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Crye Precision G3 vs. UF PRO Striker HT

Today our friend Joachim from Green Ant provides this awesome guest review/comparison to us. For the quick read: a short version of this review can be found at Green Ant’s Facebook page. Thank you for the work Joachim.

UF PRO, the Slovenian military and tactical apparel manufacturer has just released the new UF PRO Striker HT hot climate combat pants. They are an advancement of the already existing UF PRO Striker XT combat pants.

UF PRO tactical and military products have been praised of their innovative features and new approaches a lot, recently. A good reason to take a closer look at the new Striker HT and compare it to the qualities the top dog rival – the Crye G3 Combat Pants.

 

The material – Almost identical

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Let’s take a closer look at both pants. They both use similar fabric – typical Nylon-Cotton (or Polyester-Cotton, depending on the color) RipStop fabric – and stretch fabric for the bottom and knee parts. UF PRO makes extensive use of the Schoeller Stretch Dynamic fabric on the bottom part in order to accomodate maneuverability – whereas Crye’s concept only has a Stretch fabric saddle part (the part just below the waistband).

As the Crye pants are cut somewhat wider than the UF PRO pants, this doesn’t restrict flexibility – the tactical split is possible in both pants types 🙂 However you will have noticed that in contrast to the Striker HT, the G3 features the typical BDU/ACU double bottom part with a reinforced double layer of Ripstop fabric on your bottom.

On the first look, this reinforcement is missing. However, the abrasion resistance of the Schoeller Dynamic fabric is higher than the Ripstop NyCo, so one layer of Schoeller is enough. The second spot where for both the Crye as the UF PRO, stretch plays a major role, is the knee parts of both pants. And that’s the spot where there are major differences start, so let’s get into details right there:

 

The knee protectors – Two different concepts

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While Crye has a mechanism which allows the attachment of an external knee protector (like the original Crye Airflex), UF PRO chooses exactly the opposite way for a knee protection solution and provides a flexible internal (insertable) knee protection system, consisting of four different protection configurations in one.

While the Crye knee protection system is straightforward (hook up a protector – or don’t), the Striker HT approach might need a little bit of explanation:

  • just “off the shelf” the knee parts of the Striker HT have a padded knee part providing basic protection;
  • in order to add protection for kneeling, UF PRO offers SAS-TEC soft knee protectors;
  • if that’s not what you want and you want your knees just to be shielded against pointed surfaces like hard gravel, you may prefer the UF PRO hard knee protectors;
  • or you just insert both.

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When it comes to securing the knee protectors and strapping them into place, the G3 makes use of a shock cord hidden in the front pockets for height adjustments – and a strap of velcro in the hollow of the knee for fastening them into position.

 

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Having knees strapped tight isn’t exactly comfortable while marching, you may opt to just let the protectors dangle around and strap them on tightly just when chances are the SHTF any time.

This deficit in mind, UF PRO decided to build a system without these hassles.

 

The Striker HT kneepads – A fire and forget solution

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So in order to keep things in place, the Striker HT needs exactly nothing, as the knee protection system is designed self centering. Insert your favourite knee protector(s) and you’re good to go.

March without any itching or scratching – and kneel down and notice that you’re inevitably landing softly on your protectors.

There are a couple of other differences worth mentioning. Let’s start with the waistband.

 

Waistband – Differences all around

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While the G3 features a padded waistband with velcro adjustment straps on both sides to accomodate fit, the Striker HT has two stretch areas (left and right) and gets on without any manual adjustments.

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Furthermore, the Striker HT features double (inner and outer belt loops) allowing for an inner (normal) pants belt and an outer duty belt. Even more, the outer belt loops can be openened with snap fasteners, so no need to taper in the outer belt through all the six loops. And last but not least, if you have an extremly wide belt, UF PRO has outer belt loop extensions in order to make these belt loops even longer! Three further really nice features are worth mentioning here (all of which the Crye G3 lacks):

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First, speaking of belts, the UF PRO designers have thought a step ahead and equipped the fly with a two-way zipper. This allows for a quick relief even if heavy duty belts/ battle belts or backpacks w/ hip belts are worn: just open the fly from below.

