Since joining the Canadian Forces, I have used our issued rain gear. And from the very first time I put it on, I knew it was utterly flawed. It baffled me that after just a few hours of rain, water was seeping through and there was nothing to be done about it.
I have tried just about every Gore-Tex-type fabric treatment, whether it was Nikwax or Grangers, both in wash-in application or sprayed on. Water just kept coming through. I stopped wearing my rain gear in the field for the most part. It spent most of its time stashed in a dry bag at the bottom of my rucksack. I later found out a large stretch of the seams had not been taped, creating a direct route for water to penetrate through the shell.
I turned to a Canadian favorite, CP Gear, to solve my rain-gear problem. I purchased one of their Stealth Suits. These have been a common sight in the Canadian Forces for years and will most likely stay that way unless we are finally issued with a decent piece of kit.
Made out of genuine Gore-Tex Best Defense three-layer material, it provides some of the best water repellency on the market right out of the package. All the seams are carefully taped to prevent any water from going through. The first thing you will find out is that this jacket is pretty plain. No external pockets, no fancy features; it is a very minimalist design, and for good reason.
The Stealth Suit, as its name implies, is made to be worn under combat uniforms. The main purpose of this is to avoid the woosh woosh sound typically associated with nylon brushing again pretty much everything in the forest. Not that this is a total game changer, but for recce work, it really does a great job of minimizing noise.
The sizing of this suit allows you to wear your insulation layers underneath, so they remain dry. As I said, there are not many features on the suit; drawstrings at the waist and around the hood are simply green utility cord with a cord-lock. The cuff adjustments are done with Velcro overlapping each other.
I would have rather had a Velcro tab for adjustment, but again, simplicity is the key word for this garment. Because they have done away with the usual nylon-laminated layer found on most jackets, this little beast, once folded, becomes about as big as your fist, saving precious space in a rucksack.
I am still in the early “testing” of the jacket, having only used it a few times on exercises, so I cannot relate how long it will stay waterproof under constant rain. I can say for a 24-hour period, it will keep you dry and warm. I believe it is a solid product that can last for years given some attention and proper care.
With an MSRP of $150 CAD on CP Gear, it won’t break your piggybank, either.
(Featured Image courtesy of CPgear.com)