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As a tactical operator, you demand peak performance from your gear. Which is where our hybrid material design comes into play – by strategically placing different fabrics throughout your clothing to optimize your comfort, mobility, and protection in any environment.

In this blog post:


Understanding how the body supports movement

Did you know your body changes shape to make movement possible? In order for you to move, your body must make changes to the volume, length and shape of the muscles and other tissues that are included in each action. As muscles stretch their diameter becomes smaller, and when they contract it becomes bigger. When a muscle is flexed its diameter is the biggest, and the tissue becomes harder, while when its’s relaxed the diameter is smaller and the tissue can easily be deformed. Moreover, when you squat, the absolute length of your leg is longer than when you’re standing. In such ways your muscles lengthen and shorten, changing shape to power every action. And in order to stay comfortable and support this, your clothing needs to flex with you, not fight against you. We use body mapping technology to understand these changes, creating designs that move in perfect sync with your actions.


The power of hybrid design in tactical clothing

Forget one-size-fits-all gear. Hybrid design is the key to maximizing your performance in the field. We strategically merge different fabrics for a perfect fit that moves with you, not against you. This means unrestricted mobility and gear that can handle any mission, no matter how harsh the environment, or how dynamic your movements. And we don't just think about the surface of your clothing – we analyze how each layer works together.

We obsess over the details of your mission: Are you a SWAT team member kicking down doors, or a soldier navigating dense jungle? Will you face scorching sun, freezing rain, or both? Every factor shapes the hybrid design that gives you a critical edge when you need it most.


Built for how you move

Think about it: Scaling walls, crawling through tight spaces, moving at high speed...your gear needs to work with your body, not against it. That's why we focus on three specific areas:

  • High-movement areas (knees, elbows, shoulders): These areas require gear that is both flexible for unrestricted movement and abrasion-resistant to withstand scrapes and bumps. For these we employ materials like schoeller®-dynamic stretch in combination with CORDURA® to excel in both functions.
  • High-heat areas (back, thighs, armpits, inner elbow): Staying cool under pressure is crucial. Comfortable, moisture-wicking fabrics like breathable & abrasion-resistant 3D mesh are used in these zones to promote airflow and prevent the build-up of sweat and stickiness.
  • High-friction areas (inner thighs, waist, pelvic-bone): Constant friction can lead to chafing, which we solve with comfortable, skin-friendly materials that minimize irritation during extended wear, like COCONA® microfleece, air-permeable padding and air/pac® inserts.


Adapting to every climate

The elements can derail a mission fast. That's why your gear needs to excel in multiple conditions. Items designed for all conditions typically struggle to address specific needs effectively. We thus hyper-focus your gear's purpose with hybrid construction methods to give you the edge across the full range of climates:

  • Hot and humid: Garments structured in a way to be featherlight, fast drying, comfortable and durable, as well as promoting airflow to keep you cool, can be achieved with a combination of NyCo Extreme, schoeller®-dynamic stretch and CORDURA® with air mesh panels, which you can find in our Striker ULT Combat Pants.
  • Cold and dry: Insulating materials designed to prevent areas of weakness that can let the cold in, like the moving panels filled with G-Loft integrated into our Delta OL 4.0 Winter Pants and used in combination windproof and waterproof membranes, which together shield you from freezing cold and windchill.
  • Wet and rainy: The clever use of waterproof materials, like in our Monsoon Tactical Rain Gear that features a GORE-TEX® 3-layer laminate in combination with an underlayer made of 100% polyamide that feels good to the touch and keeps you dry during rain or snow.


An edge in any terrain

Conquering tough terrain? If you want to finish your mission with your clothes unscathed it’s crucial to minimize the chance of snags, tears, and damage. That means a slim, tailored fit that works with you, not against you. Reinforced high-wear zones, strategically placed stretch panels, and every element – like pockets and zippers – thoroughly designed to minimize snags and maximize durability. With UF PRO, your comfort and protection are built into the terrain-ready design from the ground up.

