After publishing an article throwing some love to the classic M-65 Field Jacket the guys over at Drop Zone Tactical challenged me to try out their updated take on the Field Jacket, the Recce Smock.
So they were kind enough to shoot one out to me here in Iraq to try out, I had actually already heard of Drop Zone and the Recce Smock from our correspondent Rob Krott who has previously raved about them.
After looking it over on their website I was first concerned that it was a really heavy jacket, something I would have limited use for here in Iraq even during the winter. When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised that it was not a bulky jacket like I had previously thought, but a well engineered unlined mid-weather jacket.
The first real thing I noted was the Recce Smock is designed around someone who would be wearing a full kit and helmet. It fit like a glove while I was wearing my armor carrier and chest rig allowing me full and unobstructed movement. Even the hood was designed for someone who is wearing a helmet, it is actually the only jacket I have ever known where I can wear my helmet with the hood over without feeling I am in a neck brace.
The Drop Zone Recce Smock is stitched together by the boys at Drop Zone out of 65/35 Polyester Cotton [50/50 Nylon Cotton for CadPat and Multicam] using pull toggle equipped YKK® zips, note that I said it is made by Drop Zone, meaning that this is a semi-custom handmade jacket – not some cheap coat made in a sweatshop in China.
The Recce Smock starts off with the basic Field jacket design, 4 front pockets, mid-length [it goes past ¼ of your thigh] and zipper closure. But then it adds on tons of function and practical features to this old classic.
Let’s start from the head down. The hood is integrated [non-removable] that can be Velcroed shut about 50% of the way up [covering your mouth and nose] and then by using the drawstring you can adjust the remaining 50% opening.
One of the clever features of the hood is the adjustment strap on the back that lets you adjust the hood angle, allowing you to have the brim lower so rain runs off easily or higher for a wider field of view.
The four front pockets are extremely roomy due to the expandable design used and are secured by a dual button closure. In addition to the four front pockets there are two additional zippered pockets behind each front breast pocket. I like to keep things like my ID, camera and other junk that I either want to keep secure or have fast access to in these.
There are also two pockets on each arm that are also side-access and secured by a zipper closure. There are quite roomy, big enough to shove a paperback book into. And for the Velcro fans out there each arm pocket has a massive block of Velcro three rows deep for attaching all of you patches and such.
The final pockets are the two upright interior zippered pockets located just inside the jacket; they are quite huge with more than enough room for folded maps or a couple entrees from an MRE.
Besides the above mentioned blocks of Velcro and pockets the arms have Velcro adjustable wrist closures that work great for keeping the wind and mosquitoes out. The sleeves also have a large pocket running from the elbow through the forearm for padding that is great for shooting prone or for urban ops. The elbow pad pocket is secured by a Velcro strip that keeps it securely closed; Drop Zone suggests Toolbox Drawer lining as effective and fairly inexpensive padding.
One of my favorite features of the entire Recce Smock is the zippered under arm vents located in the armpit area that allows you to get air in and circulating if you start to get a little hot without having to take the jacket off. I use this feature more than any other because I feel comfortable during minor movement but when I really start moving around I tend to heat up fast, so instead of having to constantly take my jacket on and off I just pop the under arm vents open until I feel comfortable and zip them back up when I am good.The 65/35 Polyester Cotton is great for keeping the wind off of you without suffocating your entire upper body, it breaths enough to let some fresh air in without feeling drafty. The stitching and craftsmanship is excellent, you can definitely tell the difference between a mass produced piece of clothing and a handmade jacket like this.
While the Recce Smock is not waterproof it is treated to be water resistant, I wore it a bunch of times during some light to medium rains here in Iraq and it never soaked through. Due to the water resistant treatment water during light rains will bead up and simply roll off.
I wore the Recce Smock for a few months here in Iraq [and still wear it when we have cool days and night] while wearing my fill kit underneath and it was extremely comfortable and sharp looking at the same time. I had no notable issues with it at all and it continues to be a part of my “battle wear” for windy and rainy days.
Overall the Recce smock is an excellent modern recreation of one of the most classic of all military wear, the Field Jacket. Now this is not the cheapest of field jackets, but you get what you pay for, a handmade highly practical and functional Field Jacket that will last you throughout a careers worth of deployments or years of camping and hiking [or just hitting Starbucks].
Drop Zone Tactical
$369.99 to $559.99 [CAD Canadian Dollars] depending on Color/Pattern
NOTE: If you are not going to be wearing full kit underneath you should order one size smaller than you normally wear
Founder – Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and Staying Warm. James G. on FACEBOOK