Kryptek LEAF/Camo Technologies 3-Dimensional (3-D)/Multi-Directional Biomimetic Military Combat Camouflage (Camo) Patterns at SHOT Show 2012: Is the Army’s Future Soldier Going Reptilian?
by David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
All photos and video contained in this article were shot by DefenseReview.com, and are copyrighted. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these photos. The photos and video clips were shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability).
February 16, 2012
While DefenseReview (DR) was examining all the new products at the Diamondhead USA booth at SHOT Show 2012, one of our friends and professional contacts advised us to go check out Kryptek L.E.A.F. (Law Enforcement and Armed Forces/Camo Technologies’ military combat camo (camouflage) patterns over at the Source One Distributors (SOD) booth. So, we did, and we were pleasantly surprised by the camo’s 3-dimensional (3-D) biomimetic/organic appearance, which to our eye had an alligator/crocodile-like reptilian visual look to it. The pattern we saw was Kryptek Highlander, which is the company’s transitional/arid pattern. To our knowledge, Kryptek currently has six (6) combat patterns: Kryptek Nomad™ (Desert/Arid), Highlander™(Transitional/Arid) Mandrake™ (Woodland/Jungle), Yeti (Arctic) Urban (Urban Grey) and Typhon (another Urban Grey)
Kryptek military combat camo is patent pending and being marketed under the Kryptek LEAF/CAMO division of Kryptek Outdoor Group (KOG). It was developed specifically for U.S. military “black SOF (Special Operations Forces)” assaulters/operators by a bunch of retired U.S. military warfighters/trigger-pullers and hunters (thus the tagline “Battlefield to Backcountry”) way up there in Sarah Palin country (i.e., Alaska) who wanted to design and develop better, more effective camouflage patterns than what already existed. In fact, they wanted to develop the best combat camo ever. “Our patterns are the most effective, the most cutting edge that have ever been developed.” Bold words, and they were spoken by Kryptek Business Relations Director/CEO Butch Whiting to DR by phone, last night. Whether they’re true or not is up to the U.S. military and independent evaluators to determine through field testing and evaluation, but you have to admire Mr. Whiting’s supreme confidence in his product. It’s of course possible that’s he’s right, and I should note that Whiting comes across as humble-yet-confident rather than cocky over the phone. He’s also doing it for the right reasons. He genuinely wants to improve the combat survivability and lethality of U.S. military infantry warfighters.
According to Whiting, Kryptek LEAF camo’s built-in 3-dimensional effect kicks in at approximately 10 meters (10M), or 33 feet. At that distance, “you start to be absorbed into your environment,” Whiting said. So, what does that mean in real terms when one is involved in dynamic military combat? Well, at short distances of 33-100 feet, it could give a warfighter an extra second or two, or three, in a gunfight, or, depending on the lighting conditions, it could even camouflage him completely so that the enemy doesn’t even see him, provided of course that he doesn’t move. The goal in military combat environments is always to seek out and fight from the lowest level of light, or at least a lower light level than the enemy. However, even if you’re able to do that, it still helps to have an effective camouflage pattern. And when you’re caught in broad daylight, it REALLY helps to have an effective camouflage pattern in your corner. Effective camouflage makes it harder to identify and target the wearer, and can at the very least afford him/her valuable seconds in an engagement, allowing him/her to prevail/survive. Lethality is important/crucial, but so is survivability.
When Defense Review asked Mr. Whiting about the biomimetic/reptilian aspect of the camo, he replied that it’s actually based on camo netting as it looks when it’s stretched over objects like vehicles. That was the inspiration. The reptilian visual appearance is essentially just a coincidental byproduct of the camo-netting 3D effect, and Whiting asserts that the patterns are effective at both close and long range. When it comes to combat camo, that’s where the rubber really meets the road. Your camo may work at 100-200 yards, but how well does it work at 500 yards–or 800 yards? That’s a tough nut to crack, and the boys at Kryptek think they’ve cracked it.
The Kryptek LEAF/Camo Technologies military combat camouflage patterns incorporate both visual blending and distruptive aspects. Visual disruption is important because blending only gets you so far, and doesn’t work in certain situations. You’re not always going to blend in with your environment. The same goes for disruption. Sometimes, ya’ just gotta’ blend. So, both are important.
It’s also important that the camo pattern works in three light spectrums: visible light/visual, SWIR (Short Wave Infrared)/Near IR/Night Vision/I2, and thermal/IR. In order to do this, the pattern has to printed using the right ink and base material. Whiting stated on the phone that Kryptek LEAF combat camo will work in all three light spectrums. Duro Textiles is handling Kryptek’s camo printing.