  • Abrasive environments: Durable, abrasion-resistant materials like CORDURA® are perfect when you face rocks, bushes, and other hazards. These materials are strategically used to reinforce areas like the knees and elbows, giving added protection where you needed it. At the same time, the use of stretchy materials is minimized in areas where there's a chance they might get stuck to any obstacles or objects. Reinforcements are also used where pockets and other elements are attached to the garment. In combat situations abrasion can also be caused by the plate carrier and war belt, for which the Striker X Combat Shirt was made with no-melt/no-drip construction incorporating Lizard/Skin torso material based on a Lyocell/polyamide-knitted fabric reinforced with ceramic dots for excellent abrasion resistance and padding on the hips.
  • Dusty environments: To keep dust out, tightly woven fabrics are combined with breathable mesh materials with zipper openings for additional airflow. The material is soft to the touch, preventing abrasion and the trapping of dust. We use stretchy materials to minimize clothing movement and rubbing against the skin, further reducing the chance of dust getting between the skin and the garment.
  • Low-light operations: VIS, SWIR, NIR-compliant garments mimic the surrounding radiation levels, making you less visible to infrared sight technology like night vision, thermal vision, and thermal imaging. To bring your surface temperature down to as little as 10°C, a number of well-thought-out materials must be used in combination with others, like CORDURA® and schoeller®-dynamic stretch, not only to minimize your visibility but also withstand environmental conditions without tearing or compromising your comfort.
  • Flame-prone environments: If you’re exposed to the risk of sustaining mild to serious injuries from flames and intense heat, then the Striker FR Gen.2 BDU is built for you. Especially when it involves close exposure to detonating IED devices and flashover fires, the lighter and more breathable fire-resistant material construction with ISO standard flame protection and two-way elastic stretch provide better protection than competing products, as well as better wear comfort.


Optimizing for any activity level

One of the biggest challenges is to design garments that can tackle all extremes of activity, going from moving at high speed to lying still, all without making a sound and boosting your gear's performance to keep you comfortable and agile.

  • High-exertion activities (running, jumping, climbing): When engaging in high-intensity activities, three things are essential - your gear should stay in place, enable quick movements, and allow air circulation for rapid sweat evaporation. It's crucial that your gear remains exactly where you placed it, as this helps with muscle memory during training, effectively enabling you to execute the exact moves you practiced to pull out a weapon in real-life situations. We've incorporated key elements such as the Waist-Flex system, Detachable Waist/Flex Belt, four-level knee-height adjuster, straps with Velcro, and mesh ventilation openings. All these features work together to keep you efficient, cool and dry during intense activities.
  • Stop-and-go activities (patrolling, observation): Finding the balance between keeping you warm when you’re still and cooling off when active is crucial. In winter conditions it’s essential that garments incorporate material design on the surface, as well as in the structural depth and layering with other clothing in order to provide the best protection for operations in extreme cold. Our best work in this regard is the AcE Gen. 2 Winter Combat Shirt, which delivers optimal comfort by combining the functionalities of layered clothing. Combining a two-layer laminate surface, a PU membrane lining made from merino wool and 37.5 polyester, and G-loft insulated sleeves. The shirt also features more schoeller®-dynamic stretch cuffs and a breathable, abrasion-resistant 3D mesh. Additionally, soft, quiet materials are used to minimize noise caused by movement, keeping the wearer undetected.
  • Stealth operations: Silence is golden. Using soft and quiet materials minimizes sound generated by clothing movement, keeping you undetected.


Superior hybrid material design

Creating a superior hybrid design is a complex process that demands meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of the requirements of the wearer. The first step in this process is selecting the most suitable base material for the task at hand. This choice is crucial as it forms the foundation of the garment and impacts its overall performance.

Next, it is essential to understand where to use stretch panels and where to reinforce the material. Areas of the garment that need to accommodate significant movement must be flexible, while those encountering more wear and tear need to be robust and durable.

The structure of the entire garment is another vital consideration. This involves not just the overall shape and fit, but also specific details like whether and where to add extra insulation and ventilation, how and where to avoid pressure points, where to place pockets, and how to ensure the garment remains securely in place and in one piece even when the wearer is carrying a backpack or plate carrier.

One of the most challenging aspects of hybrid design is accommodating a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. No two bodies are the same, making it difficult to create garments that fit perfectly for every operator. However, it is this very challenge that drives the pursuit of excellence in hybrid design, pushing us to craft clothing that not only performs optimally for its intended purpose, but also provides superior comfort and protection for all body types.


Conclusion

Crafting a high-quality hybrid design is not a simple task. A combination of careful material selection, strategic placement of stretch panels and reinforcements, thoughtful garment structuring, and an understanding of the diverse range of body shapes and sizes is not enough. While these steps can result in a garment that serves its purpose effectively, offering comfort and protection, achieving excellence often involves trial, error, and responding to user feedback.

Published: 10-05-2024 // Tags: Blog // #tactical-gear #tactical-pants
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