Friday, 25 January 2013

Military Boots

When it comes to military boots I have already reviewed Lowa, Danner and Bates Military boots but there are a raft of army and military boot companies out there that have yet to get a mention and the different styles of military footwear they offer, and more excitingly the boots they are about to offer!

The biggest brands in traditional military boots are probably; Lowa, Altbergy, Danner, Meindl, Hanwag and Haix.  As you can see it is a landscape predominately dominated German made boots!  Not really a surprise there, the Alpine manufacturing heritage and a traditional German eye for quality has established the brands in the hearts and minds of military personnel the world over.  The one notable exception exception is Danner which is a US brand (though only their upper tier models are actually hand made in the US).

Currently most military boots come in the traditional black leather, or black leather and nylon, or desert suede/desert suede and nylon combinations.  Some manufacturers have experimented with different camouflage patterns, including Hi Tec Magnum who went all out with their full Crye Multicam boot which even had a multicam sole!  The sole was made with different colour rubber blocks fused together, rather than just being panted on, meaning that the pattern would never wear off even as the sole wore down.  Whilst this innovation was pretty neat this boot sadly proved ultimately unpopular with the military due to its high price and a few durability issues.  The latest colour innovation in military boots is a new brown colour, designed to complement the Multi-Terrain Pattern used by the British military.  The advantage of the brown boot over the old school black military boot is that it doesn't have the stark contrast line where the boot meets the trousers, and also the brown itself blends much more effectively with a wider range of backgrounds and terrains than black, desert or even Multicam making it much more versatile boot for military personnel.  This new brown boot is going to be the official MOD issue boot going forward.

One of the up and coming players in the military boot markets is YDS a Turkish based company which has enjoyed a lot of success in the international tender business and is looking to make headway in the UK.  A lesser known brand in the retail side of the military boot industry YDS are looking to grow their presence through a select number of retailers as they continue their approaches to the UK MOD boot tenders.  Having spoken to YDS and inspected their products I am really quite impressed with what they are offering, direct injection sole units, full genuine Gore-Tex breathable waterproof bootie, high quality leather uppers and a price that compares more with a Magnum Police boot than a Lowa military boot.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Gerber Multiplier Reviews

Gerber seemed like the next logical progression in my blog since we looked at Leatherman last week.  The full title of the company is "Gerber Legendary Blades Inc." but to most people they are just "Gerber" (weirdly pronounced "Jerber" by some!!)

Gerber have been around a lot longer than Leatherman, the company being established in 1939 when Joseph Gerber made sets of hand crafted kitchen knives for some of the customers of the then advertising business and the range was picked up by Abbercrombie and Fitch for distribution.  The Gerber brand was purchased by Swedish company Friskars (who also produce the Friskars range of gardening tools; sheers, loppers, pruning blades etc.) in 1987 and Gerber is now the second biggest multiplier brand in the world.  Recently Gerber have teamed up with former chief scout, SAS reservist and legendary outdoors-man Bear Grylls as a marketing tactic including launching a range of specialist Bear Grylls Knives designed for the outdoors, camping and survival enthusiast.

Currently Gerber hold the MOD contract for the issued mulitool to UK soldiers and marines with the Black Gerber Crucial with strap cutter being the chosen model.  This is a particularly fantasitc bit of kit and if I didn't already own a Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multitool and a Gerber Strap cutter with window break I would certainly invest in one of these!  This model is based on the standard Gerber Crucial, but is finished in "Tactical Black" and they have replaced the carabiner/bottle opener with a strap cutter.  Now I know a lot of people probably mourn the loss of the bottle opener more than they value the addition of the strap cutter...after all what's the point in living through a car accident if you can't enjoy a beer after right!  But seriously, the strap cutter is a great addition and is indispensable for police, military, fire and rescue or ambulance and paramedics (and there are still plenty of tools on the crucial that you can use to pop a beer bottle top ;) )

Gerber also do the Diesel multitool in black which has more tools than the Crucial but doesn't have the "crucial" strap cutter if you will excuse the pun!

Along side the multpliers there is also a wide selection of knives, including the hinderer rescue series, available in red and yellow for the emergency services and as ever a matt black finish for the military.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Leatherman Multitools

The term Leatherman has become synonymous with all multitools, whether made by leatherman or not, much like the words Biro or Hoover are used to describe all ball point pens or vacuum cleaners.

Leatherman were the first company to pioneer what was originally termed the "Boy Scout Knife with Pliers" back in 1983 with the launch of what was marketed as the PST or Pocket Survival Tool by the Leatherman Tool Group.  The novel idea surged in popularity selling tens of thousands of units in the first few years alone.

Today Leatherman offer a wide selection of hunting and survival knives alongside their traditional multitools but maintain a specialist range of police and military tools which enjoy an outstanding reputation.

There are a wide range of cheap imitation Leatherman multitools available on the market retailing at a fraction of the costs, often found near the checkout of outdoors shops or petrol stations.  The old adadge of "You get what you pay for" however has never been truer though and you will probably be quite quickly disappointed with the build quality and longevity of the economy alternative.  In fact you will most likely find it a false economy as the blade blunts and distorts and the screwdriver heads twist and shred. The extra investment in a high quality brand like Gerber or Leatherman is really worth it in the long run, especially if you use it a lot, or need to entrust your life, or the lives of others too your multi tool.

Leatherman do offer a range of tools to accommodate most budgets and needs, from key ring sized "Gift" type multi pliers to the everything you could need "Charge TTI" featuring 19 unique tools in one and the specialist MUT, MUT EOD and OHT military products...and they have even introduced their womens specific "Pink" range of light weight