Update on the ARKTIS B110 Windproof Smock

Lo There Do I See…
January 5, 2014
Thoughts on Class Progression
January 5, 2014

I just received my Arktis B110 windproof smock a couple of days ago. I have blogged previously about the smock concept HERE (which links to the other previous posts on this concept!).

The smock is excellent quality. It is an improvement on the issue smock that I am used to. Below is a photo of the B210 smock, which is identical in its exterior features. I got the DPM, as per the photo, but they are available in a number of colors, such as multi-cam (MTP).

smock dpm

Here is me wearing the B210 in the snow:

Max in the snow

So basically, the B110 has no lining but is windproof/ripstop, hard wearing. The B210 has an inner liner, whcih increases the windproof performance. The liner is reminiscent of those nylon parachute material jackets that used to do the rounds. The B310 has an inner liner that is waterproof and breathable.

For the purpose for which I want a windproof smock, the B110 is perfect. It is a design improvement over the issue basic  windproof (better pockets, design, durability etc.) I also think the inner liners may make the jackets too hot (for exertion), and the nylon liner on the B210 has more potential for tearing with hard use. The basic B110 won’t break.

Why don’t I want a waterproof jacket? Because my smock is for use as a combat over-jacket, in which I can work hard. If I want to stay warm, I layer it underneath. If I am doing hard exertion, I can do it in the B110. Basically, I’m not looking for a parka.

I was asked the question about what to do for a rain jacket. For light rain, these windproofs will take care of it. If you are going to be out for long periods in harsh weather, then you need a waterproof. You can carry a separate gore-tex that you put on over the top or that you replace the smock with when it is raining hard. Someone recently emailed me and let me know that they had just received their B110 windproof and they had also purchased the A310 inner waterproof liner. Sold! I’m waiting for mine to arrive.

A310_C312

This to me is the best of all worlds. It allows the A310 liner to be used and convert a B110 into a B310. There was a certain ‘old school’ argument that a waterproof should always be worn on the inside of your smock, to prevent the sound, which was more of a problem with the old style ‘plastic bag’ waterproof shells. If you think about it, the B310 will get its outside wet when it rains, because the waterproof liner is on the inside. No different with using the A310 liner. It allows you to always use your smock on the outside, will reduce rustle, and is all out convenient.

I am about to take my B110 up to the woods to test. I will also test and let you know how the A310 liner works when it arrives.

Please don’t email me for orders, I don’t have anything to do with it (nor do I receive a commission from sales!).

ARKTIS USA: www.arktisusa.com Hours: M-F 10am-6pm EST  Phone: 513-422-6181  Email: sales@arktisusa.com

Apparently the B110 was never stocked due to lack of interest in the USA. People wanted ‘parkas’. They have started to sell and they are starting to stock them.

Below: MTP version.

9AN_0002

Live Hard.

Die free.

Max

 

56 Comments

  1. F says:

    So how much was it? I ordered a smock locally that fits me perfect and it has arrived (tho I have not picked it up yet)
    But its also 200 Bucks.

    How much was the Arktis B110? (I like the layering also and like a lighter outer, not so worried about noise from the old school plasticky jackets since when it rains heavily enough to wear them it will drown out most noises right there.)

    • Max Velocity says:

      B110 is $169.95 shipped CONUS.
      A310 is $98.95.
      Apparently the A310 folds up nicely into one of the B110 pockets.
      Nice.

      • Anthony S. says:

        Hey Max, yes, the A310 folds up into the lower B110 pockets. I also found a stuff sack hiding in one of the A310 pockets. The system works perfect together! thanks for exposing this amazing concept.

  2. Diz says:

    The irony of this situation. Arktis has one of the best windproof smocks on the planet with the B110, and they can’t sell them due to public ignorance of the concept. The Brits came up with the best system, IMHO, with the windproof smock and removable liner concept decades ago. But everyone was so ga-ga for gortex external shells that they were (and still are) largely ignored. I have been testing this concept out for several weeks now, as the weather has been cold, windy, and rainy. Here’s what I have found. First of all DPM woodland is actually superior to US woodland, and the new patterns, including digitals. It works better both visually and in NIR.