The patterns will work against both human beings/combatants and animals/game. “This is the first pattern that has that whole demographic crossover,” says Whiting.
He also made an interesting point on the phone. It’s not just about how well a camouflage pattern works against the enemy. It’s also about how it makes the wearer feel, i.e., its psychological effect on the wearer. Does it help the wearer to generate a predatory combat mindset and think like a hunter? Whiting says Kryptek LEAF camo does (indeed do that).
Kryptek LEAF/Camo combat camo patterns recently made the down-select in the U.S. Army Camouflage Improvement Effort (CIE) competition, along with three other companies’ patterns: ADS Camouflage Solutions/Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp. (Guy Cramer), Brookwood Companies Incorporated (BCI), and Crye Precision. Oh, and U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center also has their own patterns in the fight, apparently. So, Kryptek’s going up against some corporate big boys AND the Army, itself. And ya’ know what? They may actually have a shot! It may be David vs. Goliath redux, assuming the program goes the distance–and that’s a big “if”. The U.S. Army Camouflage Improvement Effort (CIE) could very well turn out to be a giant clusterfuck (certainly wouldn’t be the first time), but if the program goes, our military warfighters could end up looking like highly-armed lizards.
“What it boils down to is results. The test results should ultimately determine the outcome.” Butch Whiting to DR
Editor’s Note: DefenseReview is curious as to how the Kryptek LEAF combat camouflage patterns perform at various ranges/distances versus Hyde Definition PenCott combat camo patterns, which also look very good. That would be an interesting match-up.
The following information comes from Kryptek company materials:
Kryptek Press Release on U.S. Army Camouflage Competition Down-Select:
“KRYPTEK™ Outdoor Apparel Named a Finalis in Process to Select New U.S. Military Camouflage Patterns
Company’s Proven Nomad™, Highlander™ and Mandrake™ Camouflage Patterns Undergoing Extensive Military Analysis, Evaluations and Field Trials in 2012
Kryptek™ Outdoor Group’s Law Enforcement Armed Forces (L.E.A.F.) division headquartered in Fairbanks, Alaska has been selected to an elite group of finalists approved by the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army to have its camouflage patterns further evaluated during 2012 — bringing the company an important step closer to its goal of becoming an official camouflage pattern provider for all branches of the U.S. military.
In the U.S. Army’s search for a family of camouflage patterns that will prove effective across myriad environments, the selection process required each participating company to submit a family of patterns (desert, woodland and transitional), along with a single coordinated pattern for the Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE). According to a news release from the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, finalists “were chosen following a rigorous technical evaluation backed by solid scientific analysis and incorporating critical Soldier input from the field.”
The patterns provided by Kryptek and selected for further evaluation are the company’s high-tech Nomad™, Highlander™ and Mandrake™, each developed to provide users with extreme stealth in specific environments and challenging conditions. Like all Kryptek camouflage patterns and gear, these were developed for tactical users and hardcore hunters based on the extensive battlefield and Special Ops experience of the company’s principals and pro staff. This background contributed to Kryptek’s formation of its Law Enforcement and Armed Forces (L.E.A.F.) division; created to serve the performance-based apparel needs of law enforcement, armed forces, first responders, homeland defense and other government agencies.
Now that it has reached this important selection milestone, these Kryptek patterns will be put to the test — literally — by the U.S. military. During its Fiscal Year 2012, the Army will put these patterns through continued rigorous computer analysis, evaluations and field trials over an estimated nine-month period.
“To have met the scrutiny of military testing and be down selected in this final group of four is a significant achievement and an honor in itself,” said Kryptek CEO Butch Whiting, an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and received two Bronze Stars among other recognitions. “We are extremely confident in the effectiveness of our patterns. They will continue to excel through the phase II field testing. Kryptek camo will provide users with enhanced lethality, survivability and overall success. There is simply nothing else as effective as Kryptek out there, whether you are on the battlefield or in the backcountry.” added Whiting.
For more information about Kryptek’s camouflage patterns and its line of military-bred technical clothing, contact Kryptek at P.O. Box 10652, Fairbanks, AK 99710 • Or visit http://www.kryptek.com.”
