with is silence.
Thank you all for growing this badass community tens of thousands strong all over the country and the world.
A new year brings new gear! I remember when I first started to buy camping gear, my goal was to see if I could get everything to fit into one bag. I had a large ALICE pack that was modded to fit more than the regular 50L capacity, but it wasn’t large enough to accommodate my hand-me-down synthetic sleeping bag and much of anything else. As the years when by, I did my research, talked to people with more experience, and over time I picked up items that were smaller and lighter.
Below is a list and a video of where I’m at for the 2016 summer season. I still have some improvements to make, and if you have any suggestions or comments, please share below or on YouTube. I’d love to know what you think! Do take note though that I haven’t included my food, water or clothing. I’ll be doing another video to cover those items.
Many years ago I learned a valuable lesson about purchasing gear from a waitress. I was out to celebrate an anniversary with my wife at a restaurant called the Lobster Trap. My wife ordered the lobster bisque and I ordered the clam chowder. I was surprised when the waitress stopped me and said, “No, you don’t want the chowder, you want the lobster bisque”. I had my heart set on the chowder, brushed off the recommendation, and was surprised with how forward our server was. Curiosity got the better of me after a few sips of the chowder though and I asked for a spoon of my wife’s soup. When the waitress came back to bring us our drinks, I ordered myself a bowl of lobster bisque.
When I first started getting into camping the hardest thing to do was to fit everything into one backpack. The source of my problems, I came to realize, stemmed from two problems. First, the vast majority of my gear was entry level with almost no consideration for packability and weight. Second, and this is what’s probably most important, is that I was bringing too much crap. The more I spend time in the woods, the more I realize, you don’t actually need very much! Something that holds true for me especially is that the more I bring in, the more likely I am to lose a piece of gear.
The first time I met Stony was during my first Challenge, Class 524 in Toronto. I had read on another blog that he had done the Challenge the year before, and I saw the video he made of the creation of our team weight. This guy was dedicated. During the event he was quiet, except for when someone needed help. He was always willing to assist the team by carrying someone’s ruck or to lend a hand. I imagined he knew what we had in store, but instead of spoiling the surprise, he just let us experience the Challenge fresh.
Fast forward a few years, he’s still the same friendly guy. He still comes out to Challenges (Class 659 video, Class 1571 video), and works with people to help them through the events. Except now he has a glorious face forest, and his muscles are a bit bigger. When I asked him if he would mind doing a segment with me about his gear, he didn’t bat an eye. Always willing to share, and always down for telling a good story. We need more guys like Stony. Damn Skippy!
*Note - There will be another video coming out Saturday morning that will outline some of his ruck and boot modifications and what he wore during the challenge. Follow my page on Facebook, and you'll know exactly when it comes out.
We did our best to do as much research as possible so that our hike would be both enjoyable and efficient. We trained with our rucks, and had them packed with exactly what we would be bringing with us so that there wouldn’t be any surprises. All said and done, each of our packs weighed about 70lbs. The smiles and cheeky comments when people saw the way we were dressed, as well as how big our packs were on the way up and down made something perfectly clear; we looked fucking spectacular.
It was 10 years ago that One Shot Tactical Store first opened its doors. A few weeks ago, we made the hike from Toronto to Trenton to wish the OSTS team happy birthday. I had never been to the shop before, but I’ve certainly frequented their website to make purchases over the years. They were one of the first Canadian shops that I knew of to carry tactical products whose inventory mirrored many of the American sites I liked. The bonus was that I was able to support a local Canadian business and, of course, there were massive savings in shipping. From a professional standpoint, the store is strategically located near CFB Trenton, home of JTF2 (once they finish moving).
When I first started getting into gear the only place I really knew where to get good kit was on eBay. Every once and a while I’d find a seller that had a real Eagle 3-Day or an LBT Garmin pouch, not a crappy knockoff. Those were exciting days. Then I stumbled upon Legit Kit’s eBay store... I was just getting into Navy Special Warfare stuff at the time, and it was like this guy was monitoring my Google search history because his store had EVERYTHING. The really obscure stuff that I was looking for like TFSS pouches, Coyote OR pack covers, UDT horse collars, you name it, it was there. Sure there were forum boards and niche blogs where you could find this kind of stuff, but the sheer volume and frequency of his updates meant that I had something arriving at my doorstep a few times a month from his inventory. What made it even more enticing was his impeccable feedback percentage!