    Next is the material. Using a wind and water resistant material, such as a nylon or poly-cotton blend, they are much more versatile, in that they breath without a liner or can be sealed with a wind or waterproof layer when required. You would think this advantage would be obvious… What this does is give you a non-reflective, camouflaged outer shell that you can wear continuously through a variety of environments.

    Next is the windproof layer. Commonly called a wind shirt (or “L4” layer), this is a very light, 70-D uncoated nylon layer that is vey effective as a wind break under your camo layer. When it is cold and blustery out there, this light layer increases the protection of the camo layer by blocking the weather and maintaining core temperature.

    The next step up is a waterproof (hardshell or L6) layer, which effective stops moisture when a hard rain is falling. This is a slightly heavier coated nylon layer. Not necessarily gortex either, There are several alternative one-layer coated fabrics that work just as well, and being single layer, work within our layering system much better than 2 or 3-layer systems. I know it sounds a little goofy to some to put the waterproof layer under the camo layer, but in a tactical environment, it makes a lot of sense.

    The Arktis system is really awesome. If you can afford it, and it’s available, I would get it. If not, there are other alternatives. The original SAS gabardine (close-knit cotton) smocks work well, if you can find them. The Soldier 95 models are poly cotton and will work, but can use some mods, IMHO. But they are inexpensive and available for those on a budget and wanting to get DPM camo.

    The windshirt, PCU L4, is available as surplus, from ORC, Patagonia, and Wild Things. You pay a little more but can get camo colors. A less expensive (usually back) version can be found at most any outdoor clothing retailer. All you need is a light weight nylon shell.

    The waterproof layer can be either breathable or non-breathable. Breathable layers are available from Redledge, which makes an OD colored jacket (and trou) in their “Thunderlight” line. Non-breathable is any light weight, rubber-coated nylon that you can find.

    Why this is important to us. I think the big army systems have gotten away from a lot of good, solid fieldcraft these days, due to the nature of their recent employments. Urban assault techniques have been emphasized over woodland patrolling skills. We need to recognize what “old school” T,T,and P’s are more appropriate for our terrain and situation versus what they are doing. The classic SAS windproof smock is one of these concepts. Largely ignored by mainstream military, they fit the bill perfectly for us. Another example of how the so-called tactical industry is busy pimping out $400.00 L5 “softshells” by Arc’teryx, Beyond Tactical, Patagonia, etc. to a largely ignorant public. Which by the way, are merely pimped-up synthetic versions of the classic SAS smock.

    • Chuck says:

      Excellent analysis! You’ve caused me to rethink my own cold/wet weather clothing system. Not saying I’ll rush out and buy a smock, but there are definitely principles that can be applied using stuff I already own and supplementing with cheaper alternatives to the gucci gear you mention in your last para.

  3. pat says:

    Just talked to the gents at Arktis and ordered mine. Just to add a little clarity the A310 liner is both water proof and wind proof.
    110 – shell
    210 – shell and windproof layer
    310 – shell and water proof layer and wind proof layer
    A310 – waterproof and windproof layer

    So with a 110 and a A310 you can all the worlds and the flexibility

  4. Rob says:

    How’s their sizing run? I’m 5’ll” 200 lbs. Large or extra large? I called their shop and they suggested XL but just double checking from folks who have.

  5. Bergmann says:

    Just my opinion but I think if you are truly in tune with the needs of carrying a thorough and a well thought out kit compliment in a post collapse situation, a smock will be in your kit rundown. Many folks are stuck on this highly mobile and well fed logistical concept of a modern military force and this simply will not be the case when the hammer drops. Many that turn their nose to the concept never get out and away from society and comfort enough to understand the benefits a smock offers, especially if there is a serious need to fall back on simple kit for survival off the land like you will probably find in a catastrophic event. Smocks are great in that they can serve as anything from battle rig to feed your weapon in a pinch, to being a great place to hide/store discrete, un-intrusive survival kit on your body in case you’ve lost everything. The weather protection benefits are obvious as stated by another post.

