“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies… It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”
But once, cry once…
I will happily admit that I like nice things. Additionally, I prefer quality over quantity (and variety) – I would prefer to have one, well made, well thought out item that nails everything I need to do, rather than multiple items that are all very good, but have one niggly weakness here and there.
As a result, over the years, I have refined and refined what I wear, buy and carry. This has been a rather expensive path – as you often don’t get to learn these things until you try them yourself – so it’s often a case of reading and watching as many things as I can online, absorbing all the reviews to narrow down a selection, and then going out and getting them and testing them myself. Some work out well, many don’t, so it gets flicked on and we start again.
Often, this kit might actually be really good in quality and execution – but just not fit into the way I personally want to do things. I have sold many really well built and feature-rich backpacks for example – but just something about them didn’t quite mesh with the systems I was trying to develop and utilise. Sometimes, which is a kicker – I will refine my system to a point where a previous bit of equipment would actually now work better, and I have, on occasion, gone back to something I have moved on from, as I realise that now, with a new implementation, it’s now going to fit in better than what I replaced it with. Such is life I guess.
From Top to Bottom
Right, so, let’s break down what you are likely going to see me wearing if you catch up with me any point over the summer…
All Skill No Luck – Drug Rug (The Cali Combat Hoodie)
All Skill No Luck is a clothing/design brand based in the US. Obviously wearing their military influence proudly on their sleeve – the Drug Rug originally caught my eye but was out of stock, so I grabbed one of their STV Hoodies – really thinking that it could be a cool option for a battle shirt for shooting – and to be blunt, I liked the DNC Camo as well. In reality, I don’t think I will wear the camo for anything shooting related. The same way I personally feel like a bit odd walking into a gun store with camo on. Sure, I get it, plenty of people do it, but I am not into this for LARPing reasons – and carefully consider the image I am putting out there when engaging in public. Most likely, the DNC will only be matched with jeans, or other gear obviously not miliary – because with the clothing I own, it is really easy for me to slip from functional into mil-sim, and that’s not what I am doing here.
The Drug Rugs came back into stock, and I grabbed one immediately. I really, really liked the idea of some of the extra pockets and carry options the hoodie provided, but in a ‘street’ look. I was after a ‘light-weight’ hoodie that I could wear most the time.
Interestingly, when it turned up, I thought it might have been a size too small for me. The Drug Rug is ‘shorter’ than the STV Hoodie – which initially concerned me – but I quickly realised, it also meant it say nicely over the battle-belt system I tend to wear while shooting – unlike some of the anorak style jackets I wear – I can still easily get to all my kit. Making it ideal for shooting day duties as well as wearing around town.
The hoodie has broken in well. It’s pilling all over the place, which is actually a look I like, and the only thing I would likely change would to be to remove the non-functional pulls on the hood. I might just get them removed as some point.
It actually has a functional Kangaroo Pocket insert behind the hand pockets as well – so, might one day get a pouch to go in there – as I can never see me putting any actual mag holders on a hoodie.
In the hoodie front chest pocket, I carry a Rite In The Rain Notepad and Pencil. Left-arm pocket gets wound packing and the right normally some earplugs.
First Lite Wick Hoodie
I was looking to sort a long sleeved shirt in order to protect the arms a bit from the sun.
I am aware that I am rather fair-skinned, with a streak of red-hair going on – so I burn in the sun. Freckles, mole and UV radiation are not a good combination. With the amount of time I spend outside, I need to cover up – before I end up having to have something cut out of me.
The shirt has impressed, Merino doing its job of managing temperature, moisture and smell. I find I can wear it on cool or hot days, without causing massive issues on either end. With the ASNL on top of it – I am covered for most temperature swings during the day.
The stretch panels, venting panels etc all seem to work as you would expect – and from the first wear, it was a comfortable, not itchy wool top.
The one thing I would say is it seems to have pilled more around the stomach that I would have expected. In addition, it really seems to pull – before even heading out, I have some marks on the shirt where I have brushed up against something and the material has been ‘scratched’. I am not sure what the technical term is for this. But feel it’s going to be a mess if I hit some bush-lawyer or the like. By comparison, I have Icebreaker shirts that are ripped, torn and well past new that don’t seem to have pilled/marked in the same way.
UF Pro P40 Shorts
This is my second pair of these. The first I basically wore every day where the temperature allowed me to – and due to normal wear and tear (and ripping my rear on the door frame the truck, twice), it was simply time to replace them.
I have already written a bit of a review on them, which I suggest you pop over and read. This are simply to best pair of 3/4 shorts I have ever come across.
The Belt is from Shellback Tactical, I would like to replace this with a Ferro Concepts Inner at some point – then I can just run my battle belt on either the Striker HT’s or the P40 Shorts. I tend to still wear the longs when spending all day shooting the rifles – both for the back of leg sun protection and the knee padding they offer.
In the cargo pockets, I generally carry more wound packing and a CAT Tourniquet, my phone, my wallet a little Altoids Can first-aid-boo-boo kit and my earplugs. Waist pockets have the leatherman, pen, keys, lighter and flashlight.
On the Feet – big changes!
Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Shoes
This is the first pair of shoes I have bought in at least three years – most likely five.
I have been wearing the Z-8S GTX non-stop since I bought them. It’s been at least 3 years of near-daily use, and while the boots themselves are the most comfortable they have ever been – the tread is understandably starting to wear.
I have normally either worn the boots or jandals, and I decided this year, that I was tired of jandals coming off at inappropriate times, and wanting something I could wear most the time instead of them. Casual, more casual than boots anyhow.
So – I tried a pile of tramping shoes, all seemed to have too much of an instep rise for my flat feet – and, not so-ironically really, ended up with the Lowa Shoes. Comfortable instantly, flat insoles, nice design and style and ability to be worn everywhere from a fancy restaurant to the range.
I imagine I will go back to the boots for primarily outdoors use, certainly if I am carrying a load, but think these shoes are going to serve me well.
Don’t know the model, don’t really care. Grabbed a couple of pairs at the outlet store, know then will do the job well. Easy decision.
During the MSC Firearms Licencing Course – I often talk about Heuristics – and the way the human body tends to create shortcuts to enable us to get through the day. While in a Target Identification situation, this can be an issue, when it comes to what I am going to wear or eat, I have no problem setting myself up to not have to think about it too much.
So, when it comes to clothes, if I can narrow down my options to a couple of key pieces of gear, it’s one less thing to worry about when I get up, and I can instead spend my energy on other things. Running this website, for example. 😉