Kryptek Combat Camouflage Patterns Document:
“The Kryptek™ family of camouflage patterns were designed for the elite warfighter with the purpose of improving stealth and enhancing survivability, ultimately increasing the overall lethality of the user. Kryptek™ camo patterns provide a tactical advantage to the Operator by reducing visual acquisition through the combination of proven camouflage concepts, scientific principles and field testing. The Kryptek™ designs’ incorporate proven principles of visual deception based on mimicry of foliage, animal, marine and geography qualities. These principles have been combined with evolutionary concepts and fused with state of the art technology to offer the utmost in effective concealment in differing environments.
Krytpek™ utilizes a multi-directional design to effectively conceal in differing terrains that have either a lateral or vertical flow. The bi-level layering of the patterns incorporate background transitional shading and sharp random geometrical foregrounds to create a three dimensional effect that ensures the utmost disguise at both close and long ranges. These components combined with colorations selected and matched based on both input from testing and observations from Operators in the field make Kryptek™ Camo the ultimate in passive battlefield deception.
‘When shadows are not enough’“
“WHO: Kryptek Outdoor Group…A.K.A. “Kryptek, Kryptek Apparel, Kryptek Camo Technologies, Kryptek L.E.A.F, and Kryptek Adventures”…These are more of focus areas then they are stand alone entities. There are actually two legal entities within the Kryptek family of focuses; Kryptek L.E.A.F., and Kryptek Outdoor Group.
WHAT: Kryptek products are born from battlefield knowledge, focusing on what works in combat and honing it for other outdoor adventure use. Founded by a highly-decorated and vastly experienced group of men with first-hand knowledge of everything from air, land and sea combat to high tech camouflage development, Kryptek translates their military experience into product features to meet the needs of soldiers, first responders, civilian hunters and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Kryptek Outdoor Group manufactures high-end hunting clothing; designs specialized products for law enforcement and armed forces; and develops high tech camouflage patterns. Its products designed for extreme conditions and seeks to push the boundaries of what is possible. More than just clothing, the company integrates tactical gear concepts and evolves this technology into technical outdoor adventure/hunting apparel and other top-of-the-line clothing that is comfortable, functional and durable.
Bringing “Battlefield to Backcountry” Kryptek looks to outdo expectations and deliver serious hunters and outdoorsmen with superior products modeled after what is used by our nation’s elite. In order to achieve this Kryptek counts on its pro-staff, a cadre of men involved in special ops to help test and give feedback and help create the most functional gear on the planet.
Kryptek’s Law Enforcement and Armed Forces (L.E.A.F.) subsidiary is driven to do what no other company does – provide customized, performance-based apparel that is specific and unique. It is focused on serving law enforcement, armed forces, first responders, homeland defense and other government agencies. Pre-conceived notions of what customers want do not drive the company. Instead, Kryptek is dedicated to creating preeminent apparel based on field-input and customer feedback. This group depends on their gear, period. Kryptek understands this and joins with its customers to design and manufacture apparel that will work for them.
Kryptek also creates technologically advanced camouflage patterns. The goal is simple: enhance survivability and mission success. Users are consistently looking for more effective camouflage for these two reasons. Using field knowledge and advanced technology, Kryptek creates anything but generic patterns. the company utilizes the teams’ nearly decade worth of experience designing the leading hunting camouflage patterns in the industry and combines it with battlefield experience and the foremost innovative scientific techniques available in order to generate the most effective patterns possible.
WHEN: Kryptek products are currently carried exclusively by Cabela’s as well as their online store. They have several new camouflage patterns they will be releasing in the days to come that are simply cutting edge, and extremely effective on the battlefield, and in the backcountry.
WHY: Tactical application has enormous cross over into the outdoor adventure world, and vice versa. Many U.S. operators use high end mountaineering apparel and gear. In light of recent world events, the employment of Conventional, Special Operations Forces and other Government Agencies focused on protecting our freedom by fighting and winning our nations battles has been at an all time high. From battlefield experience, new technologies, equipment, and apparel have emerged. The concept of the Kryptek Outdoor Group also emerged on the battlefield, through actual combat experience. The idea of tailoring specifically to our Nations clandestine warriors, and spiraling this kit and garb into the hunting and outdoor adventure markets was birthed by a clandestine warrior, executing covert operations, in combat.
The concept of Kryptek is one driven by passion. Seeing a need and niche in the market, a window of opportunity, and an overwhelming desire to do what no other company has done; provide customized, performance based apparel that is specific and unique, that meets or exceeds the expectations of the user, and consistently obtains the desired results. Kryptek is not driven by a pre-conceived notion of what the customer should want. Through experimentation and customer feedback, we will incorporate product features that meet the customer’s wants for functionality, durability, appeal and overall results.
