I’ve been after a pair of these for a very long time after a couple of my friends ranted and raved about how they were so much better than the Crye equivalent, and for the last couple of years I’ve been bouncing around between pairs of G3’s, AC’s and fields of all colours and sizes, and so I think I’ve got a pretty good base of knowledge regarding their features and their short-falls for comparison.
So what are Plat Dax Mk.2’s? For the uninitiated and those still with some semblance of a social life, these are the Aussie’s answer to Crye Precision’s G3 combat pants, that were designed and issued to members of the Special Forces down under. They are very similar in a lot of respects concerning their layout, and also the overall quality, but where they differ greatly is in price. At the time of writing a pair of G3 combats in Multicam costs roughly £250 at retail, and a pair of Plat Mk.3’s costs $220 AUD (£125). As Mk.2’s are no longer in production they can only be acquired second hand, and my pair cost £70 in as new condition on eBay. As with everything else made by Platatac the quality is on par with the more expensive gear brands, even at far more affordable prices.
Most of the features present on these trousers are familiar to those who have contact with any of the modern combat cut pants offered by the likes of Crye, Patagonia and Arc’teryx. The Plats have a total of 10 pockets, a slash, small front thigh, large side thigh, seat and ankle pocket per leg, once again drawing the similarities to the Crye G3. Where they differ is in the large thigh pocket. This pocket is noticeably smaller on the Plat, and does not feature an internal retention band for magazines/water bottles. While this is a useful feature on the Crye, it is not as necessary in the smaller pocket as there is less room for everything to roll around anyway.
One very definite shortfall on the Plat trousers is the consistent use of small velcro fields. When the pockets are loaded I have noticed that the top flap can be quite hard to secure, as you have to line up the velcro fields perfectly for any hope at retention. This is again less important on the smaller thigh and ankle pockets but I would definitely have liked to see something more hard wearing on the cargo pocket as this is where any real weight will be carried. Also while we are on the subject of short-falls I might mention the lack of a vertical adjustment system for the knee-pads. This feature is important for some people but for me personally I have never really had to rely on it very much so I only noticed that it wasn’t there when writing this review.
Where these trousers excel once again is with the 4 way stretch panels. Whilst these are the older generation trousers they still have a full array of colour matched elastic panels in high stress areas including around and behind the knees, the lower back and a very large diamond cut crotch panel. All these combined make for a very comfortable and flexible pair of combat pants that I have no qualms about ripping or tearing from trying to be a combat ballerina with my firing positions. To make these trousers more comfortable the guys at Platatac added an adjustable elastic waist, with a great deal of padding around the lower back. This far reduces the amount of rub you experience when running a weighted down duty belt and holster.
The defining element of the modern combat pant is the inclusion of an integrated knee-pad protection system. This is the area that makes Mk.2’s far more desirable in my eyes than Mk.3’s. Whereas the Mk.3’s use D3O Tactical knee pads the Mk.2’s are cross-compatible with Crye, meaning no expense on new pads, and a much smaller chance of the pads making a break for freedom halfway down A-Range in Brecon (a colleague of mine had this problem several times, resulting in his now not using the hard external pad). This again is an area where Platatac seemed to have been ahead of the curve at the time, utilising a double adjustment tab system behind each knee. Whilst this is now a common feature everywhere except Brooklyn, it is nonetheless welcome as it mitigates the ever-annoying moment where you take a knee and discover your knee pad sat firmly on the inside of your leg, and your stretch panel getting nicely destroyed by whatever surface you happen to have stopped on. Should you choose to be running without any pads the knee pad pocket includes a fold down ripstop panel that can be raised and secured with velcro to prevent you from destroying the stretch panel underneath.
In conclusion I have to say that the Tac Dax Mk.2 Pants are the ideal choice for those who have to fund their own gear addiction, but actually use their gear in a scenario where it may get damaged. After spending several hundred pounds on 3 pairs of Crye AC’s last year, I decided that I need something either cheaper or stronger. Crye Fields filled the gap for strength at a loss of functions, and now the Plats have filled the gap for cost without sacrifice. I’m sorry Caleb but consider me converted, and Platatac, re-release the Mk.2 please!
Thanks for sitting through my wild ramblings, if you have any questions about anything I’ve written, feel free to either get in touch on the blog, or through my Instagram account @thegeardocrow.