I recently received a bag of gear to play with from Platatac, and one of the surprises thrown in was the Platatac LW Silks Smock (PSS to save time). This was something I hadn’t asked for but am definitely glad I’ve got it.
A few years ago, back in the glory days, me and another chap from my company invested in Crye Windliners, and they were pretty fucking mega. During this period, I used the Crye jacket quite extensively and quickly came up with some improvements. The main problem I had with the Crye was the lack of adjustment in any of the elastic components on the jacket. This was manifested worst in the hem at the waist. I understand why a constant tight seal is important for a windproof jacket, but Crye really aren’t fucking about with this one, the seal is so tight that it makes the fabric of the body seriously baggy (to the point of being laughable), and when it rides up it stays up, which is annoyingly often when wearing body armour.
I am a fan of Crye’s method of stowing the Windliner. Having a dedicated and zipped pocket to reverse fold the jacket back into makes it really practical. I’m not a fan of ‘danglies’, and so having it all tucked and stowed away neatly works for me. It also helps that it folds down small enough to fit in just about any pouch and weighs exactly bugger all, making it uber practical and a must have for emergency warm kit.
So what makes the Platatac LW Silks Smock any different? In short, just about all the features I didn’t like in the Crye Windliner, and the one that I did.
The PSS is made of the same 40Dx40D Nano STX treated nylon as the Crye Windliner, and so has the same excellent windproofing and water resistance. While I haven’t worn this in proper British rain yet I have no doubt it will keep me dry long enough to make a quick dash for hard cover. As for the wind? Forget about it. Not a problem anymore.
What makes the PSS ultimately better is doing away with fixed elastic throughout. While the adjustable bungee closures might not produce as strong of a seal, unless you live in Florida and are currently experiencing your house being blown away, this won’t be an issue. I’ve worn the PSS on several gusty occasions and didn’t notice any air leakages breaking in. With the dreaded elastic gone from the hood and cuffs Platatac were able to put some simple but nice features into these areas. Velcro closure cuffs hardly break the wheel but you’ll miss them when you don’t have them. The hood has a really nice sewn-in peak similar to the one in the Badger Smock, which keeps the fabric off your face and will stop some rain if not all from getting in your eyes. The more open hood sits very nicely on your back when down and doesn’t look like you’ve wrapped a shower cap around the back of your head when up.
The one feature that I really liked on the Crye Windliner was neat and tidy stowage which unfortunately is only partially present on the PSS. The PSS can be rolled up into its own hood and is small and packable in this configuration, but it doesn’t have the same polished feel of the Windliner when packed away.
The final difference to note between the two is cost. The PSS is cheaper. Like a lot cheaper. The Crye Windliner retails at around £160 in the UK, whereas the PSS comes in at £68 (or £75/80 with shipping and handling). This price difference isn’t represented in a drop in quality, in fact you actually get more in the Platatac jacket for much less money, and it is still 100% to military specification.
In summary, if you’re looking for a super lightweight, super packable and super affordable most-weather jacket then the Platatac LW Silks Smock should be high up on your list. The only major changes I would make to it would be a neater packing system, and it being available in more colours.
Thanks for reading my ramblings, if you would like to know more or have any specific questions then head over to my Instagram account @thegeardocrow. Thanks again to the guys at Platatac for the early Christmas present and the excuse to wear a Multicam jacket while walking the dog.