About the Author

Woody is a 10 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hyde Definition Pathfinder BDU review

I've been following Hyde Definition's PenCott family for probably a year now, and from all the reviews I've seen, it's a very impressive pattern family.  The unfortunate part is that if you want to get your hands on a uniform in PenCott, you're pretty much stuck with ordering from someone overseas.  Now, there are some very good manufacturers overseas (I'm kind of partial to SOD Gear and DropZone Tactical), but I'm always looking for something Made in the USA.  Imagine my excitement when Hyde Definition announced they were making a limited run of their Pathfinder BDUs right here in the US (Massachusetts to be precise).  I can't lie, I jumped on that one.  Rachel at Hyde Definition was incredibly helpful, and my Greenzone BDUs arrived on Tuesday.

Initial impressions:

The bad: my Pathfinder shirt had no hook and loop on the sleeve pockets, despite what the advertised design said.  I assume they will be fixing this on production runs.  As it is, I will probably pick up some color matched hook and loop from OC Tactical and have a local tailor sew it on.  I was also hoping that they would have taped buttons vice the standard US BDU style.  I shouldn't have been surprised that it had standard buttons, but still a bit disappointed.  It's a weird personal preference.

The good:  far outnumbers the bad.  First off, pockets.  They didn't play around with the pockets on these BDUs.  They advertise that the rear pants pockets can be used as dump pouches.  Believe me, they can.  If you use these pockets for your wallet, not only will you be wasting a ton of space, but you'll never find your wallet again.  The thigh pockets are large and will easily hold a blowout kit, MRE, or other larger items.  Instead of going with the tilted pockets that other uniform makers have used, they simply put a zipper on the front of each thigh pocket so that you can access them while sitting. The pants also have calf pockets ala the ACU.  The bicep pockets on the shirt are large and close with zippers.  Each pocket also has a pen pouch behind the pocket.  Chest pockets are angled outward slightly and close with hook and loop.  They seem easily accessible, but I almost never put anything in my chest pockets anyway, so it's a bit of a moot point for me.  Other features - the belt loops are large enough to run a Cobra Rigger's Belt through without dis-assembly, which was not possible with BDUs, ACUs, or the Crye I was issued once upon a time (the picture shows a Shellback Tactical belt being threaded through).  Very few things are more annoying than having a belt with a buckle that you have to remove to put on.  The waist adjusts with a drawstring like the ACU, and the pant legs have have shock cord instead of the grosgrain ribbon from the BDU.  For the shirt, the collar can be worn up or down, but doesn't have hook and loop or zipper to close it, a feature I happen to like, since every time I ever tried to close my collar with one of those methods, I always felt like I was being choked.  The uniform itself zips up like an ACU, and the sleeve cuffs adjust with hook and loop.

Overall, after pulling it out of the wrapping, I'm pretty thrilled with the possibilities.  I'll give it a wear test on Sunday during the Heroes Run 5k and report back.  Just from my initial impressions though, as soon as I can save up, I'd love to get another set, probably in Badlands.

If you are interested, the manufacturer's site is http://www.hydedefinition.com/bdu.html

Belt Loops
Thigh pocket with button flap and zipper

Calf Pocket

Shock cord blousing band

Detail of front/rear slash pockets and belt loops

Bicep pocket

Chest pockets and zipper
***UPDATE*** I was informed by Lawrence from Hyde Definition last night that the lack of hook and loop was due to this batch being a pre-production run.  The actual production Pathfinders will have color matched hook and loop. - Woody

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