The Kryptek Outdoor Group concept allows for the founders to fuse their combat experience and connection to the military with their love for the outdoors. By using the U.S. Military Special Operation Forces market as a focus group for research and development, the image of these warriors becomes woven into the fabric of the Kryptek brand. It becomes inherent to the image of the organization, and as these items are offered to the civilian hunter and outdoor adventure seeker, not only will the civilian customer be using s superior product, but one that is being used by our Nation’s elite.
“We come from a background where performance matters and results are expected,” said CEO Butch Whiting, an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and received two Bronze Stars among other recognitions. “The same principals of aiming for accomplishment and victory, of no compromises, of leaving nothing to chance, especially your gear – these all apply not only to tactical communities, but to hunting and outdoor adventure seekers as well, which is why we are fusing battlefield and backcountry experience to develop ultra high end apparel that has application and function in both arena’s.”
Company Contact Info:
Kryptek Outdoor Group (KOG) / Kryptek L.E.A.F.
Email Direct: email@example.com
Email Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Duro Textiles, LLC
110 Chace Street
Fall River, MA 02724
Corporate Office: 508-675-0101
Marketing and Media Office: 508-675-0101 Ext. 1173
Corporate Fax: 508-677-6791
Duro Print Plant
206 Globe Mills Avenue
Fall River, MA 02724
Source: DefenseReview.com (http://s.tt/15ItJ)
Small Fairbanks company going head-to-head with the big boys of the camo industry
by Jeff Richardson / email@example.com
Butch Whiting displays a woodland camouflage pattern on Feb. 2, 2012, developed by his Fairbanks-based company, Kryptek. The company is one of five finalists to develop a new set of camo patterns for the U.S. Army.
Butch Whiting displays a woodland camouflage pattern on Feb. 2, 2012, developed by his Fairbanks-based company, Kryptek. The company is one of five finalists to develop a new set of camo patterns for the U.S. Army.
FAIRBANKS — When the U.S. Army announced the finalists to develop its new series of camouflage patterns last month, almost nobody saw the results coming.
Among the four companies in the running to develop the new patterns, there are three billion-dollar corporations and little Kryptek Inc., a Fairbanks-based company with a total of four employees. The Kryptek headquarters, if there even is one, is located in a back room of CEO Butch Whiting’s log home near Steele Creek Road.
Those patterns, along with a design developed by Army researchers, will begin a four-month series of field trials in May to determine which one performs best.
The winners — with separate designs for woodland, arid and transitional terrain — will be used on everything from everyday uniforms to tactical equipment.
So how does Kryptek feel about being in a multi-million dollar competition against some of the biggest players in the tactical design industry? Pretty good, actually.
“I like our odds,” Whiting said with a small smile.
Whiting said he’s confident in the designs because he’s been through their quirky evolution.
The decision to develop a better camouflage pattern was born about three years ago during a moose hunting trip in the Brooks Range.
Whiting was part of a group of “trigger pullers” who were grumbling about how poorly most camo fared in the state’s varied backcountry terrain.
“We just got to talking about camouflage patterns, and how patterns in Alaska are all crap,” he said.
That led Kryptek, which specializes in high-end hunting gear, to look into developing its own design.
The science behind a good camouflage pattern is surprisingly complex, Whiting said.
Almost anyone can make a unique design using a computer program, but not all of them transfer well to cloth or prove to be functional during a field test.
Kryptek hired a designer to help develop patterns, while collecting advice from everyone from experienced hunters to friends in the military special forces.
In the end, Whiting said, hunters who used the new patterns couldn’t believe how much it helped them vanish into the wilderness.
“It just so happens the stuff we created for Alaska seems to be very effective in environments worldwide,” he said.
So when the Army announced the finalists to create its new camouflage patterns last month, Whiting said Kryptek wasn’t intimidated by the thought that its patterns could also be useful in military roles.
A former soldier who spent nearly 11 years in the Army, Whiting also felt the existing military camo patterns left plenty of room for improvement.
From a group of more than 20 original submissions, researchers whittled it down to five through a combination of scientific analysis and soldier input, according to the Army.
In addition to Kryptek and the Army development team, the finalists include ADS, Brookwood Companies and Crye Precision.
Now that it’s among the finalists, Kryptek is researching ways to add layers of complexity to its designs, allowing them to stand up better to infrared and other types of detection. Whiting said Kryptek is scrambling to deliver fabric prints of the patterns by March, which will be cut into 50 uniforms in each style.