    I think some of the resistance to smocks in the USA is also perpetuated by the taticool factor. To many its yesterdays news, especially if its a normal earth tone, woodland or DPM. Its just not sexy to a lot of people. However I have met a lot of folks that simply dont know where to go, what to buy or how to avoid the junk CHICOM copies out there. Sizing is another factor that throws people off and makes them avoid the concept. People cant get their heads around it when doing research and converting it to simple US sizes. There is a pronounced intimidation factor. There is definitely interest out there though. When people see my site they want to to know about smocks. I’m pounded with the same question over and over every time and its always how to find a good one at a good price, and ABOUT THE SIZES. (Not speaking of Arkits smocks, but surplus MOD versions I use)..

    Dont fear the smock..!

    I stayed out for 24 hours EASY with the kit i shoved in this smock..

    http://i740.photobucket.com/albums/xx48/bootnknife/1%20Webgear/4d1c4516-029f-49b9-9fb4-065349c772f1_zps0407eda1.jpg

    I modified it with rear pockets to increase its already massive cargo capabilities..You can fit binoculars or a canteen cup in these pockets easily..

    http://i740.photobucket.com/albums/xx48/bootnknife/9a833b8d-319d-4596-abfe-5d543bbd171e_zpscab1d9a4.jpg

    And I agree that DPM is far far superior to standard BDU woodland camo. BDU woodland is more then an appropriate pattern but it will never be DPM. IMO DPM is the best woodland camo ever made..

    Bergmann

  6. Mark says:

    Max,
    This entered my E-mail this morning from WRSA. I thought you might find it of interest concerning what patriots in urban settings might face from DHS/LE should TSHTF.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TlY_b4VEnY&feature=player_embedded

    Mark

  7. Red Forman says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the original issue British windproof smocks. I ordered one from KeepShooting a couple of months ago and it is indeed a great piece of kit. Issued, though in mint condition. Perfect fit and, yes, the Brit sizing can be confusing. Turns out I’m a 170/104 (whatever that equates to in U.S. sizing).

    Haven’t had too many blustery days so far this winter in FL but tonight and tomorrow night will be ball busters here; low 20s and teens predicted with wind steady at 15 mph and gusting to 30. Bergmann weather!

    So far, it lives up to it’s rep for cutting the wind significantly. Will advise if it there are any issues.

  8. Sourdough says:

    Is there disadvantages to the B221 model…??? Does the B210 have the zipper underarm vent…..???

    X Large Arktis B221 Special Forces British DPM Kommando Parka SAS 14 Pockets!

  9. Perioikoi says:

    A possible cheaper alternative in multicam is the “5.11 TacDry Rain Shell”. On sale right now for 49.99.

    *Ultra-lightweight, waterproof, breathable
    *Five pocket design
    *Roll-up/removable hood
    *100% seam-sealed nylon
    *VELCRO® brand fasteners
    *YKK® zippers
    *Prym® snaps

    Just received one of these for further testing. It’s uninsulated and seems like it would be durable. It’s basically comprised of a nylon multicam outer layer joined with a breathable waterproof membrane that’s then covered with a mesh liner. I’ve had this same jacket in an all black version for a few years and it’s functioned well and proven durable.It’s probably the most comfortable waterproof jacket I’ve ever owned and breathes far better than Gortex. The multicam nylon seems to be a bit more robust than my black version. Defiantly doesn’t have the cargo room of the Arktis but I’ve never been a fan of using uniform pockets that much anyway. I would suggest ordering one size larger than normal if planing to where over gear and/or with a battle belt.

  10. A Freeman says:

    Aaarrgh Captha Code ate my detailed post!

    In short repeat, my solution:
    (a) new Genuine British Army Issue MTP (PCS) Combat Smock for UK₤36 (around US$58 then); plus
    (b) Crye Multicam hooded poncho sourced from http://badmoonrizing.com/poncho-009.htm

    Combination is very flexible and multi-use. The poncho:
    – is light, packs down small, and is easily at hand in a webbing pouch/smock pocket;
    – is easily donned and shed and also covers webbing and pack to keep gear dry and camouflaged;
    – can be used as a shelter or matched to a second poncho to form two halves of a larger shelter;
    – vents easily to avoid condensation/perspiration; and
    – can be sat or lain on to keep arse/body dry.

