Tis the season for – snow camo!
Whilst camo for Afghanistan has been getting all the attention recently, let’s not forget that Christmas is just around the corner – and that we’re in the middle of a bunch of snow storms here in the UK. So with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to do a little round up of some of my favourite snow camo uniforms that can be bought commercially (military or mil-sim only, not stuff designed for hunters).
First up is the new micro-fibre snow camo oversuit from BE-X. Its so new that I’ve not yet had a chance to evaluate one in the flesh (hint, hint), but it certainly looks good “on paper”.
Traditionally most snow camo oversuits have been fairly simple garments made from thin cotton gabardine material. Whilst this might be fine from a bean-counters perspective becuase this makes them very cheap to produce, its not great for the troops. The thin cotton material quickly absorbs grime, which negates the suit’s camouflage abilities – and it also absorbs water from snow melt, which means you’re body heat is getting sapped out even faster. And in case you’re wondering, Mr. Hypothermia is not your friend.
So, the fact that the BE-X suit is made from modern, water and grime repellent micro-fibre material (like a soft-shell layer) is a great start. Add to that the fact that it also incorporates padding in the knees and elbows, readily accessable cargo pockets, and ECWCS-style leg zips and elasticated ankles, and you have what looks like a winning combination.
Now – the question is, why is is solid white and not some kind of funky snow camo? The answer is, so that you can customise it with an overspray pattern best suited to the terrain where you’re using it. Clever.
Looking Further East
You’d expect Russia to produce some interesting snow camo uniforms – after all, remember all those old Cold War espionage films where it was always winter in the Soviet Union? 😉 Well, since the collapse of the USSR and the growth of a commercial military and para-military market in Russia, there have been some interesting developments, and they’re not as hard to get as you might think.
The Vikings are coming!
Tac-Gear’s “Danish Snow Camo” is certainly one of the more interesting – and even fashionable! – of the commercially available snow camo patterns out there. Based on the standard template of their “KSK” smock and trouser designs, and with helmet covers and boonie hats(!) to match, its available in both a waterproof and standard version.
Germany Calling (again)
While we’re at it, let’s not forget that classic Bundeswehr “Schneetarn” oversuit. Even though the suit itself is made from simple cotton gabardine, its a more practical/tactical garment than many of its “Zeitgenossen”, and its got that great pine needle cluster camo pattern – which has inspired a fair share of imitators.
The Abominable Snowman
Well, if you don’t have need of this “ghillie suit” as snow camo – I suppose you could always use it as a Halloween costume or for a Fancy Dress party. As long as you want to go as a Yeti or Abominable Snowman. Just take a pet rabbit named George as well…
Fantasy Christmas List
Finally, if Santa has a special sack for camo freaks then these would be the snow camo suits in it, if not then I guess we’re all just S.O.L.:
USMC Snow Camo
Developed by the dynamic camo duo of Guy Cramer and Col. Tim O’Neill (Ret.), the US Marine Corps new digital snow camo suits are almost as difficult to find as a golf ball in a snow drift. If you do find one, grab it.
Even rarer than a dog that speaks Norwegian, the Finns fantastic new M/05 digi-snow camo suits are the Holy Grail for many camo fans. If you find one of these, grab it with both hands (hint: there are 5 soldiers in the photo below).
French Mountain Snow Camo
Finally, you stand about as much chance of having Caterina Murino show up at your door on Christmas morning with a bottle of champagne and a fur coat – and nothing else – as you do of getting your hands on one of these. Developed by Arktis, this grand-daddy of all tactical snow camo suits remains but a fantasy for anyone other than those who have earned the right to wear it.
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- 23/12/2009 / 13:08