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Second, the HT has loops for attachment of suspenders. Just in case you’re not so into belts and prefer a good pair of suspenders. UF PRO has matching suspenders in stock, but of course you can rig aftermarket suspenders, as well.

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And third, the Striker HT has a hidden zipper inside the waistband which allows to zip in a windstopper lining (available at UF PRO in pants size) for the cold days.

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The concept of a zippable windstopper lining is a really nice feature as you don’t have to don two pairs of pants separately and “shake and bounce everything into place” afterwards. You know what I’m talking about.

 

Both Striker HT and Crye G3 – lots of pockets

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When it comes to stowing things, both pants offer an abundance of pockets. Let’s see.

Both pants have normal trouser pockets, cargo pockets at the sides, small knife/ pistol mag/ light pockets at the thigh fronts and calf pockets above the ankles. The Crye G3 has an additional pair of flat thigh front pockets for the knee protector height adjustment.

However, a few extras of the Striker HT shouldn’t go unnoticed:

First, while Crye makes use of velcro as closure for all pockets except the hip pockets, UF PRO uses zippers for all the Striker HT pockets – which significantly helps to reduce the pants’ noise profile.

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Second, the Striker HT features two “secret pockets” within the trouser pockets. Great place for hiding any small items like keys, coins and zipper etc.

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Third, the Striker HT has an extra compartment at the lower leg hemline which allows to safely stow away any excess shock cord used for blousing the pants. (Again, the Crye G3 makes use of one velcro strap here.)

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And finally, the leg bottom hemline of the Striker HT features a small loop (closed with a snap) to hook the pants into the boot laces attached to a reinforced Cordura part (to reduce abrasion while walking). This is really effective in order to keep the pants down while taking wide or high steps.

 

The Striker HT – With a built-in chimney

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The “HT” abbreviation of the UF PRO stands for “hot temperature”. In this last part we’ll take a look how the pants deal with heat.With the Striker HT, UF PRO introduces a completely new ventilation system into their high temperature apparel. Via a pair of zippers over the knee area (which at the same time serve as insert openings for the knee protectors), air flows into the pants and moves upward along the thigh.

 

In the groin area, two zippered air outlets serve as “chimneys” and let hot and humid air leave the pants.

Marching gets the airflow started. The Striker HT pants will move around the thighs and by this movement, air is drawn into the over-knee openings and ejected at the groin openings.

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But how good does this work? Does this really get temperatures or air moisture down significantly? We had to find out!

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So we took both pants out to a test on a warm, sunny (29°C / 84 F) rather dry (40% rel. air humidity) day. While marching in the sun (and constantly re-hydrating), air temperature and humidity were measured with a probe to the thigh area (groin location). After 5 min of fast marching, speed was increased to running for 5 minutes. After that, another 15 minutes followed. (Please note: The following is of course not a complete scientific test. It’s just meant to give a rough impression of the behavior of the two pants.)

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In the G3 pants, temperature and air humidity almost instantaneously increased. In particular during the running phase air humidity values skyrocketed and almost touched the 80% mark. That’s more than twice the value of the environmental air humidity! Chances of getting sore between the legs (intertrigo) increase severely!

When slowing down to marching speed after the run, air humidity did drop, however never reached the pre-run level. There’s just one conclusion to that: The pants can’t get rid of the piling up air moisture as quick as it is accumulating.

Let’s talk about temperatures: Looking at the temperature chart shows that temperatures are on the ever rise. The begin to increase during the first marching phase, go up during running – and continue to do so even after running was slowed down to marching once again. Heat accumulated and had no chance of leaving.

More heat means more sweating. More sweating means more necessity of re-hydrating. More drinking means more water to carry around. And more water to carry around means more hassle with organisation of re-supply for the element you’re deployed with. As simple as that.

But let’s take a look at the UF PRO Striker HT. Can it do any better?

