UFPRO Striker XT Combat Suit
- 4 Comments
- Last updated: 26/01/2017
I’ve really decided to break my review down into two parts, as both the pant and the shirt really deserve space to themselves, so I’ll start with the trousers. So far they’ve been in the mountains with me for an extended wear test, and have also had regular trips to the range. They’ve been worn in sun, rain, sleet and snow, been worn while scrambling on rock faces and ground into the gravel of the range. At no time have they been anything but solid, dependable and comfortable.
Let’s look at the feature set which is extensive to say the least. The first major thing to note is that there is an innovative ergonomic, two component knee protection system (more on this later) and width- adjustable lower legs with a concealed vertical zip and elastic cord at the leg ends. The pocketing layout is functional and well thought out, with large cargo pockets on both legs with inner compartments, two- way access and an attached gear pocket. In addition there is a security pocket, large lower leg pockets and a knife or magazine pocket on each leg. There are two traditional slash pockets on the front, and two zipped pockets to the rear.
Waist closure is a secure combination of popper and slider fastenings with a two way front zip. The belts loops are fitted high and are, again, two-component in that you can fit a low-profile belt under a riggers belt with ease; the outer belt loops secure with poppers so you can ditch the outer belt fast if you need too.
Another feature I really like is the extensive use of stretch areas in the design. These have been expanded from previous models and go to work in the seat and lower back, between the legs, and around the flex areas in the knee design. Initially I was a little sceptical about the use of such large areas of stretch fabric, and how well this would stand up to wear and tear, but the Schoeller Dynamic fabric has really stood up very well to all I’ve subjected to, with no sign of degradation.
I said I’d come back to the knees, and this is another part of the design that is incredibly well thought out. I also own a pair on UFPRO’s excellent P-40 pants, and have the Flex- SAS-TEC soft pads that work with all UFPRO pant models; the SAS-TEC pads are based on a sensational foam technology which hardens-up in case of an impact and really gives high levels of protection. With the Striker XT pants there is a zip above each knee that gives access to a pocket where the pads fit perfectly. In addition to the soft pads there is also another pocket over each knee where you can slide in the UFPRO solid protectors to give even more protection if needed, for instance, if you were working in a rocky or urban environment. Putting the two components together does add a little weight and bulk, but gives really efficient protection of the knee and tibia areas without the use of a restrictive Velcro strap.
In use the Striker XT pants are, to my mind, pretty darn near perfect. Fit is not a ‘baggy combat pant’ style, but more a dynamic, tailored one; with the stretch panels you really do get an incredible range of movement with little or no restriction. The Striker XT pants are more akin to cutting-edge (read incredibly expensive!) mountaineering models than anything, and right from the word go you can tell that they are designed to excel. The 50/50 NyCo fabric in the superbly effective PenCott GreenZone pattern used throughout is a solid performer too and still looks good as new, even after washing and extensive use.
Moving on, the XT Combat Shirt has been seriously upgraded in the latest generation as well, and some important components have been changed in the new model that considerably improves wear comfort and functionality. In the torso area, the mix of polyester and merino wool offers extraordinary durability, maximum comfort and odour-inhibition. Both fabrics work incredibly well, offering superb wicking performance to help manage moisture, and a great deal of movement and comfort; the collar is also lined which helps to prevent any chafing in that area. The cut of the sleeve and the slide-in pockets have been ergonomically improved so that you will always land on the own D3O® elbow protection, and the removable UF PRO air/ pac® inserts in the shoulder area offer additional comfort if you’re carrying a slung rifle or wearing a heavy plate carrier all day.
In use the shirt is insanely comfortable to wear for extended periods, and all of the features work well together. The fabrics are all of the highest quality (I received the PenCott GreenZone model to test which is 50/50 NyCo ripstop) and the standard of construction is very, very high. Under a plate carrier the main body area consisting of the poly/merino mix helps to regulate your body core; although having true breathability under body armour is nigh on impossible the blended fabric does help to move moisture effectively, and the well cut arms do allow some additional mechanical venting to help keep you cool.
It’s a beautifully fitted and well-made shirt which makes the most of cutting edge technology in all ways. The fit is dynamic and really makes the most of the fabric performance, so you’re really getting your money’s worth.
Whatever I’ve thrown at the XT shirt thus far, it has just stood up to and come back for more. After several washes it still looks and performs brilliantly, and I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to have a long life!
As you’ll appreciate from the write up this level of gear is never going to come cheap, but in my opinion UFPRO gear is right up there with the very best available on the market.