  11. Diz says:

    I have a Soldier 95 DPM windproof smock. It’s a 180/104, which is large long, 44″ chest. I’m 5’11” 165 and it fits me perfect for winter ops. Lots of room for layers and drawstrings cinch up what I don’t need. It’s a poly-cotton blend. It was in issued, like-new condition. I believe the Brits call this Grade 1 or sometimes “supergrade” if it’s cherry. It cost me $32.00 plus another 32.00 airmail. I’m getting another one in 180/96 which is large long 42″ chest for more general use, without heavy layers.

    I wore it this morning in 12 deg weather. Of course I had some other shit underneath! Guys before you order, consider the concept of the windproof smock. It works the best as a single layer, outer garment that provides camo. Putting a sewn-in liner in it defeats the purpose of the exercise. I like the capability of a smock that can be used in a variety of weather conditions. Without any liner it is akin to a windbreaker, just enough to keep you comfortable but still breathes. With a little wind (and rain), the windproof liner now stops the wind (and some rain) and keeps you from chilling. When it’s really raining, the waterproof liner keeps you dry. The beauty of this system is as weather changes, you can adjust your layers to suit conditions. With sewn-in wind or rain layers, you are stuck in one mode. In my area, conditions change quite a bit. This winter has been back and forth between mild and cold, windy and calm, wet and dry. If you have the same thing, consider the singer layer windproof smock.

    Also, I have found that single layer gear dries out much faster. This is important for extended ops in the field. Lined jackets and such take days to dry out, versus overnight for lighter, thinner stuff. (BTW, the same concept applies to gortex boots. They take much longer to dry out. That’s why I prefer to use waterproof liner socks and gaiters instead.)

    • Tom S says:

      Smock is great didn’t require a lot of layering underneath in this cold weather. Excellent for walking, carrying a ruck,running.
      For the rain I think wearing a light rain jacket underneath the smock would work well. Reduce shine/glare less noise potential and to prevent ripping or catching raingear on thorns/brush.

  12. Yann says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been serving in the french infantry for several years now. I gave up my goretex jacket several years ago, keeping it for very heavy rain when doing armoured infantry work in eastern France.

    On other occasions, I use a windproof smock (the first one was an arktis, but it is now an sass one) keeping a small goretex liner in the internal poacher pocket.

    I used this combination in my several tours in Afghanistan, particulary in winter 2006-2007 when it was so cold And snowy… With a merino shirt And its liner my windproof has always proved perfect!

    Furthermore, the liner being worn underneath the smock, you CAN move silently without the noise of the external nylon!

  13. Yann says:

    By the way bergmann, What is your big knife ?

  14. Diz says:

    Yann brings up a very good point. When you are trying to move silently through the bush, nylon outer gear can be noisy. It also glints, especially when wet. The newer “softshells” have improved this somewhat, but are expensive. The only synthetic I would like to see is a taslan nylon L5 softshell smock in NIR-treated DPM. But the damn thing would probably be $500.00 so I’ll stick with the issue smock!

  15. Diz says:

    What doesn’t get mentioned much in these discussions is the fact that lined, all-in-one parkas are popular because most folks don’t spend that much time outside, much less overnight in the field. If you are just commuting through the cold, not out living in it, you want one coat to take on and off, for convenience sake. This is totally different from what you want for long distance patrolling. Let’s be honest here. The majority of guys buying this stuff are hobby bubbas. They spend more time running around town in their kit than out in the bush. Often times convenience and style take precedence over actual requirements, like hard-core trekking and mountaineering.

    Let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog, you are an out-lyer on the great bell curve of life. Get used to the fact that our wants and needs don’t match up with the majority!

  16. jonny rotton says:

    how well does your webgear fit over a smock?
    is it comfortable??

  17. Diz says:

    Web gear rides just fine. With a drawstring waist, you can cinch it down so the belt kit fits right over it.

  18. Yann says:

    It is sure that a smock won’t be very confortable with a chest rig, mainly because of the uppercut pockets. Tough, it is perfect with a belt kit.

    Personnaly, I modified my old arktis smock by removing the upper pockets so that I can use a chest rig when doing armoured or vehicle patrols.

  19. jonny rotton says:

    i wear both a chest rig and a belt kit. i am a smaller man and need the extra room on the chest for mags and blow out kit. i also wear the chest rig under my bug home backpack.

