Introducing the UF PRO Striker Stealth Smock. I was given the opportunity to test this product from our partner Triple Action, a shop based in Germany known for high-end tactical garment for the modern operator needs. Over the past couple of months, I had the Smock with me during my trainings to find out how it performs. The whole test included several greenside trainings as well the functionality in CQB environment. I even put it on for some mountain hikes and loaded it up with around ~13kg to check how it works & feels after a long day under constant use. In this review, I want to give you my personal statement about it and how it worked out for me. Beside this, I guide you through all the features the Smock has to offer and you definitely have to know about.
REMARK: This is a full product review not just an overview and there will be a lot of information inside (not only about the Stealth Smock) which I deliver to you by WORDS. I´ll point your attention at the key features just at the issues I may found out. It will take you some time to go through it. To the keyboard commandos: If you´re not willing to read that much and get all the little things to know about this product, I consider you to read the CONCLUSION at the end of this article. To those interested, be my guests and enjoy reading.
… good, you´re still here. So let’s start and have a look at one of the newest toys from the gear-smithy of UF PRO.
Before I even talk about the Stealth Smock to you, I guide you a bit through the history of this clothing system for military personnel called “Smock”. I do this to make you understand its roots and were it actual came from to give you a little bit of extra knowledge.
A “smock-frock” or more known as smock is an outer garment worn by rural workers especially shepherds and waggoners, in parts of England & Wales in the late 18th century. Back in these days, a traditionally smock-frock was made of heavy linen or wool and varies from thigh-length to mid-calf length. During the years of evolution, the smock design & the materials used changed and the field of applications expanded as well. People are creative!
The military smock we all know from today does not have a lot of commonalities with the first versions soldiers used during World War 2 when they first came to military use. The system is a European concept. British parachutist were the first once who put the smock system to work. The so called Denison Smock.
Canadian Sniper Sgt Harold Marshall wearing a Denison smock.
First issued to the “SOE agents” and later to the regular troops as well, the smock was initially worn over the paratrooper’s webbing equipment. Its primary purpose was to prevent the wearer’s equipment from snagging while emplaned or during a jump. It was equally useful for camouflage and as a windproof garment. The German Luftwaffe came up with the legendary “Knochensack” version for their parachutist units whilst the US Marine paramarines wore a “jump suit” as well. (History picture source: Wikipedia)
The Smock systems we all know from today are “basically” all the same I would say. The idea behind: a lot of bags with different dimensions to store all your needed combat/fighting gear including rations, ammunition and radios etc. inside without the need to have any other rig, pack or carrier with you. Just go with it and you´re good. This system works since the 1960s when the British military reissue the old design from World War 2 and they issue Smocks to their troops as a general purpose item till today.
The tactical gear industry stepped on the train again over the past couple of years and they came up with several “new” designs but nothing big innovative I would say from my point of view. Just the design and the arrangement of the bags, the interlocking system which is used and so on changed a bit from type to type.
So why did I took the Stealth Smock for a test with this knowledge in my head? Because this one is different to all others out there on the market and you should going to know this!
The new leader of the pack? Let´s start smooth. In its basic configuration the Stealth Smock provides his end-user 7 pockets. Two upper arm pockets (with Velcro on it for patches), two lower arm pockets (incl. two rows of MOLLE webbing for additional pouches), two big chest pockets and the core of all fixed pockets is the huge back pocket in the lower part of the Smock we will talk about later in detail.
An integrated hood/harness system is stored inside the collar and it´s easy to get. You just have to open one small button, garb it and it will fall out quickly. Your helmet fit right inside without an issues. This system has some cool features and I explain those later to you as well.
The elbow area is reinforced for extreme resistance and you can add the UF PRO Flex Elbow Pads (sold separately) to it if you want to get some extra protection for your skin/bones. I didn´t used them for the test because I felt fine like it is and because of the arm pockets, this is just extra weight I don´t want to carry. But they´re for sure comfortable like the knee pads they offer.
To prevent overheating, an integrated ventilation system in the side/arm pit area gives you enough ventilation openings to stay cool in hot environments or when the heat of the battle takes over. I have to add that this system really works well and helped my several times to cool down quickly what I didn´t expected to happen that fast.