After a summer of field testing, the Army expects to make a final decision on the winning patterns by the end of 2012.
But even before the selection is made, Kryptek’s new profile as a finalist in the design competition has sparked new business possibilities.
The company currently has an exclusive contract with Cabela’s to sell Kryptek products, but Whiting said he expects new deals will be negotiated this year to work with other retailers, including stores in Alaska.
Recent trade shows, including one last month in Las Vegas, left Whiting almost overwhelmed with the possibilities.
The desire for a better camouflage pattern, which began in a hunting camp three years ago, could end up propelling Kryptek into another realm.
“It’s becoming a very big animal to wrestle with,” Whiting said.
Changing Patterns for Camouflage
As the U.S. Army considers adopting a new pattern of camouflage, here’s a look back at its use in history, art and fashion. Click here for the slideshow
The Alaios Pant
When Kryptek set out to design our main hunting pant we wanted to do something that was different from everyone else in the hunting industry (not an easy task). Six pocket pants and have been done a million times over, pants with knee pad pocket are very few but they have been done. Our plan from the beginning has always been to incorporate features that we have used and seen in the military. Of course you just can’t take what the military uses and throw hunting camo on it and say “it’s good”, not every military attribute will work for the hunting community. So, there has to be some modification along the way to come up with a good hybrid hunting/tactical garment.
One key component of military apparel is the fabric; the military uses very durable fabrics (though not light) they do stand up quite well, and are often “noisy” for the conscience bow hunter. The military fabrics are usually nylon or nylon hybrid due to the printing process for military camo. The hunting industry uses a more detailed printing process which provides a much greater detail in the hunting camo patterns. With this process you can’t print to nylon’s. Kryptek put a enormous amount of effort and consideration in fabric selection. We wanted to find a fabric that was just as durable as Nylon, yet had the properties of Polyester. Kryptek choose a “Spun Poly twill” fabric that is extremely durable, and weighs 233g/m2, resulting in a total pant weight of 26.3oz. Kryptek also chose to go with no stretch in the fabric because; we have worn pants both in the hunting world as well as the military that have too much stretch in the fabric. The problem with pants that have too much stretch is once the user starts to load the pockets up with kit, the pants start sagging which gets very annoying, especially on long treks…. The Alaios pants durable spun poly twill fabric makes it an ideal choice for the rugged country, especially if your hunting style is extremely active.
For the suspender wearer, this pant comes with suspender tabs.
Knee pad pockets accept the knee pads that come with the Alaios pant as well as Kryptek’s Extreme knee pads.
One thing about other knee pad pants out there is that there is no way of adjusting the knee pad pocket, so once you knee pad is in there it just flops around on some people. Kryptek has knee pad adjustment tabs that are built into the pant for snugging the knee pad up against the leg as necessary also mimizing the “roll” effect the knee pad has against the knee. For those that hunt with aftermarket Velcro attached knee pads will quickly appreciate the “no bind, no pinch” at the back of the knee.
A bonded laminate over the knee pad pockets provide extra abrasion resistance as well as waterproof protection.
This pant has features that are unique and have been proven in combat. It will meet or exceed the extreme hunters’ needs in terms of comfort, convenience and durability. Kryptek has created a durable and functional pant, that we are not only confident in, but also proud to put our name on!
The Meaning of Kryptek
We have received several e-mails asking “What does Kryptek Mean?”
Kryptek was derived from the words Kryptos and Technology. Kryptos is a Greek word for “hidden or secret”. The word Techno comes from the Greek word Techne meaning “Art, Craft, or Skill”. Therefore the meaning of Kryptek, as intended by the founders, is:
“The Art of being Hidden” – Hidden from the elements of Mother Nature. Protected.
“Secret Craft and Skills” – Superior field craft and skill sets shared by the elite
Welcome To Kryptek…
We are introducing a technical hunting clothing line that has Military tactical apparel attributes imbedded in it. Many of these features have come to fruition from years of combat in ultra extreme conditions and environments. We saw a need…and a window of opportunity… the hunting apparel industry was lacking a technical clothing line that was functional, durable, dependable, reliable and didn’t break the bank, so we formed Kryptek.
Butch and I have spent most of our adult life in the military, we completely understand the dilemma out there when it comes to technical clothing ($$$)… We wanted to offer a high end apparel line that wasn’t over charged, in fact we wanted to under charge it. At the end of the day, it is our desire that Kryptek be known for its performance and fair price.
We just want to build the best technical hunting apparel line in the market and make it affordable for the end user.