  20. Todd says:

    I own several smocks (Arktis, Dropzone Tactical, and SORD) but I have only worn them in relatively dry weather. I have a question about a smock/waterproof jacket combo as mentioned above in extended wet weather. It seems to me that the smock would “wet out” and prevent the waterproof liner/jacket from breathing and create some serious moisture management issues. Am I off base? Does anyone have experience with this? Thanks.

    • QuietMan says:

      My observation has been it’s not any worse than a Goretex shell. A liner similar to the A130 actually works better than a shell as it is closer to your body heat and passes water vapor a bit better as a result. A bit. It still condenses on the shell.

      I wear a Mountain Hardwear Goretex jacket under mine. It also allows me to ditch the smock and have a civilian jacket handy.

      I finally arrived at the point where all my mid layers and shells have pit zips. That’s the way to vent vapor.

  21. Yann says:

    When I was in Afghanistan in 2007, I wore my sass smock with duch goretex liner, merino wool power 400 underneath… I did not have any problem, even of march has been very rainy that year. Every time I wore these, I never had any problem. Anyway, any gtx jacket Will saturate when staying under heavy rain for a long time. Max, as a brit What do you think about that ?

  22. ApoloDoc says:

    Looking at the Arktis shop, they show MTP which doesn’t look all that much like Multicam to me. They don’t seem to have many of the B110 smocks in at present. I like the idea, and found myself quite jealous of all the pockets that Max had!

    I’m going to contact them as to future availability. Your point about the lack of popularity of the B110 makes sense, but simply adding the rain liner is a no-brainer. Even the cost is about the same as the B310 and has the advantage of separating them when the liner isn’t needed.

    • Max Velocity says:

      MTP is the multi terrain pattern which is the Brit version of multicam – Crye morphed it by request to be more ‘Brit’ by looking a little like the older DPM. The smocks are made in the UK, so you can take comfort that they are a little bit ‘Redcoat’ LOL 😉

  23. Arktis USA says:

    We now have B110 Smocks, Multicam/MEP in Medium, XXL and XXXL finally in stock. Also Coyote XXL. Available through our eBay Store or direct, $169.95 shipped CONUS

  24. Arktis USA says:

    Regarding our waterproof products, and RE: Yann, Arktis has never used Gortex. It is stiff, noisy, builds static, and worst of all, leaks. We have always used Proline, which is breathable but none of the above mentioned limitations.

  25. Oregon Hobo says:

    Max, I was circling back around to this item on my shopping list and wondered if you might you be able to offer some detail regarding the improvements found in your new smock over the milsurp smocks such as can be found at KeepShooting for $29.95~49.95?

    http://www.keepshooting.com/british-army-dpm-windproof-smock.html
    http://www.keepshooting.com/british-army-mtp-camouflage-parka.html

    The comments for the MTP smock mention some of the newer versions coming with side slash pockets, hand warmer fleece liners, sleeve pockets, pen slots, armpit zippers, and hood wires. Does that sound like all the extra goodies you got with yours? If so I figure I can order several at these prices until I get a newer one, still come out ahead monetarily, and have a few extras on hand for charity/whatever.

    I suppose the MTPs are more likely to be newer product.

    Thanks for all you do,

    #OREGON HOBO#

    • Max says:

      Of the two links, the first one appears to be an old Combat 95 jacket, which were pretty shite. The second appears to be the genuine MTP new issue, which I have. I’m not personally running the old SAS Windproof anymore, much. Great for a full BB set up, but if you have been keeping up, it’s a long time since I have run like that. Lite BB and Chest rig or PC is more my way.

      • Oregon Hobo says:

        Thanks Max. I confess my time spent keeping up with my blog reading circuit has been scant over the past year, though I was aware you were placing less reliance on the war belt concept and more on chest-mounted gear.

        I presume your current go-to shell has fewer pockets to get bunched up under your chest rig then? Care to share a few words on what you favor now? …or is this my cue to sign up for the forum where this horse has already been beaten to death?

        Trying to finish getting my kit squared away before signing up for a class…

        #OREGON HOBO#

        • Max says:

          I’m wearing a soft shell jacket on the range right now. It’s raining a little in WV for Rifle Skills.