A Key feature or element of the Smock is the MOLLE webbing around the hip. This allows you to place a lot of pouches you may want to have with you at the Smock. In case you´re not sure what works properly, the Stealth Pouches (sold separately) made especially for the Smock fit just right onto it and provide you the extra storage you need.
A little bit hidden underneath the back pocket, we have the Crotch Strap stored away in a small pocket. This strap serves the Smock as a kind of a safety system. When you are going to crawl, especially backwards and the crotch strap is closed, the Smock does not slip up and stays “almost” in place. A small feature which has a BIG impact to the usability.
The Smock close at the front by using a zipper system. You can cover it with a big flap which goes all over to prevent reflections etc.
Two small flaps at the end provide you easy access to it also when wearing gloves. As this part of the zipper system is not complete stitched into the Smock, you´re able to close it fast without any issues. That is a very helpful feature.
Now we take some time to look a bit closer at all those pockets I mentioned in the overview section. Starting at the front, we have the two big chest pockets. They provide a lot of storage for all your “small to medium” equipment needs you want to garb fast once you need them. Each of em goes almost over the full part of your chest (left/right). It opens with a zipper and once they are open, you get wide access to all your stuff inside which is nice so you get it all easy and quick. There´s also a row of 4 slots to store small things like pens etc. right in place so they won´t fall out.
The upper arm pocket has a small hidden pocket inside which closes with Velcro all the way up. On the outside we have a large Velcro area where you can place all your patches needed to identify yourself, function, the unit and so on.
As you may know from their new Striker XT Gen2 series combat shirts, there´s a small strap right above the pocket. This small but very helpful feature supports you while opening the zipper from the pocket if necessary tension is needed.
I tried/used it several times and have to say: it works very well and it´s a nice support system. Once again, UF PRO showed innovation at its finest. It´s the attention to detail what makes the difference!
A row of 3×2 Molle webbing covers the outside of the lower arm pocket. This gives you the possibility to add another pouch to it if you like/need to or to attach a GPS, chemlight or TQ for example. Inside, we have a 2×3 row of bungee-cord to secure small things as well.
THE HUGE LOWER BACK POCKET
It is the mother of all pockets on the Smock. It can be separated in the middle using an zipper if you want to and its bulk can be adjusted with two straps and a two level button system to hold all the “heavy gear” you may wanna store inside. Except all other pockets, it uses a big flap & buttons as a closure-system and not a zipper. This is needed here because when you load it full, a zipper will not be able to give the flap that much flexibility to close it easily.
NOTE: If you have ever tried to close a suitcase which was probably “over-loaded” you may noticed that after several times, the zipper starts to peel away from its stitching and that means it will not work properly anymore or even worse, it break away. You don´t want to be in this situation during a mission right!
Behind the pocket you are able to store some more gear. Two zippers (one at each side from the pocket) open this hidden compartment.
As you can see, the back pocket is fully accessible with both hands while wearing the Smock. Even in use with a standard 3 day assault backpack for example, you´re able to get the gear inside all the way down to the bottom without any problems.
And this brings me to the next topic in this review. Are there any issues regarding “wearing a backpack” and get access to the pockets/pouches?
As I can say, NO. We all know that some missions require a little bit more space or equipment as a Smock can actually carry and so a small pack is needed as well.
NOTE: The design of the Smock or better the idea behind this clothing system is that you don´t have to run it together with a pack. The pockets/pouches provided are usually enough.
What worked for me during the test was the MYSTERY RANCH 3 Day Assault Backpack which is not a small pack at all (holds up to 32,8l). This one closes the gap between a standard day pack and a full size backpack for extended missions. As you can see how it sit, where the hip belt goes around and even the shoulder straps do not block any pocket/pouch of the Smock itself. They are always reachable, full operational and so it is the gear inside.
BUT! When it comes to full size backpacks for extended/long range missions, there´re might be some issues between the hip belt from the pack, the load bearing system and the pouches around your hip on the Smock. Why? Well usually the hip belt from a larger backpack is designed to sit right at that place to provide the best weight distribution from the pack to the human body. But on the other hand: do I need a Smock or better all its features/pockets when I run it together with a pack like this? I leave the answer to this dodgy question open to you.
As parts of the Stealth Smock program, a set of pouches that fit right on the MOLLE webbing were also made from the company. The so called Stealth Front and Stealth Side pouch.
