The Background Story
Well as anyone local here knows and many on the forums as well, I'm a big gear whore, even so much as to start doing custom work. I'm always on the lookout for innovative and effective products in the industry, and I've been on the hunt for a quality cadpat BDU for some time. I've got two full reviews of cadpat bdu's posted on these boards already, here's the direct links:
New Frontenac BDU: http://www.airsoftcanada.com/showthread.php?t=62029
SurplusIG 'New & Improved' Frontenac BDU
I do not have reviews up for the following cadpat bdu's, although I do have personal experience with all of them, except for the Dropzone BDU.
-Ice Tactical BDU's
-Dropzone Tactical OPS BDU's
Those are the only cadpat BDU's that are available that I am aware of. If anyone else knows of one not mentioned here, I'd appreciate you posting the info and I'd like to get to it eventually.
I am slowly collecting all the different BDU's available and will hopefully do a full side by side comparison eventually on them all.
After the fiasco with the 'New & Improved' SurplusIG BDU, I had seen mention of Felix Tactik being able to produce his new line of BDU's titled 'FXT/B Diskreet BDS', in authentic cadpat. Naturally, I was intrigued. The specs on his forums, www.felixtactik.com
looked nice, and after conversing with Walter (THE CAT) he had informed me he was open to producing a BDU for KTS with any modifications or changes I may want to incorporate into his Diskreet BDS design... I told Walter that sounded pretty good, as I was actually planning on designing and manufacturing a BDU myself anyway and if he could provide one that was up to snuff in my books then that would save me the hassle of doing it myself. So several months later, the Felix Tactik Diskreet BDS in cadpat arrived at my door, and here we are.
The system was packaged cleanly and professionally, both jacket and pants in a single sealed clear plastic wrap. The jacket has the felix tactik logo tag on the inside along with the fabric information, size tabs on both the jacket and pants. The bdu's look very good, the fabric is authentic cadpat (which I was assured by Walter it was, and look at that, the guy didn't lie to me
), it is well and cleanly sewn, comfortably sized, no shortage of pockets, decent loop velcro real estate, generous elbow/knee reinforcement/pockets... All in all, the first impression is quite good.
There IS, as a few rumors told, a light smoke smell on these, the versions I heard of people receiving BDU's from Felix Tactik told of it 'reeking' of smoke, that isn't the case with these, it is there, but not strong, I'm assuming the facility they are sewn at allows smoking on the production floor or the fabric/bdu somewhere along the line experiences fair exposure to cigarette smoke. Regardless, just thought I would mention that as I know a few people were wondering.
A Closer Look
Lets start with the fabric itself first, the material tag states a 50/50 Poly/Cotton Ripstop for the BDU itself, and a 100% Poly for the reinforcement. The BDU material is decently heavy/thick, feels significantly more robust than the issued material and old frontenac, and even the new frontenac material is thinner than this. I am a fan of this material it isn't as 'cool' temperature wise as the thin issued or old frontenacs were, however I'm more than willing to trade that, to a certain degree of course, for durability. The reinforcement is also thick, with some sort of rubbery like coating on the backside. I was under the impression, that the reinforcement was going to be just plain 500D or 1000D cordura, again I'm perfectly happy with what is used here, it is thick, and feels extremely tough and abrasion resistant.
The cut of the BDU is very good. It is not to tight, not to loose, a great combat cut. It isn't as 'fitted' as the issued ACU cut but certainly more fitted than the new frontenacs or issued. One thing I am concerned about is the length of the jacket itself, I do not have a long upper body, and it feels a bit short, I can see problems arising if I'm crawling or bending and having it expose my back which I dislike, but we will see. I'll have more to report on that after field use. I may get Walter to incorporate a more angled 'shirttail' on the jacket or simply lengthen it a bit, we'll see.
The arms, are nice and long, with length to spare, I had Walter send me his 'long' size, both in the jackets and the pants, as normal sizes are usually to short in the arm/leg for me. The cuffs on the BDU are very roomy, with velcro adjustment tabs, no complaints there.
Back of the right arm w/ elbow pad pocket
The legs, are also long enough, with room to spare, however, they do NOT have drawstrings or closure of any kind, nor do they have the boot gaitor, which is disappointing. If I do get Walter to produce a version for KTS, they will definitely have these features.
The lower leg/calf pockets are velcro flap closure, perfect for storing chem lights or whatever really.
Left leg with calf pocket
The belt loops are nice and thick and allow 2" belts to be used... Perfect. There are also velcro and looploc waist size adjustment tabs which is nice as well.
