Posts Tagged ‘Combat Hiker’

Well, mine sit unworn in a closet somewhere. But the majority of the soldiers just threw them in the trash. Throwing them in the trash = giving them to the trash guys. At least someone gets some use out of them. Image

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Here it is. The much anticipated “downrange review” of the Danner Combat Hiker. The overall consensus is in: These boots suck. I will caveat this by saying that Im no Tora Bora mountain climbing SF dude who is wearing these things in the middle of winter. But unlike many reading this, Ive actually worn these boots for several weeks- both in garrison and in Afghanistan.

So a little background…We were all required to wear them post RFI for several weeks back in garrison. That means I wore them every day in the new multicam duds. I wore them on a short 6 mile ruck march and I wore them on the flights over here and I wore them in Kyrgyzstan. I gave them all the benefits of the doubt. My initial thoughts when putting them on were that they were stiff and heavy, but relatively comfortable and not too hot.  Then on the trip over here people started complaining. It seemed like EVERYONE was complaining about them. Peoples feet were aching. The lacing system became a nightmare – they wouldnt get tight, they came undone, the laces wouldnt stay tucked in. As soon as our flights took off – off came everyones boots. Mine included. Originally I thought these boots might just turn out awesome. I was wrong.

So once we got here to Afghanistan the CSM authorized us to wear our old tan boots. Why? I have no idea. But as soon as that was put out the combat hikers disappeared. A few people are still wearing them but the one individual I talked to said the only reason she is still wearing them is because she didnt bring her tan ones. So the army spent $310 per pair and bought two pair per soldier in my brigade. Thats $310 x 2= $620 per soldier. $620 x 3,500 soldiers = $2,170,000 of boots just for my brigade!!!

So it is officially released and public knowledge – my unit is getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. For those who haven’t heard, they have changed the camouflage pattern for Operation Enduring Freedom from the digital gravel-esque ACU pattern to the new super-sexy Multicam! Since this pattern is new and only for use in theater, we all had to get issued brand new everything. I’m talking everything – new uniforms, new equipment, new camelbacks, new rucks, boots, etc. Its a lot of stuff.

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The process of getting all this wonderfulness to the soldiers is called RFI – Rapid Fielding Initiative. They basically fill a warehouse with all of the required gear and the soldiers spend the better part of a day going through stations in which we try on and are issued said piece of equipment. It was really exciting – like Christmas morning exciting.

All this new gear appears to be really high quality. Phenomenally expensive however. I asked one of the civilians who seemed to be in charge of the RFI process how much all this cost? His answer: Between $10 and $13,000 per soldier. The new boots – which are just Danner hiking boots – retail for over $300 a pair. They are surprisingly comfortable and breathable. I wore them around for an hour the other day here in Hawaii and was quite impressed.

It blows my mind how much money the Army has just for gear. They spare no expense when it comes to taking care of soldiers. I would say about 1/3 of this stuff I will never use. The boots are awesome, but do I really need two pair? Especially since the old boots are rumored to be authorized for wear in the Multicam uniform as well. How about the $800 dollar Level 7 Parka top? This is for -40 degrees! I don’t even think it gets this cold in the region of Afghanistan we are going to. But better to have and not need than need and not have, I suppose.