Since I started this blog I’ve been asked in emails what is the smock I use and how do I have it set up.
I’ve also been asked a lot, why not a pack?
The first question about what smock I use is simple. I use the Drop Zone Tactical Recce Smock. I came into possession of 2 of these smocks, 1 in OD Green, and 1 in MultiCam about a year ago. If you are a regular reader you know I don’t review things unless I’ve had them for a while. I want to see what it will do after a few months. Not a couple days. So, here is my take on using a smock for a 24 hr “Get Home Kit”
The DZTac Recce smock is the basis of this kit, which is covered with hook and loop, zippers buttons and flaps. All of which are well laid out and have not had any issues in the year I’ve had them. There are 2 name tape hook and loop strips as well as on the bicep pockets and cuffs.
First off, a smock is NOT a jacket. Think of it as an oversize shirt, with a LOT of pockets. Some think Smocks were a British idea, but that is not true. The British Dennison style jump smock was copied from the German Luftwaffe Parachutists over smock. They saw a good idea and ran with it, changing the colors to a sand green and issuing it to their own troops during WWII. The purpose was to remove the need for a pack, as the more room you have to carry something, the more crap you carry.
It was also intended to go on over your normal uniform, or regular clothing during a parachute jump, to keep EVERYTHING you own attached to you. And with you on arrival to your destination. All your gear gets put on, then the smock, then the parachute. When you hit the ground, you dump the chute, and you are moving fast and light. Now it is popular as a way to carry a day or so’s ration of gear and food for 1 person. It was the start of reasoning for the M65 field jacket in the US Army
This is how I use a specific style of smock, with features specific to the particular maker. There are a ton of variations out there but they all have the same basic layout.
First the Tail or Poachers pocket. This is sewn into the inside rear of the smock, at the bottom. It is to carry bulky Items you don’t need to reach while moving or sitting.
I carry 2 empty 96oz Nalgene canteens in there, and a lightweight waterproof jacket. In heavy rain I put the waterproof jacket on under the smock and it works well for keeping me dry without a bulky goretex jacket.
In my truck I have behind the seats a case of water bottles. I live in Arizona, only a fool doesn’t carry water. If (when) I have to get out and walk, I can either fill the pockets of my smock with water bottles or I fill each canteen with water and put them back in the rear pockets, full. Yes, its heavy, but water is quickly used and its better to have too much water than not enough.
There are 2 zippered slash pockets on the chest, 1 on each side of the zipper. I keep a bag of jerky in one, a bag of almonds in the other. Easy to reach and snack on while walking. The zippers close by pulling down, as the do on the hand warmer pockets and the bicep pockets. This is counter to most pockets but makes sense as you have to pull the zippers up to open the pocket. Anything you put in the pockets is staying there.
Top left chest pocket. I have a folded map in a ziplock bag, and a wrist compass attached to the gear loop on the inside of the flap. It hangs out and I just look down for a quick direction check. No unpacking a compass during movement necessary here. Minimum number of stops and time loss.
Bottom pockets. I have jerky, chocolate and almonds in vacuum sealed bags, done at the house with a food saver.
The 4 outside front pockets have large buttons under the flaps on sliding keepers to adjust for capacity.
A well thought out feature. The 2 top pockets have a gear tie point made of plastic attached with a sewn in strap, long enough to use outside the pocket when the button is fastened
Left bicep pocket. I have a strobe light, and a note book with pencils. If I get where Im going I can leave a note, if I need to leave, for the family or friends in my group, so they know I’m alive and what I’m doing.
Right bicep pocket I have a mini first aid kit
2 Israeli dressings, 1 small, 1 large,
a small bottle of acetaminophen,
a small bottle of Tincture of Benzoine,
mole skin and various band aids and gauze with a small roll of tape. A 2 foot piece of duct tape is wrapped around the bag to keep it secure and gives me duct tape to deal with blisters if they arise.
Both the bicep pockets have a large piece of hook and loop on the outside for unit patches or other patch types. The DZT smock comes with color matching covers for the hook and loop so it doesn’t get ruined by mud or vegetable matter. Again the zippers on the bicep pockets close by pulling down. Nothing has fallen out of my pockets in a year.
My everyday carry in my pants pockets, small flashlight, keys etc get moved to the smock pockets so I don’t get rubbed raw walking. Sharp edged objects in your pockets are painful after a mile or so.
The side zippers have double sliders, so you can vent from the bottom or top under the arms for cooling while still retaining your gear
This is all you need to get home out to 25-30 miles. If you carry more you are carrying too much shit. You are not camping you are getting home. Get the fantasy out of your head you are doing anything but getting from where you were, to where you need to be, in the fastest time possible. You are not on a vacation, a camping trip or in an adventure novel.
And that is the end of The Quiet Survivalists review of the Drop Zone Tactical Recce Smock