Friday, 24 May 2013

Lowa Boots Review

My Lowa boots (pronounced LOW-VA) have been the first and last army boot purchase of my career....that is not to say my military career has been spectacularly short, just that I have been so impressed with the comfort, fit, style and longevity of my Lowa Mountain GTX boots that I have not had any need to even look elsewhere for new boots since that original purchase!

Now before we get started, Lowa, like Meindl and Haix, are a company of two halves, operating a commercial arm aimed at the outdoors industry and a specialist tactical arm aimed at police, military and specialist security.  The tactical range from Lowa is know as the Task Force Collection and comprises of around 21 styles and varieties of police and military boots.

The core Lowa Boots from the task force range are the Patrol, Mountain and Combat boot all hugely popular with army and military personnel.  The 3 profiles are quite similar for the Lowa Patrol, Mountain and Combat boots, the Mountain being a Gore-Tex lined version of the Patrol boot and the Combat being a higher leg version of the Mountain (still Gore-Tex lined).

Additional the the 3 main Lowa boots are a selection of desert boots including the Lowa Zephyr mid and high leg (with the mid being available without Gore-Tex) and the Elite Jungle Desert Boot (the Elite Jungle Lowa Boot is also available in black).

There are a couple of varieties of the Lowa Patrol Boot, the higher leg Mega Camp and the leather lined Super Camp.

There are also Lowa boots aimed more at the police market, offering lighter weight, more flexible models like the Urban Military and Para Recon boots, both of which are available in Gore-Tex and non Gore-Tex models.

More recently Lowa have introduced the limited edition Sepia green Mountain GTX boot and are soon to release a range of boots in the new MOD brown which is replacing both the traditional black and desert boots for the UK military.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Police Vests

There are only a limited number of police vest manufacturers on the UK market and the standard vest design doesn't seem to vary that much.  There are 3 main vest configurations, the "Standard Police Duty Vest", the "Mini Vest" and the "Molle Vest".

The standard duty police vest forms a zip up "waistcoat" with a variety of pockets and pouches on the front, most commonly:
  1. Cross draw baton pouch
  2. Spray Holder (with or without lanyard)
  3. Cuff Holder
  4. 2 x Radio Docs
  5. 2 x Large internal pockets
  6. .....a variety of smaller miscellaneous pouches or loops
The obvious advantage of this police vest is also it's disadvantage, it comes as a quick and complete set up unit, but is limited in how you can modify it.  Take a look at the Op. Zulu Advanced Tactical Duty vest for the best police vest on the market.  Clever features like the rear stash pocket and the elasticated belt attachment points make it a stand out above the rest and has clearly been designed by those who know the job.

Mini Vests, carriage systems or harnesses are hacked down versions of the full police vests, normally comprised of straps or a small amount of mesh across the back they offer much more limited carriage capacity and are often only designed to hold specific pieces of equipment, often for use under a coat or jacket in undercover situations.

Molle vests are a relatively new entrant to the market but allow for a much more customised end product.  Once you have the police vest you can add as many pouches as the vest can hold for any number of different pieces of kit.  As Molle is an international standard you can get pouches from a huge number of manufacturers including Blackhawk, 5.11, Arktis, etc etc. which are all compatible with a standard MOLLE vest.

The three major vest manufacturers in the UK market are Arktis, Op. Zulu and MLA.