Below are first-hand reports from the front lines from men and women who have used our gear.
Dear Potomac Field Gear,
Find below the summarized comments of my Marines and me regarding our test use of the Potomac Field Gear (“PFG”) undergarments (t-shirts and boxer-style shorts) (the “PFG Undergarments”). In sum, the PFG Undergarments met or exceeded our expectations in their quality, fit and wear, and their ability to wick moisture and cool body temperatures in extreme conditions. The PFG Undergarments are quickly becoming a standard use item for our reconnaissance Marines—and given the nature of our mission – it is our hope that they are fielded as “mission essential gear”.
Background. During July 2006, a detachment of forty (40) Marines from Delta Company, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion (the “Recon Det”), supported Exercise RIMPAC ’06 (“RIMPAC”). The Recon Det’s mission support consisted of eight (8) full-mission profile operations conducted in various training areas on Oahu, Hawaii, including the surrounding waters and littorals. In general, the training areas consisted of high and very dense vegetation with occasional sharp rock and lava formations. The day time weather was consistently in the high 90 degrees with very high humidity. Each mission lasted approximately 72-96 hours.
Equipment. Potomac Field Gear, as part of its continuing development of its undergarment line provided Recon Det with forty (40) sets of t-shirts and boxer-style underwear. Each Marine was provided one set (top and bottom) of the PFG Undergarments for use, test, and evaluation during RIMPAC. It is relevant to note that each Marine also brought with him at least three other sets of undergarments that are typical to those generally purchased in the PX/BX (i.e., green, cotton-based undergarments) (the “PX Undergarments”).
Evaluation. After the conclusion of RIMPAC each Marine was asked for his evaluation and comments (negative and positive) of the PFG Undergarments (there were NO negative comments). The Marines’ comments were virtually identical and, thus, are summarized under the appropriate evaluation parameters, listed below.
Quality, Fit and wear. The PFG Undergarments received very high-marks for their quality, fit and wear. In general, the PFG Undergarments are more closely tailored (i.e., contoured to a human physique and, thus, fit more snuggly) than the PX Undergarments (and even most of the other after-market undergarment competitors) and had strongly sewn seams and a flexible shoulder/arm cut that aided mobility. Additionally, the torso and sleeves appeared to be slightly longer than the PX Undergarments. These two fit and wear characteristics (i.e., tighter tailoring and longer torso and sleeves) provided less bulk to the uniform (and thus a higher level of comfort) and more coverage of the body. Less uniform bulk and more coverage of the body allow for a much higher comfort level and less exposure to adverse environmental conditions.
Moisture-wicking. Hawaii provided the ideal setting to test the moisture-wicking capability of the PFG Undergarments. Working in high temperatures, under high humidity, and moving many miles daily on foot in arduous terrain with heavy loads, the PFG Undergarments kept the Marines cool (several other units operating alongside the Recon Marines experienced crippling heat casualties—the Recon Marines experienced no heat casualties during this period) and relatively dry. It is important to note that moisture wicking not only helps to keep Marines cooler, but also reduces skin rash and secondary skin infections that might occur in damp and moist conditions (i.e., fungus).
Odor-reduction. We were told that the PFG Undergarments contain intermittent silver-based threads, such as are used in surgical garments, to reduce the proliferation of odor causing bacteria—and thus reduce adverse smells that might occur when undergarments are used over extended periods of time. Without being able to scientifically validate the silver-based threads’ effects, the Marines all noted that the PFG Undergarments were significantly less odorous than PX Undergarments when worn for the same period of time and under the same conditions. In fact, many Marines quickly stopped using their PX Undergarments, and wore the single set of PFG Undergarments daily, with only a cursory hand washing on occasion. I also note here that odor-reducing ability of the PFG Undergarments for a reconnaissance Marine is not only a comfort issue, but it is also a matter of reduced “signature” when operating clandestinely.
