Few years ago, pioneer of the modern designing in tactical gear market, Cry Precision, has designed and released a first generation battle uniform – R6 Field Shirt and Field Pants – GEN. I. According to the BDU used by Army those days it was a very modern desing which was offering higher comfort of the usage. Why am I writing about it in this review? Because first generation of the SFU (known widely for most readers) is almost ideal copy of Crye Precision R6. Helikon released it as a Special Forces Uniform with cosmetic changes according to the original uniform – it became popular instantly.
Some time ago, Helikon-Tex presented better version of the SFU trousers under the name of SFU NEXT. Changes made are quite big and for better usage – it can be said that they developed new construction according to the first generation.
CONSTRUCTION AND PERFORMANCE
To make everything good for reading – let start from the beginning – these are mentioned R6 trousers from Crye (photos from Military Morons):
In this review we will mention changes according to the first generation of the SFU. Material and the cut stayed the same but of course better quality than in the first ripstop series. Users were complaining because when trouser had begun tearing up it ended on the knee protector…
Looking at the top, side regulation were changed to really comfortable bands with Velcro, put through plastic ladderlocks. It mean there will be no problems with uncomfortable, steel looplocks. I were throwing them out because they were pinching under the belt. And they were constantly loosing while using them. Present solution is better and doesn’t collide with the belt. Most important is that the trousers can be worn heavily stuffed and they won’t fell down – regulation system is very solid and durable.
Two D-Rings are sewn to the two front belt loops – on the left and right side, right above the front pockets. Cosmetic but useful – we can attach our favourite gadget on the paracord and be sure that when it even get out from the pocket we won’t lose it. And also we can hang trouser on them 😉
When looking on front pockets we see another change – bottom edge was reinforced with extra material in place when we hold folding knife, small torch or multitool. Two layers will defintely last longer –especially when it is thin rip-stop material.
Next change is when we look at the back pockets and front pockets (right above cargo ones).In SFU back pockets had no closing instead of small part of Velcro and front pockets were open wide.In the SFU NEXT model we have all of this pockets closed with angled flaps. It is a big advantage in the front pockets but in rear – I prefer Velcro.
Another change is different construction of the calf pocket which is simple, closed with flap and without any additional things. There is no elastic bands and lightstick holders.
But the biggest modernization was made to the cargo pockets. They have additional 2 flaps (at the left and right side of the pocket) so they can carry more stuff. Also closing has changed – flap has now 3 points of closing – two little parts of Velcro and a loop for a button (identical like in CPU). In the inner part is organizer – two pockets sewn to the leg part with two parts of elastic band above them. We can carry flat items in them which could rock in our pocket like phone, cigarettes, handkerchiefs or even magazines.
It is worth mentioning that edges of each pantleg have been strengthen. It is to prevent them from fraying so badly as it used to be. Of course, pantlegs can be tighten with standard bands on the edges.
Of course we have double layer of material on the butt and knees and we can place foam inserts on the knees.
USAGE (PERSONAL OPINION)
ThePesH: Trousers was in use for few last weeks, mostly in city. They are as comfortable as classic SFU trousers. I like very much tightening bands in the waist and organizers in cargo pockets. I hadn’t notice any crooked stitches or loose threads – buttons in the fly are sewn very well (in former SFU every single button needed to be re-sewn). They improved everything they can in SFU NEXT so now we can’t say any bad word about them. Really cool tactical pants with lots of pockets which fits from phone to even m4 magazine – this trousers are good for urban and field use. They are cheap and for sure far more universal than regular BDU or ACU pants due to its organizers and pockets. Disadvantages? Flaps covering butt pockets and cargo pockets. They are little too small, 5mm wider and they would be perfect. But still this pants are pretty good.
DevilFish: Waist regulation – perfect. Fly is improved, pockets too. We get a new and far more better trousers than regular SFU and for only 10PLN more. Instatly the fapping has begun because of trousers which costs half than UTP and are awesome too. Well, SFU are not low profile, they are baggy as hell. To be honest, it suits ThePesh but for me SFU NEXT pants are too baggy. They are big, loose, eye catching and everything we carry isn’t close to the body so it isn’t very stable, not like in UTP pants. Different construction, different specification, different purpose. What about threads sticking out – there were few of them but not as many as in earlier version. Also, all buttons are on place.
Trousers are universal – for city use and field use. Frankly, only Camogrom is available when it comes to camouflage versions but I think that after some time and with withdrawing all of SFU this will change.
We both got rip-stop version which are very thin but not paper-durable. Of course to test material we must use it for whole season. For sure, forget about using NyCo version in cold or windy days – only during summer.
Cargo organizers are very useful and allow us to carry 4 magazines and nest 2 in small pockets above – at all 6 magazines quite stable in pants. Of course they will fall out from this little pockets above cargo pockets if we will run, jump etc.
In my case SFU=EDC and I am writing it with premeditation. I like this cut, I own few of them in different colours and camouflages. Black SFU pants have been my primary working trousers for few years. In home and outside I use mostly olive version. SFU are suitable for everything. Now, when I have NEXT which is slightly more expensive, I will stay with SFU NEXT. It’s nothing that they are launderable, may have sticking out threads and sometimes a button needs to be re-sewn – I hope they have improved that but we will see after half a year nad update it. It is real EDC on the butt. Quality/price ratio is very high. I highly recommend them – in my opinion they have 9 points on 10 😀
For 3€ more they have improved everything what was needed and also they released them in NyCo and Twill version. To be honest I can’t wait until I will test them during my stay in mountains. Waist regulation solution is brilliant, pockets are improved, including very useful orgnizers. All we need to do is to use them, wash them and check if they have the same issues like old SFU. 29€ for cool pants from Helikon? Adequate price for it. We pay slightly more than for old SFU and we have much better trousers.
Now we wait for SFU NEXT jackets…