The purpose of this Blog is to get feedback from you. Your thoughts and ideas will be used to make the future Kryptek apparel lines. Help us build the best technical apparel line for the user.
First Encounter – An Alaskan Moose Hunt
The question has been asked how I came to be involved with Kryptek Outdoor Group. I pause long enough to reflect on an answer. I’m a guy who doesn’t make friends easily. My standards are high and I trust very few, to a flaw. But these guys are a different breed, guys who I want to hunt with.
It was a year ago, nearly to the day of this blog that I bumped in to Butch Whiting. But when I think about our year together, I’m drawn back to the field experience that bonded me to Butch and Josh Cleghorn as friends. I’d like to share a story of how good guys become great friends, focus on a common goal, and accomplish with high success. We refer to that moment as the “Kryptek Moose Hunt 2010.” But I’ll take you the long way around that story, to share how it all got started.
There was a guy, maybe 35 years old, sitting in the back row who was eyeing me like a company commander inspects his troops before a combat mission—Intense, curious, but sure!
Public comments ensued after the 2-hour presentation, while this guy scribbled notes on a pad. The satisfied crowd dismantled. But this guy, Butch, says nothing to me. He quietly dissolves with a notepad full of his thoughts.
A month later, at the Fairbanks Outdoors Show, he walks up to my booth and stops in front of one of my raft designs—the Levitator.
I recognize him immediately as the quiet spectator from the presentation.
He asked me how much military experience I had. Twelve years, sir, Army Infantry as a Combat Medic, I replied. How did you know?
He replied, “Your confidence.”
He glanced through my products and gravitated back to the large raft with the same inspection he offered a month prior—Intense, curious, but sure!
We talked about our military days, shared passion for the outdoors, discussed local politics, you know, small talk.
About 30 minutes into our conversation he whips out a solid black business card with a bright red Spartan helmet adorned with the words, Kryptek Outdoor Group.
He then said, “I have some ideas I’d like to discuss with you about how we could work together in the future.” Says, “I’ve been hearing your name around the hunting world and hoped to find out if the stories were true.”
Intrigued, I told him that I only do business with trusted friends. “Fair enough,” he snorted, “when do we start?”
A few laughs later, we exchanged contact info and parted ways. He finished with, “I’ll be in touch real soon.”
Two months go by and a package shows up in the mail. A plethora of camo just my size, with tags that read SAMPLE ONLY: Not For Sale. Inside the box was a note: “My partner and I would like you to wear this kit and test it out. Use it hard and put it up wet! Let us know what you think. Call if interested.”
Four months later I was sitting in a bushplane with this knuckle head and his wing man, Josh Cleghorn.
We were headed to an Interior Alaska stream now known as the “Daunting” River.
Some of closest friends were gathered on float hunts.
At this point I wanted nothing more than to permanently seal this first adventure with utter and complete success!
Butch Whiting tossed the perfect pitch my way, and the ball was levitating just inside my sweet spot. I was about to knock that bitch over the fence… if all I had to do was get us on 3 moose!
Three tags to fill with just 8 days in the field. Go!
We started out on a sweet stretch of river, serene and meandering through prime moose country.
Day 2 is actually the first legal day to hunt, and ours ended with a young bull in camp. I wanted a meat bull, so i got the first shot.
This pack out was a short one at best!
When the bull went down in the water, my partners were giving me shit for it, since we didn’t have a come-along or pulleys. Could have been bad, but as it was the field care process was much cleaner with a few inches of flowing water around us at all times.
These hardcore dudes worked so hard on my moose, they gave up and slept in every day…
The mornings were crisp and cold…just right for moose hunting.
So, while these guys rested, I did all the work.
1st moose loaded and we were back to calling on the drift and shadow lurching on high banks with vantage.
That Kryptek camo blends in great and has zero UV brighteners, so even when the sunlight hits you it looks naturally saweet!
These dorks actually made me choose which one was better looking in full dress.
Day 3 or 4 we were ready for more pain.
With Butch on the oars, Josh as lead navigator, and me on the moose calls…those bulls had no chance of escape.
The best tactic for us seemed to be a combination of an early morning float coupled with frequent bull grunts and cow calls on the drift.
This bull chased us downstream before it caught up enough for us to hear it, and then called it right to a nearby gravel bar.
pulled the raft to within 20 feet of this bull.
Butch harvested bull #2 from about 70-80 yards.
Meanwhile, I was busy testing the horizontal displacement of the Levitator….