Waist size adjustment and belt loop
The fly closure is a nylon zipper, with button at the top, the button however, is a small, traditional style button, I would instead have it a properly sized, cdn style slotted one.
Front Upper Pants
The velcro is all military grade and sewn very well and cleanly, all the pockets with flaps are velcro closure, no buttons, which I am a big fan of, the zipper flap on the jacket also has velcro tabs, and of course the mandarin collar has velcro closure. The nametape strips are a little short, about 1/2 to a full inch longer would be ideal, and the same with the length of the velcro strip on the shoulders. As well, I would have liked the shoulder velcro patch height to be 4" instead of 2".
The pockets are for the most part roomy and well placed, the shoulder pockets in particular are aligned very well and within easy and natural reach. The pockets have no internal separators which is fine by me. The front hip pockets, are tiny however, with no closure, I cannot even fit my extended hand into it my fingers hit the bottom, this makes those pockets useless in my opinion, as anything put in them will fall out quite easily. There is a nice stash pocket just below the hip pockets, perfect for a folding knife to clip on or small light or anything similar.
Chest pocket detail
Cargo pocket detail
Hip/Stash pocket detail
The jacket does not have the large front lower pockets many BDU's have, it only has the two upper chest pockets, and the shoulder pockets. This feature is liked by some, disliked by others, it really depends imo what you use the BDU for really, if your always in your armor/rig when using the BDU there is no point for those pockets as you cannot get to them, however you might find you miss them if your often in the BDU without gear covering them. I personally, don't mind not having them there, I never use those pockets.
The closure on the jacket is full length zipper, with a covering flap secured with velcro tabs. The zipper itself is nylon, which is to be expected, the pull on it however, is metal, and appears to have a nike symbol on it...? I'm not sure what that is all about, I would rather a nylon pull. I'm not sure the brand of the zippers used, I will be sure to update if they fail or start to give issues. If it's a low quality brand I have no doubt I'll experience trouble with them very soon.
Full length zipper
Now, the sewing on the BDU's is very neat and clean, however it is all single stitched, with the main seams being two lines of single stitch, about 1/4" in between the lines or less. I would prefer the main seams double stitched. That being said, I am not able to separate seams as I was with the new frontenac BDU's just by pulling them by hand firmly, so they should last quite a while.
The elbow and knee reinforcement open with velcro at the bottom for a padding insert, which is excellent. The reinforcement area is also generous and I am very pleased with it.
There are a few webbing loops beside the pockets for tethering items too, I'd like to see these on the cargo pockets and the hip and even back pockets as well though. The front chest pockets also each have a pen slot on the side. Above the chest welcome strips there are also slots for comm/tube routing.
I'm a big fan of the mandarin style collar, it has the option to just secure the flap back on itself and leave the collar open as well.
Mandarin collar detail
That pretty much covers this section, I'll be fielding these at the games this Sunday, so I'll have more to add I'm sure and some more pics after that.
In The Field
Comparing these BDU's to the other cadpat bdu's available, I can say even with the things I do not like about them, they are still a significant improvement over the new/old frontenacs, and issued BDU's, no comparison at all with parklands or with the SurplusIG garbage. They are most comparable probably with the ICE tactical BDU's, but still better IMO. I like the material better in the Felix Tactik ones, as well as the reinforcement material, and the pocket placement. That in combination with the notorious communication and poor CS from ICE make the Felix Tactik ones a clear winner. The Dropzone ones I cannot comment much about as I have not seen/used them first hand, however the extreme price on the dropzone's puts them in a different class IMO, of course, the same could be said I suppose about the frontenacs/parklands vs issued/ICE/Felix Tactik as well. Bottom line, out of the two genuine cadpat BDU's in a similar price range, the Felix Tactik one would be my choice, even with the things that I think need changing on it.
-Arms/Legs Are Long Enough
-Nike Zipper Pull
-Hip Pocket Depth
-Velcro Patch/Strip Size
-No Boot Gaitor/Drawstring
Despite a few issues, this is IMO the best decently priced BDU available in authentic cadpat. There are a number of changes/fixed I'd like to incorporate if we do go ahead with a KTS version, and those will be detailed later if/when it is a go. If we do get something worked out, I would like to offer Cadpat TW/AR, Multicam, and Dark Grey for starters, as those colors/patterns are the most difficult to find something decent in. Also note the price for this BDU was around the 200.00 mark, however this isn't a production item and was done on a custom basis, the retail version if Walter makes one or if one is done for KTS will hopefully be cheaper, although there will be some changes and additional features. Still, I'd like to keep it in the 150-200 range if a KTS version is made. More updates to come.