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This is some significant difference. Note that the air humidity hardly ever was substantially above the environmental air humidity! While it did go up somewhat during running phase, it immediately dropped after it. Chances of a chafe? Hardly at all.

Let’s look at the temperatures: what we see here is the exact opposite of what we saw in the Crye G3! The Striker HT had been sitting in the sun for a few minutes and obviously become warm. During movement the temperature dropped back to the environmental 29 °C. Note that the Striker HT PenCott BadLands pattern is darker than the Crye G3 light tan solid color – so the Striker HT should absorb substantially more sunlight and turn it into warmth.

But even more: After finishing the running phase, temperatures dropped even below the environmental temperature! The reason is that the excess moisture generated by sweating during the running phase was blown out of the pants by the built-in “chimney effect” – this causes water to evaporate with the nice side-effect of generating cold – even below the environmental temperature.

Bottom line: Obviously the UF PRO Striker HT has a built-in refrigerator!

This is even clearly tangible! When slowing down from running to marching, I had a very distinct feeling of something cooling me down.

 

Coming to an End – The Summary

Coming to an end of this review, let’s put things into a nutshell and sum up the feature set of both

Feature

Crye G3 Combat Pants

UF PRO Striker HT

Waistband

Padded waistband. Two velcro straps to adjust waistband.

Two stretch parts of waistband, auto-adjusting to actual width.

Belt interoperability

Six belt loops, ready to take 2” belts (e.g., as well 1.75” rigger belts)

Double belt loops. Can take inner pants belt up to 2”as well as outer duty belts up to 2”. Outer belt loops snap fastened for easy access.

Belt loop extenders available for wide belts.

Double zipper (bottom-up and top-down) for fly. Easy to open even when duty belts or backpacks w/ hip belts are carried.

Suspenders interoperability

(none)

Three suspender loops for UF PRO Striker HT suspenders (or other aftermarket suspenders)

Knee protectors

One external protector, height adjustment in front pocket, fastening in hollow of knee necessary.

Two internal protectors, four levels of  protection possible (padding, soft, hard, both). Self-centering. No adjustment or strapping necessary. “Fire and forget.”

Pocket configuration

12 pockets in total:

2 normal pockets, 2 hip pockets, 2 front leg pockets, 2 pistol mag/light/knife pockets, 2 cargo pockets, 2 calf pockets

In cargo pockets: stretch mount for rifle mag

14 pockets in total:

2 normal pockets (containing each a secret inner pocket), 2 hip pockets, 2 pistol mag/light/knife pockets, 2 cargo pockets, 2 small pockets on top the cargo pockets, 2 calf pockets.

In cargo pockets: 2 inner pockets each for rifle mags

Cargo pockets have two zippers each (for use while standing/marching and while mounted)

Cold weather provisions

(none)

Hidden and padded waistband zipper to zip in matching UF PRO windstopper liner.

Hot weather provisions

(none)

Sophisticated ventilation system w/ airflow from above knee air intakes to groin outlets (zipper closed). The pants have a built-in “refrigerator mode”.

Noise profile reduction

(none)

Complete avoidance of velcro and use of dirt-protected zippers

Boot interoperability

Width adjustable lower leg area with velcro for blousing pants over boots

Width adjustable lower leg area with shock cord fasteners for blousing pants, stowed away in dirt-protected compartment.

Cordura reinforced leg bottom instep

Snap fastened boot laces loop to hold pants down and in place during wide and high steps.

 

Summary

The UF PRO Striker HT is an opponent to be taken seriously by top dog Crye G3. It’s feature-rich – not to say complete – and comes at a competitive price (compared to any Crye pants). If you’re looking into buying a new pair of combat pants, you should definitely give it a try!

Currently, the UF PRO Striker HT is available in Multicam, PenCott Badlands and a light coyote. At the end, I’d like to thank TACWRK for providing a pair of Crye G3 Combat Pants and UF PRO for a pair of Striker HT for this review.

 

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