I'm glad I bought it, but it is NOT meant for high-temperature use. I'll rate it on two basic factors, and then go into some detail.
Concealment - 9/10
Seasons for use- Spring & Fall
There are bonuses and drawbacks to the AG Hood. It's easy to put together, but having assembled it twice now (first time I went crazy with the AG material) there are a couple of things to watch out for.
First off, the bottom-front of the hood velcroes across itself, forming a double-layer of mesh. The first time, I put AG on both layers...a small bit on the underside, and quite a bit more on the outer layer. Sure, it looked Bad-arse, but ended up more of a Bad idea!
My first time wearing it in the field, I didn't even make it to the initial starting point before I had a Spaceballs "Dark Helmet" moment...gasping for breath and exclaiming "How do you BREATHE in this thing?"
I abandoned my hood and left it with the ref for the day and just played without it.
As soon as I got home, I clipped off all the AG from both layers of the velcro flaps, rolled up the underside flap, and zip-tied it right up against the velcro strip.
Here's the side that faces the mask. Note the fabric mesh has been rolled up and zip tied in place.
Left is the inside of the outer flap. Right is the inner flap.
Here's what it looks like from inside the hood.
This let me only have a single flap to cover the mask's mouth portion. I didn't go quite as overboard on the AG on the outer portion of the flap this time and the results helped tremendously. When you're no longer trying to use your camelbak's straw as an emergency source of air (there's oxygen in that water on the molecular level, right?), it is a good thing.
Next was to eradicate my massive over-application of AG to the top and rear of the hood. I removed all of the AG material and re-applied it more sparingly. In hindsight, I created the exact same effect, but with a mere 1/3 of my initial Ghillie application going back on for the second time around. Spec Ops supplies way more ghillie material than you can effectively use. Naturally, the initial reaction is to pile it on good and thick. I found out the hard way this isn't the wisest idea. Heat can't escape with all that ghillie material in the way. Even with my less-dense version of the hood, I still find it stiflingly hot for good 'ole Tennessee summers. This fall though, I will reap the benefits of the hood in full when the temperature cools off a bit.
I cannot stress this enough...humidity and temperature will affect whether or not you should even wear the thing. The density of the AG greatly affects how much insulation your head gets. If you've played in hot, humid weather, you know that it doesn't take much for you to start breathing hard and fogging up your mask. It's even worse with the AG hood on.
Yes, it is extremely lightweight. It does its job of concealment in an excellent fashion. But just like every other piece of headgear out there...it has a great impact on your overall performance. It covers your mouth with another layer, making breathing more difficult. It covers your head in another layer, making it harder to stay cool where it's most important.
My suggestion would be to not go all-out and try to use every scrap of AG they provide in the kit. It's just too much for playing in hot, humid weather. Your head needs to breathe, so keep the AG application as light as you can. Use the rest for creative projects like homemade ghillie pieces for your hopper, barrel, etc. (see my A-5 "Mitzi" and her new ghillie outfit below)
Hyperventilation and Heat Stroke are two very real possibilities whenever you are putting another layer of potential insulation over your head. Not just the AG Hood...this applies to ANYTHING. On a hot summer day, do yourself a favor and leave this guy at home. It's great to have the concealment factor, but if you pass out from a heat stroke with it on there's a chance nobody'll be able to find you!
You don't have to look like a Wookie with a perm for the concealment & breakup factor to work...so keep it as light as you can around the top and rear of your head...a bit more on the front sides won't hurt though. As long as you evaluate the climate, this hood is a great find.
This post has been edited by Prophaniti: 10 July 2007 - 02:43 PM