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Helikon-Tex Malamute Vest

Helikon-Tex Malamute Vest

Getting the right clothing setup can mean the difference between a long, hard days play and an early trip home due to becoming mildly hypothermic (or worse!). You may think that this is a rare occurrence, but believe you me it’s more commonplace than you might think. Many airsofters, even seasoned ones that I know will spend many hundreds of pounds on their airsoft guns and tactical gear but very little on their clothing. I’ve heard the excuse “I don’t have the money for expensive winter gear” all too often, but what it really comes down to is a lack of forethought and preparation.

Setting yourself up with a system which will allow you to hit the field year round is actually not as expensive as you might think. If, during the summer you budget for just a single piece of kit each month you’ll be surprised how quickly your system builds.

System Addict

First off though what do I mean by a ‘system’? Quite simply put a clothing system is a selection of garments that will work as standalone pieces in their own right, but that can be combined effectively to give you a set of gear that works all year round. This system will normally consist of: Base Layer – your base layers are the items of clothing that are worn directly next to the skin. They come in different weights and thicknesses of fabric for summer and winter use, although a mid-weight set will work for different seasons. The fabric properties will be mainly to do with moisture management as they will actively wick moisture away from you skin, keeping you dry and comfortable; Mid Layer – the mid layer is all about levels of insulation, allowing you to regulate your body core temperature. Mid layers can be fleece or ‘lofted’ insulation. It’s best to avoid down jackets and vests in the UK, as we’re often dealing with wet cold rather than dry snow cold. If down gets wet it stays wet and actually draws heat from your body trying to dry itself, so it’s better to look at synthetic fills; Shell Layer – exactly as it sounds; your shell layer forms the outer barrier against the elements. This layer will be of a waterproof and windproof fabric and these days may be either hard or soft shell. Hard shells are normally fully waterproof with taped seams but many tend to be noisy due to the face fabrics used. Soft shells may or may not have taped seams and whilst they are sometimes not fully waterproof, they will be highly water resistant; they also tend to be made of softer, quieter fabrics.

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Maketh The Man

By understanding what you are buying and why the choice becomes straightforward. What you are aiming to do is create a set of gear that will actively work together. The base layer draws moisture away from the skin and lets it transport through the insulating mid layer. The shell layer allows moisture inside the system to escape whilst keeping wind and rain out. By juggling with these layers you can be comfortable in any climatic situation. In the winter months if you really need to push up the insulation levels of your midlayer then it’s seriously worth considering some form of lightweight lofted garment.

Although Helikon-Tex offer a number of full jackets unless I’m going to be somewhere uber-chilly, I find that a vest is often the ideal solution for this as it will pack down smaller. The Malamute Vest can be used as an individual layer or worn underneath outer layers, and has a high collar, full front zip and two chest pockets which are lined with fleece for extra protection against the cold. Its durable yet breathable Nylon outer layer provides wind- and water-resistance, and thanks to the hydrophobic (water hating) properties of the 67g/m2 Climashield Apex insulation, it dries immediately when exposed to moisture, keeping you warm and dry in cold, wet weather conditions. These days I pretty much always go for a synthetic fill rather than down; as I said, synthetics retain a high percentage of their insulative properties even when wet whereas down retains moisture and will try to use your own core body heat to dry itself! The Malamute vest is also highly compressible and can be easily stuffed into a pack or cargo pouch without any damage to its properties which is yet another plus point.

This Malamute Vest was supplied by www.military1st.co.uk available at £72.00 in Black, Coyote Tan and Alpha Green, and in my mind is an superb addition to any winter clothing system.

www.helikon-tex.com

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