Re-Post from MDT
I have been using the SAS type smock for a couple decades, and although I haven’t changed much in the way it is stocked, there have been changes over the years. What is in the smock changes, but what that gear is supposed to do has not. A piece of clothing such as a smock will carry A LOT of gear, and the key is to have enough to survive, but don’t load it down.
First let’s talk about the smock I now use and recommend. I used to recommend the smock made by Begadi and spoke about it here, but unfortunately it is no longer made, and was extremely expensive (about $150). The smock I’ve been using is not only cheaper (about $80 and that includes shipping from Germany), I like some of the features better. It is sold by ASMC, and the smock link is here.
The smock is made out of 65/35 Poly/cotton ripstop, which means it dries pretty fast, but does not have some of the drawbacks of all nylon clothing (human torch anyone). The shoulders and elbows have a heavier, cordura like, water repellent fabric covering them, and the elbows come with removable elbow pads.
The hood has a few feature which I really like. One id the adjustment in the back which will keep the front of the hood from obstructing your peripheral vision. The second is the wire that can be shaped to keep the sides back, also helping with your peripheral vision, and the hood doesn’t hanging down in your face.
If you buy one of these smocks, be careful how what size you get. If you are getting it as an everyday coat, do as the company suggests, and get a size smaller than you normally do. If you are getting it as a field smock, with the possibility of wearing insulating layers under it, get the size you normally would. A friend recently found that out, as he ordered one size smaller, and found out wearing a field jacket liner of heavy fleece significantly inhibited his freedom of movement.
The liner in the smock (where there is one), is not the heavy liner you would expect and nothing like a US Army field jacket has. The smock is lightweight enough to be worn in warmer weather, and has large “Pit zips” to help vent, as well as only buttoning the front (instead of zipping it up) of the smock helps with the airflow issues you might have. The “Canadian style” buttons are great when you are trying to button or unbutton with gloves on.
One of the only things I do not like on this smock is the right sleeve pocket. I believe it is designed for some type of first aid dressing, but is ridiculously large, and I’ve dealt with it in two ways. On my OD smock, I removed it and covered the area with a velcro panel. On my flectarn smock (it is my regular hunting jacket), I sewed the sides of the pocket down. This allows me to still used the pocket, but it has less volume, and sticks out a lot less.
Cuff adjustments are velcro, waist adjustments are of the string type (ala army field jacket), and it also has a skirt tie for when the wind is really bad. You’ll notice in some of the pics that their are fabric tabs all over the smock. This is a way to secure camouflage (natural or man made) to the smock for obvious reasons.
Overall, it is a great lightweight, multi purpose jacket, and except for the things mentioned, I have nothing but good to say about this as all around field apparel.In part two, we’ll talk about the survival kit I carry in it.