I do believe that the backside of all Kryptek apparel was well tested on this float.
Both guys wore hip waders vs. chest or waste-high waders. They looked cool, but after day 1 both had wet feet until the end.
The clothing was fantastic. Butch wore the Kryptek base layer shirt and Alaios pants. This kit fits better on me than all other gear had, and has rugged material for tactical pursuits. Pockets everywhere and form fitted. Killer camo pattern, flawless material strength, low UV, quiet, the list goes on. Josh has spent a lot of time with quality control, and it shows.
…and the hats fit well!
Here Butch and Josh debated how to load the 2nd moose in to the Levitator.
And the TAG Bags are “simply the new standard” for game bags. We had 3 sets of six bags (18 game bags) with a total weight of 6 lbs.
Once we got the 2nd moose loaded on the Levitator, we were back on the water for an early morning float and call session.
Foggy that morning of day 5, but a few calls and a couple miles later is when Josh scored his opportunity.
The bull responded to calls on the drift and he took his shot at about 35-40 yards as we drifted past the bull.
We were all a bit perplexed how we’d get 3 moose into 1 raft with all 3 guys and gear!
We floated by a group ahead of us, and their eyes bulged out of sockets as we drifted ’round the corner with this load.
They hadn’t harvested a moose yet…but they said they heard all of our shots each day. That encounter probably didn’t bode well in their camp for a few days.
The next day or two is still a blur…
Still another blur is what we did after dark…
Or why I recall this when I dreamed at night…
They claim I ate ribs and bragged up my new Kryptek gear, but I don’t recall that either…
What I do distinctly remember is the extremely foul odors that woke me at night…
Good meat care, and lots of it…
And fond memories with a couple of great friends. Here’s to the next Kryptek Adventure!
Marco Polo Hunt – A Kryptek Memory
The Marco Polo sheep is a species available only to the elite sectors of the hunting population, those with more expendable cash flow than most annual salaries provide. Never before had I imagined myself being privy to such a wild and majestic pursuit; but as luck would have it, my longtime hunting partner asked me to join him on this round-the-world journey of a lifetime.
A quick stop at the range in Fairbanks, Alaska to sight in Mark’s rifle. Zeroed at 325 yards, temperature was -15F. Primed for the Tajikistan climate, which was expected to be between -20F and -30F.
But my personal training for this hunt began months prior. Kryptek provided some great apparel for the year’s adventures, and my goal was to ensure I paired adequate clothing with top physical health and endurance. Since this Marco Polo and Ibex hunt would take place at altitudes over 15,000 feet, I knew my physiology would suffer if I didn’t stretch my cardio and lung capacities.
I frequently skied at low temperatures for long distances, wearing the same clothing I would rely on while in Tajikistan. The first attributes I admired about the Kryptek apparel were the conveniently abundant pockets for storing snacks, camera, and chapstick. The protective coating on the knees of the Alaios Armor pants was highly effective as a waterproof and scuff-proof barrier.
I felt protected from the wind in the Koldo Blockade waterproof jacket. The hood was perfectly sized and maximized my peripheral view on the go. The zippered armpits also allowed ventilation to prevent overheating on the trail. After months of personal training, I was ready. The gear was expected to perform flawlessly.
Mark and I started this trip from Alaska, flying for two days through Seattle, WA to Amsterdam, Holland to Istanbul, Turkey to Dushambe, Tajikistan…Asia Minor as continents go. And then we traveled another 21 hours by truck across Tajikistan to a desolate locale most will never see. We were quickly and comfortably outside of our element.
Just getting there meant presenting passports, obtaining visas, and in some cases waiting out Haji to rise from his nap before being fleeced for more cash for even more visas. Exhausting and expensive just getting there!
The worst part was having to piss in shitholes like these once beyond Turkey. These bathrooms, and I use that term in the loosest sense, smelled like years of dribbling peckers peeing in the dark. The bucket you see there was filled half full of brown water soaking paper towels to “wash up” before or after your duty. We both passed on the opportunity. I believe the door literally rotted off the hinges, so it was stacked in the corner for inner décor’. The sewer drain emptied directly into the stream behind the restaurant. Nice touch!
The drive southeast bordered Afghanistan for a several hundred miles, with vistas like none I’ve ever experienced. From the Panj River to the Pamir peaks, all views simply incredible. Had to dodge a few Haji’s packing cord wood cross country to their shelters above treeline. Local Tajiks seems to prefer mules over yaks for this purpose.