Starting with the Stealth Front Pouch which is the larger one of both, this pouch provides you some simple but helpful features inside. It has an adjustable storage compartment which can be separated in the middle using a zipper system. Beside this, there´s a bungee strap on the backside which can hold up to four M4 style magazines and a D-Ring is attached to the side to secure smaller gear.
To tight the width of the pouch and get everything inside close together (that it won’t wobble), a bungee cord with an adjuster located at the upper area (close to the opening) is integrated as well.
This cord also affects the interlocking system of the pouch. Therefor, UF PRO use the so called “Canadian buttons”. These flexible buttons in combination with the bungee cord (also used at the huge lower back pocket) give you the possibility to open & close the pouch silently. No typical Velcro sound to show everybody where you are.
NOTE: What I found out during the testing was that the opening from the pouch is a little bit to narrow. It is hard to get those M4 mags out quickly and even harder when you´re in a proper shooting stand, prone or kneeling position. This is maybe an issue when time counts and you need to reload fast to get your gun up and back in the fight! But maybe it´s just me who see it like that.
The Stealth Side Pouch offers a medium sized compartment which is good for small to medium gear. A D-Ring and an additional inner pocket which can be closed with and small flap and secured using a button, provide some extra storage are also integrated. Like the Front Pouch, the Side Pouch can also adjust the width of the compartment using a bungee cord with an adjuster located at the upper part right next to the flap. Other than the Front Pouch, this one uses ITW Buckles as a closure. The Side Pouch lends itself perfect as a carrier for water bottles.
You may noticed while looking at the pictures that the material on the lower part of the pouches are slightly look a little bit different as the one on the upper part/flap. And you are right. For a better durability, UF PRO used “abrasion resistant” CORDURA fabric which makes the pouches extra robust & more durable in this area.
On both pouches we have drainage holes at the bottom which provide water that may get inside free access to leave so the pouch gets dry by himself quickly so you don´t have to carry additional weight (water).
LOAD BEARING SYSTEM
Yes, the Striker Stealth Smock has an integrated Load Bearing System. How cool is that! If you followed UF PRO over the past couple of Years, you know that they are well known for taking the game always one step ahead when they design new products or redesign classics like the Stealth Smock is. So here we have the key feature what makes this Smock very different to all others available on the market.
A Load Bearing System (LBS) which is already build in a jacket,… how does this work? Let´s get the system itemized. UF PRO designed the LBS in two ways. From top to bottom we have the shoulder, upper chest and upper back area. Here we have big air/pac inserts (in total three) which are able to carry all the “remaining” weight around this area which the waist belt will not cover. It´s the shape & the size what matters here and make this system work. When you look at em first you may think these are big and might be not that comfy but I can tell you, these “pads” are very comfortable and fit just right in place. You even don´t feel em that much.
Second and most important or let’s say the key feature of the whole LBS is the waist belt. The belt itself is pretty much flexible and made out of CORDURA as well. It has four fix points on the Smock (two on the back and one at each side) where it goes through loops which provide the correct position at all the time. Between these loops, we have three pads made out of air permeable cushions and they are placed in the hip & lower spine area of the human body. The design and position of this system is lined with all pouches/pockets and so it provides the perfect weight transfer, comfortable fit and it stabilizes the weight around the user’s center. Perfect!
Right above the LBS is a bungee cord which allows you to tight the Smock in the waist aread if you want to as well.
If you going to purchase a Stealth Smock, make sure to check the “size chart” at their website. That´s really important! If the LBS does not site at the exact right place where it should be… it will not work accurate for you and the weight will not be transferred around your body the way it normally should do.
Because of this unique system UF PRO added to a classic Smock design, you almost get that feeling of a good support system a well-made backpack has to offer what means: you don´t feel the weight that much, everything stays in place and that´s a BIG PLUS from my point of view.
I just overviewed it for you in the same called section at the beginning. So now it´s time to look inside the hood to see what it hides. As I said, it´s stored inside the collar. It opens simple using a small button, then garb & pull it and so it will fall out. What you get is a huge hood.
You´re able to cover all common military helmets with. I used an opscore FAST ballistic helmet for the test and had no issues at all. It worked very well and the freedom of movement was great.