Flame-resistance. We were fortunate that we did not get an “opportunity” to test the flame resistance of the PFG Undergarments. In general, though, such flame resistance is essential to reconnaissance Marines due to the high number of hours we spend in aircraft and the raid missions we conduct with explosive initiated breaches. Of course, the US military recently published a finding regarding the high impact to mission readiness that secondary burns from IEDs have caused in Iraq. The PFG Undergarments, in conjunction with other safety measures, could provide a significant reduction to such secondary burns.
Robert, the Marines of Delta Company thank you and Potomac Field Gear for your support of our mission, and congratulate you on your outstanding product line. Please let me know whether I can provide you any further feedback regarding the PFG Undergarments. Semper Fidelis.
I flew one trial flight with the PFG to see if it is a viable replacement to our current under garments and I recommended it for future use. The garment material was more comfortable in the pressure suit then the cotton under garments we are presently using.
Dear Potomac Field Gear
The following is a report on the fire resistant gear I tested in a mountain environment setting:
The gear was tested on Mt. Shasta, CA on June 14-15, 2006. On June 14, my partner and I left Bunny Flats trail head at elevation around 7000′. The weather conditions were very mixed with a late spring snow storm just nearing its end. We climbed up to Helen Lake at elevation 10,400′ in very strong wind (30-50mph gusts) and a temperature of around 30-35 degrees. Of course, it was deep snow all the way. The last 1000′ of climbing we got into near whiteout conditions. One climber passed us on his way down the mountain saying his feet were already numb and he didn’t want to lose toes in June. That gives some indication of the weather. I was wearing your short sleeve shirt and the long sleeve shirt over that. The only other layers I had were a light weight Marmot Dri Clime shirt and an outer wind/rain jacket. I was never really cold. Of course, we were exerting pretty hard, but the wicking of the gear seemed to work fine. The wind jacket too was critical to our comfort. When we got to Helen and stopped climbing, the only real cold I experience was when I had to take my gloves off to do something. It didn’t take long to get those gloves back on. That too is an indication of the temperature.
That night we slept in a Bibler single wall tent on a platform dug into the snow. Winds were fierce and the temperature was in the 20’s. Slept in short sleeve shirt and long sleeve inside a 20 degree bag. I didn’t wear the long underwear because of the temp. I wore the boxer’s you gave us and some heavy weight poly with hiking pants and wind pants. The boxer’s were fine for me but my partner to whom I gave a pair expressed desire that they were a little longer in the leg. They too wicked good.
We came down the next morning in extreme winds. The winds at the summit and some unstable snow conditions made going higher too dangerous. We decided to hike up Black Butte, a volcano next to Shasta. It is lower and snow free, but a good chance to test the gear further. Wore the short sleeve shirt and got very sweaty. Even so, I nor my climbing partner could detect any odor.
All in all, I was very impressed with this clothing. It was comfortable, dried quickly, had no odor and for the temperatures we experienced, did very well in keeping warm. The humidity out there of course is very low, but I have worn this gear here in VA on a 5 day wilderness trip and had similar success. I give this gear my highest rating and look forward to testing some heavier stuff in extreme cold.
Love the shirts… Got me some more at the MCX Monday… Really like the long sleeved ones… I have shelved my Body Armour shirt…
Semper Fidelis… MHB
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently had the opportunity to try out some of your new items. Specifically the Undershirt and Boxers. Which I know are produce for men, but have to be the most comfortable pair of undergarments I have ever worn. The temperature here in Atlanta has been ranging from 102 to 104 degrees everyday, but I never feel hot or uncomfortable wearing them. And because of the odor control I don’t worry about perspiring the 10 hours I am at work or the hour and a half I sit in traffic trying to get home.
One of the things that I love the most about the items is the texture of the fabric and the fit. I constantly sleep in the Undershirt and Boxers because they do keep you cool and they don’t twist and turn as you do at night. And most importantly the legs do not roll up on the boxers like the traditional boxer briefs do.