Finally arrived, our base camp was nestled in a broad valley deep within the Pamir Mountains, along the borders of northern Afghanistan and southern China. The elevation at base camp was 12,500 ft., which by any health standards meant enduring nosebleeds, nausea and headaches for several days awaiting acclimation. My body was starting to reject the environment within minutes of arrival. The way I was feeling, base camp amenities meant nothing. I may have well been housed in one of these soviet bunkers overlooking the Afghan/China borders.
Each morning we donned our KRYPTEK attire and waited patiently for our stomachs to agree with the thin mountain air, which for me was a painful 3-day process.
Every few hundred yards we passed age-old wolf kills, token reminders that we were in the right area for hunting sheep.
Within a few hours, we had located a nice group of rams moving quickly up a gentle slope above 15,000 ft. Mark made his first harvest with two rounds fired from his .375, the first shot at 430 yards followed by a chest blow at 510 yards uphill! One target down, pictures tell the rest.
Even at 15,000 ft. Mark was able to muster a smile of enthusiasm, realizing his numero uno on the bucket list—a 57” Marco Polo. Its age was estimated at 9 years. Couldn’t help but feel uneasy with river crossings!
Headed out on Day 2 for an elusive goat, the Ibex.
Hiking to the Ibex meant lots of wheezing and slow climbing up extremely unforgiving terrain.
The guides seemed to slide uphill like billies, while Mark and I tried in vain to appear tougher than we were. The terrain too steep, our lungs too deprived of oxygen.
This hike to the heavens lent new expression to the term breath taking!
Five shots later, harvest #2 was on the ground. This 41” Ibex is considered a trophy by all Tajikistan standards. We’re told they don’t get much larger than this 10 y/o goat.
The hunting took less time than the travel to this foreign landscape. Unbelievable! All it seems to take is money, and a knowledgeable guide with good wheels and a spotting scope.
Game bags? We used T.A.G. Bags, of course. These game bags are ultra-light weight, reusable synthetic material. Five bags total weight: 20 oz. At this altitude, every ounce matters.
Backpack? Mystery Ranch Crewcab. The lid was handy, held plenty of snacks for quick energy, plus the pack works great for hauling heavy loads and awkward heads. The packing cells delivered efficiency, which allowed me to compartmentalize my clothing and other essentials. Sweet package and fits like a pack should for comfort and field performance.
As for clothing: I was comfortable in the Kryptek Alaios Armor pants over a micro fleece layer for added warmth to my lower extremities. For a top, I wore the Kryptek Cadog Shield jacket with a lightweight merino wool base layer.
The pants are my favorite garment, impressed with the articulated knees, numerous pockets, and the protective coating applied to the knees kept moisture out and prevented abrasion from the rocky and icy terrain. Sweet kit.
Mark wore numerous layers, but seemed to prefer the Kryptek Pridbor Defender parka on cold days during travel, driving around spotting game, but for off-road pursuits he sported the Kryptek Vidor Scout vest over a thick fleece top. He raved about the Koldo Blockade rain pants for cutting wind, and the Cardura butt guard came in handy when sliding around the rocky shale slopes of the Pamirs. Comfort and efficacy is priceless on hunts like this one!
In all, we spent five days in the field and harvested two fine trophies that we’ll fondly remember in old age.
We met some really nice peoples along the way, like these yak farmers who lived in yurts near the Afghan border. They didn’t seem to want for anything, albeit a primitive lifestyle. The children were healthy, despite having no known immunizations to stave off disease. The 3 y/o liked playing with the 12V battery in the back of the yurt. He’d pull on the wires and pluck off flakes of corrosion and offer it to us, as if we had Pica and craved the bitterness for a treat. Funny kid, some things are universally similar to Western behavior…curiosity, idol boredom, generosity.
They fed us well and shared all they had. We dined on fried bread, green tea, thick sweet milk from some animal (not cow), pourage, and warm, fresh, organic yogurt made from goat’s milk. Sour and straight up nasty!
They heated their home and cooked atop a stove fueled with yak dung…an excellent fuel source in treeless regions. They also harvested yak fur for insulating the walls and ceiling of the yurts. Efficient and wise survivors, these folks.
Everyone we met, including our guides, commented in broken English as best they could…we like suit, no noise, very nice and looks like our land. I think that meant, please give us the specs and how to order Kryptek!
There might be an untapped market for this gear in Tajikistan.
Thanks for the “Kryptek” memories, boyz, I’m already planning the next adventure!
-Larry Bartlett ‘Pristine Ventures’