The integrated hood/harness system is something I never saw before elsewhere. It works like a cap. Once adjusted (using Velcro straps on the side & back area), the hood sits perfect on your head. Unhindered vision, air circulation & good hearing while wearing the hood is a clear go. If you don´t want to use it, no problem the harness can be dissembled completely.
On the outside at the back is a bungee cord with an buckle which allows you to tight the hood like you prefer it. So this hood sit on every head like a boss.
UF PRO decided to give the user the possibility to decide by himself which kind of extra storage he wants to use beside the huge back pocket and the 7 small pockets which are fixed on the Smock. Therefor, they added a lot of MOLLE webbing (10×4 loops on each side) to it so the user can customize it the way it fits best for him or the mission he´s on requires it. Nice thinking that way.
Even on the lower arm pockets we have 3×2 MOLLE loops to add some more pouches on it.
MATERIAL / FABRIC
As already mentioned, the Stealth Smock is made from CORDURA fabric. What else. But here we have a lot of variations out on the market so let´s set it clear which fabric UF PRO used exactly. The Smock is available like our test model in PenCott™ GreenZone but also in MultiCam®, Flektarn and Brown-Grey camo pattern. But between them, there are some small differences as you can read below:
PenCott™ GreenZone and MultiCam®:
- 50% Nylon, 50% Cotton Ripstop fabric
- 100% CORDURA® fabric
Flecktarn and Brown-Grey:
- 67% Polyester, 33% Cotton Ripstop fabric
- 100% CORDURA® fabric
The same material/fabrics are used on the Stealth Pouches for the specific patterns as well.
BUCKLES / BUTTONS / ZIPPER
The buttons used on the Smock are Canadian Buttons. These flexible plastic buttons provide a great usability and because of their bigger shape, they are very easy to operate. The buckles used on the Side Pouches are from ITW NEXUS and made out of very durable plastic and to close this chapter, the zippers are made of course from YKK.
NIR FABRIC TEST
The material/camo used on our test model is PenCott Camouflage GreenZone. The Smock is made for soldiers around the world and their modern needs on the battle field what means, the fabric has to offer MilSpec (Military Specifications) standards what it does but beside this, NIR (Near Infra-Red) efficiency is highly needed these days as well. We wanted to check this out for you and so we did.
For the test we hooked up with our partner ACT in Black and they provided us some new Nods. The pictures have been taken with a smartphone through the tube of a DTNVG with white phosphorus Harder 2100FOM Gen3 tubes inside which is military grade standard at its finest. Distance for the test was from 5 to 10 meters without any IR lights used. Just the performance of the NVG (like the operator sees it) and the weather conditions we had that day.
As the professional eye can see, the fabric does not have any significant NIR issues. Well passed and we give it a clear GO!
After we sliced the pie or better the Smock in its constituent pieces and talked about the usability of its features, it´s time to come to the conclusion. Personally for me, the Striker Stealth Smock worked very well. The configuration of the pocket/pouches is right there were you want to have them and they´re easy to operate. Except the small issue regarding the “magazine thing” the Stealth Front Pouch has and the fact that the opening is a bit too small from my personal point of view, these pouches do work well. If you don´t like them, go with the once which work best for you. The MOLLE webbing on the Smock leaves all possibilities open to you.
The huge back pocket is perfect for all big things and with all its features, for sure a highlight as well.
The freedom of movement even when it is heavy loaded was always there when needed and the Smock felt comfortable to wear and operate at all the time. The unique Load Bearing System speaks for itself and sets a new standard to this clothing system. Absolutely outstanding and high recommendable!
The hood/harness system is something I´ve never seen/used before and UF PRO scored here for me as well. Unhindered vision, air circulation & good hearing while wearing the hood is just perfect. Once adjusted, this hood feels and sits like a cap you want to wear all day long.
The integrated ventilation system works a 100% and really prevents you from overheating. Once they are open, fresh air flows through the Smock and cool you down quickly.
So back to my question from the beginning: is the Striker Stealth Smock the new leader of the pack? YES it is! Thank you for your reading. And to the keyboard commandos who skipped the whole review: you missed a lot of good information! Scroll back to the beginning and read it NOW!
WHERE TO BUY?
You get it from Triple Action starting at 284,95€ >right here<.
Any questions about this product? Then drop us a comment in the comment section below. We´re happy to help you out.