I was wondering if you could tell me when this gear will be available at the AAFES Exchange and how much it might cost? My unit and I would love to be able to purchase some of the items.
Thank you for in advance for your response and thank you for your products.
Spc. Carla Gilbert
Inactive Ready Reserve
4-1 Aviation Unit
Ft Riley Kansas/Ft McPherson Georgia
Dear Mr. Bonin and Potomac Field Gear,
I am a Rifle Team Leader with the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, KS. I’ve been wearing the Coolmax DulFold wicking T-shirts for some time now and was never the less very impressed with your company’s shirt when my unit tested your product for the U.S. Army.
I wore the shirt a lot while at The National Training Center at Fort Erwin, CA, in the Mojave desert in the middle of the summer and actually liked it more then my normal shirts. The temperature was consistently 100+ degrees every day while we were there. I wore it while in garrison, while out in field, and while doing road marches, and found it to be more comfortable and that it dried much faster then my usual shirts. I liked the cut of the shirt over the traditional T-shirt cut and believe it to be the reason for the improved comfort of wear. It beat the Coolmax DuFold shirts that I have been wearing for years hands down, not only in comfort, but also in wicking performance, order resistance, and static resistance.
I have found the t-shirt that I will be using for my deployment to Iraq and for the rest of my military service and hope that this becomes the standard issue shirt for the U.S. Army. I look forward to seeing what else your company has to offer in the future.
SGT Christopher J. Bouten
U.S. Army Infantry
Average Ground (Preflight) Conditions:
Temp 95-140 degrees F
Average In flight Conditions:
Temp 75-90 degree F
All 3 garments provided great protection against the Hot humid temps during ground and flight operations. Material was thin and comfortable. See below for breakdown.
T Shirt: The material was comfortable and lightweight. It provided great protection and seemed to wick the moisture away. The collar of the T-shirt was a bit high and was uncomfortable during the first few times I wore it. I found myself pulling the collar away from my neck. But this was something I became used to. I figure that if the high collar provides me a little extra protection then it’s worth it
Underwear: Very comfortable especially for boxer style. No complaints
Bra: Also a comfortable garment but the support factor was low. Although the brand new bra had sufficient support after wear and washes you could feel the support difference. Suggestion: The straps need to be a little stronger to provide support for long term.
ALLISON BLACK, CAPT, USAF
The thing that sold me on these items at your display was the fabric.
It is comfortable and breathable. When worn under a helmet and in conjunction with ballistic goggles it almost totally eliminated the fogging problem our previous face protection caused. The little trouble we had, when wearing the balaclava and moving from one temperature outside, to another temperature inside, was quickly remedied with an application of anti-fog to the lenses of the eye wear. This is pretty normal though even with out the balaclava on. It stays comfortable in all weather conditions. In the cold it offers a layer of fabric between your skin and the elements that keeps you warm and comfortable. In the heat, it allows enough heat to escape to remain wearable even under stress and during activity. It is even comfortable when soaked in sweat, which it usually was.
Another plus is that after use it can simply be hung up to drip dry and is good to go in a few hours. This is a big improvement from the Nomex balaclavas we were using. Plus the PFG balaclavas seem to resist picking up that “recently-used-and-now-dry” sweat smell other items get. This added to their overall comfort as you do not have to worry about washing after every use, you can simply rise, ring out, and reuse.
Another plus is the surprising protection it affords. For such a thin material, I am surprised at how tough it has been. It has taken beating in the form of stretch and prolonged wear, yet the material is still just as strong. There is no thinning even over areas that take more stress than others, most notably around the eyes and mouth on the face guard which is moved and stretched more than any other part.
It has stood up to glass shard from window breaching, as well as snags on exposed rebar, nails, and jagged wood.
These are the observations of the Potomac Field Gear Light Weight Balaclava (with Face Guard) collected from the: Fort Bragg Military
Police Special Reaction Team