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Winter is Coming: Vertx Overwhites

Overwhites in the field 5

Warm weather is still prevalent, but that's not going to last.Few people are looking forward to the end of winter, but it's coming.  I can’t think of a more perfect time to talk about winter, and more importantly snow.

Snow sucks, especially if you have to fight in it. Ask anyone who has done so. The Vertx Overwhite set makes it suck a little less.

There are currently several new snow patterns being developed and released to the market. More so than I can ever remember. For years we only had a handful of choices for snow camouflage: basic overwhites, German “alpine” and, most commonly, just going without. Oddly, there has been a resurgent interest in winter camo the last few years.

This began with the USMC adopting a light grey and white oversuit in their pixilated digital pattern. That lightweight suit is a huge improvement over the dated M-85 Snow Camouflage, White, Arctic. Basically just this side of worthless, although it’s good to see the Corps a step ahead once more in the camouflage race, with the Army in trail pursuing a new initiative in the same.

I understand we’ve all been target fixated on the desert, arid climates, but being ready and equipped to fight in any locale is something the Pentagon must stay focused on. I remember how pissed everyone was to find out they had to wear woodlands in the desert. Proper sartorial preparation is important, and thankfully we’ve come a long way in just a relatively short period of time.  That’s why I was excited to check out the Vertx Oversuit these last few months.

The Jacket.

Vertx Overwhite PocketsThe Vertx suit is made out of extremely lightweight, compressible and quick drying Polyester fabric. It’s printed in the subtle but effective digital “Stealth PXL” snow camouflage pattern. It’s completely loaded with features you are going to love.

I’ll start with the zippers. The jacket features heavy duty, big-tooth YKK zippers with large pull tabs that are easy to grasp even with thick gloves. The gang at Vertx had the foresight to add pit zips to work with your rain gear or warming layers underneath. This is great, because you get hot quick on the move tramping through deep snow, skiing cross country or using snowshoes. They added pass thru zipper access slits to gain entry to your uniform sleeve pockets underneath, which were used a lot during my evaluation. There are no chest pockets or access on the front, mostly because the entire suit is over sized to fit over body armor and parka. If you want to access your kit underneath or conduct a reload on your primary then simply unzip the front.

I found leaving the jacket front partially unzipped ideal for this. Under stress you will probably unzip the whole damn thing to be less impeded. You will find a drawstring elastic cord at the bottom and around the midsection to allow tightening up the suit. This will help you better fit your loadout.

Using the Overwhite snot patchThe two best features are the hood and the “snot patch”. The hood is generously cut to allow for wear over a helmet and has two elastic cords to tighten down against brutal wind and freezing rain. It also allows “ninja style” wear for minimal exposure.

Perhaps the most badass feature is the “snot patch”. That’s right, a snot patch. It is made out of soft microfiber cloth and is sewn directly to the left sleeve. See gents, warfighting is a dirty nasty business. In cold weather you WILL wipe your booger factory on your sleeve. Sure as hell you’re not going to pull your handkerchief out and wipe your nose every thirty seconds while on a combat patrol. Anyone who has ever done this on a gortex sleeve or nylon glove will testify how quick it will wear the skin raw.

The Pants

Talk about a huge improvement over the old cotton/nylon ones. The waist of the Vertx Overwhite trousers features dual cord locks for tension to keep them up. Even snugged down tight the elastic was comfortable. The waist and crotch have two large buttons and a long slit down to access your no-no spot. This might seem like a small thing, (pun intended) but when you have to piss like a racehorse with all that kit on it will be greatly appreciated. You’ll be clear of all those layers in no time and clear to engage (depending of course on how cold it is).Vertx Overwhite Trousers 1

Moving on, there are two lower cargo pockets with pass thru zippers to access your uniform underneath. The actual pockets are large but are secured with Velcro at the top. So….you can use them, but I would avoid putting heavy, bulky or mission critical items in them.  Anyone who has worn ACU trousers will fully understand.  There are no slash pockets, which is fine because of the length of the jacket (you wouldn’t be able to use them anyway). The bottom of the legs have the same elastic cuffs as the sleeves. They work great keeping the drifting snow and wind out.

Overall, Vertx has put together a well thought out, carefully executed piece of winter gear in the Overwhite package. It is definitely worth picking up. The whole set compresses down to the size of a football and weighs practically nothing. It is certainly worth having available in your pack if you operate in snowy conditions, or even for urban camo if you’re lying up on (some) roof tops. I give them a resounding thumbs up. Hopefully before too much longer I will be able to provide further feedback from some Jarheads who’ve been in Norway, who fought in the Afghan mountains or maybe some of the ski-bunny 10TH Mountain bubbas. I will advise.

Final tally? You're cleared hot to buy it, and at $199 they are worth the price.

by Nathan "Mad Duo Nate"

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