My Multicam Marauders arrived yesterday afternoon, and I could barely contain my excitement. Despite the expense ($140 a set in quantity as part of a large custom order for my team) and the wait time required for hand-made custom gear, they met all of my expectations.
The custom Marauders differ slightly from the large-run standard Marauder 2s. Generally speaking, the custom M2s are more generously cut -- wider at the shoulder and body, longer at the sleeve and inseam, and bigger at the waist and neck. (The elastic gathers at the back of the pants actually provide a wider range of sizing on the custom version.) The arm pockets and Velcro have been deleted, but the pants pockets on the sides and back are all significantly larger.
Perhaps the coolest features on the new custom Multicam Marauders -- besides the sweet multi-environment camo pattern -- have to do with the materials used. The bulk of the material in both the top and pants is genuine Crye Multicam nylon-cotton twill, which has a soft hand, a near-perfect weight, and a genuine feeling of quality and durability compared to typical 65-35 poly-cottom BDU cloth. (I have personally always liked the fact that Special Ops chose to go with 100% cotton for the Marauders instead of poly-cotton, and while the Crye fabric probably won't wash up as soft as standard M2s, it will dry quickly and be more durable over time.) The elbows and knees of the custom Marauders are clad in wonderfully light 330-Denier urethane-coated Cordura nylon for abrasion-resistance. These patches are similar to those on the Fusion Ultralights, except lighter in weight and gusseted for better freedom of articulation and a more sculpted fit. The weight of the Cordura patches is practically the same as the twill (6-7 oz. per sq. yard), and they are not at all stiff, so they just feel like regular double-reinforced knees. (I actually slept in my new custom M2s the first night just to see how they felt, and they were extremely comfortable and easy to move in.)
The only other significant change in the custom pants from the large-run standard pants is in the leg bottoms. Mine were finished with a plain hem of just the right width, similar to the current Marine Corps MCCUUs, instead of tapes, buckles and webbing, or bungies as M2 pants have been finished variously in the past. I like this; it's a simple, elegant solution that works with boots or low shoes (like paintball cleats). The new pants are sufficiently generous in length that boot-wearers can blouse them easily with the standard elastics for tuck-in wear.
(There is, of course, a little more variability in these hand-made custom goods than in the large-run standard goods. That is to be expected, and nothing I noticed was particularly unsightly or problematic.)
In response to some special requests of mine, Chad made some simple extra modifications on my sets. First, he made sure to omit all black, except for the Special Ops logo tag on the hem of the shirt. Second, he included five belt loops rather than the three typical to standard M2s -- this was a big favor for me, as nothing bugs me mmore about the original pants than the skimpy belt loops! Problem solved!
Anyway, I love the new custom M2s, and my hat's off to Chad and his crew for providing me and my friends with such sweet specialized gear. I can't wait to play in them, and I'll have an update to this review following my first day in the field.
This post has been edited by Lil' C: 03 March 2007 - 02:01 AM