2012-11-25 Kitanica Mark-V Jacket w/ Pads Article -1

    About one month or so ago, a box arrived at the shop, it said "Kitanica" on the box. Instantly my team and I were excited cause we had heard of this company…and the great innovations surrounding their gear. Being the boss of this rag-tag bunch of crazies, I opened it. Inside was one of the most interesting and different looking jackets I have seen to date….the Kitanica Mark-V Jacket with Elbow Pads.
Sometimes we dive right into the article and gear, but sometimes we choose to delve deeper into the company behind the work when the story is as interesting as this one…in this case its Kitanica. According the their website, Kitanica was founded by Beej and Chris Cronin in NY in 1995 and later moved to San Fran in 1997. With the company name being derived from the word 'Chitin' (which is a structural component in Insect Exoskeletons, pronounced 'Kai-tin'), is it any wonder this gear is as tough as it looks…and then some?
    So time goes on as it always does, and Beej and his brother shelved Kitanica due to personal reasons and other demands on their time. However, clothing design and innovation was still a hobby level activity Beej kept his skills sharp in. As fate would have it, Beej had no idea that one of their customers, DSC TV Star "Adam Savage" From "Mythbusters" had purchased one of their heavy duty MARK IV Jackets and was actually wearing it on the show (Its OD Green, I have seen it too and always wondered where it came from). All of this being unknown to Beej, many requests and inquiries were shooting around online as to where Mr. Savage had acquired such a jacket and if they were still being made. In 2007, Beej's childhood friend informed him of the score of inquiries about Adams jacket and what company made it. So with the interest in Kitanica Products ignited, Beej, his brother Chris, and their cousin Len are again producing their own brand of high quality, heavy duty gear.

If you want to know more or have any questions, please refer to their website at:
http://www.kitanica.net/
or at:
Kitanica
P.O. Box 99095
Emeryville, CA. 94662
Phone #: 510-893-3014
email: chris@kitanica.net

Below is a picture with all specs and features of the Kitanica MARK V Jacket with Elbow Pads...next up is the review.




And now…to the fun part…the Kitanica MARK-V Jacket. Let me say to start with, its a BEAST! The fabric can clearly take plenty of abuse, however we did not get to test it that heavily. The features of this jacket are so many, that it is better that we just post a pic and info from the site (^The Above pics^) and show what we were able to learn from the jacket as well.





First up…our "1st Impressions": Large, rough materials, multiple pockets, pockets pockets everywhere, velcro panels for unit ID and such, decent fit, no stretch or "give" anywhere that I could feel, generous waist length and sleeve length, black color is solid and consistent, stitching is high quality and well done, padding is nice and well done, padding is not to big but not too small, large rear pocket for storage or what I see as an "empty mag dump pouch", hood is of generous size, hood is detachable and storeable, high quality drawstring waist…and much more.


As far as things we would change/adjust: The material used is rough, and might be too rough for some people, not many, but some. Of course its made to be a tough jacket so this is expected. The inner material is rough as well, but not so much as the outer. The hood is not as well cut as I would like. It doesn't lay flat on the top of my head when the hood is up, the "brim" part of the hood above where your forehead is, may not help protect you from rain because the hood doesn't stay down. The bottom part of the hood Velcro's and has drawstrings to tighten up the fit somewhat, and the "face/neck cover" part of the hood fits decently, however when deployed, the hood stands straight up. Not a huge issue because the hood is removable, but a different cut might alleviate this issue, especially being that the hoods are removable. They could have different types of hoods made from other materials for different types of environments, and frankly I have a big ass head so it might be just me that it doesn't fit right. Hoods are a HUGE deal to me personally though, because I hate water down my neck when on any sort of maneuver. If I was to design a hood for any sort of clothing, I would design it around the perimeters I need. I prefer my forehead to be covered as well as my entire neck and sides of my face. I prefer the hood to hang straight down off my head and kinda bunch up a bit at or around the bottom of the collar. I will say though, some hood is better than NO Hood. Without a hood on a jacket, to me, it isnt much of jacket.



Ok, next up we have the fit of the jacket while worn. Quite nice I say. When I stretch out my arms, the sleeves don't ride up to my forearms, which is nice. When I reach up, the bottom of the jacket does ride up to my waist line, but that's supposed to happen…and the drawstring waist can and does help prevent this if its a problem for you.



Then we have the way the jacket fits with a rifle in hand or being used. The jacket works great here too, tough, strong, and thick enough to actually absorb a bit of recoil believe it or not. No matter if you're left or right handed, with this jacket on, the rifle deploys and sticks to your shoulder like it was made just for you. However, you have to be careful of the MOLLE Panels on the right shoulder if you fire right-handed... If you have any pockets attached, you dont want the stock to crash into or deflect off of them.



Which brings me to my next part…the MOLLE Panels and strapping. Very VERY cool innovation on the part of Kitanica. In the pics you can see a knife sheath and a small Gray pocket attached to demo the usefulness and versatility of the MOLLE System on this jacket. The only limit is the size of what you want to attach. I have personally attached 4 different pockets, 7 different knives, fixed blades and folders, and a few flashlight systems. Its a great idea with a damn good amount of thought behind it…smart move Kitanica Team.





In closing I would say this jacket gets a very high score from me and the members of my team that got to wear it for a few hours. I didn't get a chance to test it heavier, and they didn't have long enough to really try it out for themselves or on their various jobs, but from the data we did compile, this is a very nice and extremely well made piece of tactical clothing. Made in the USA, and plenty of pockets to store just about any manner of EDC Items you normally would in your pants and then some. Would I recommend this jacket to my close friends? I can honestly say: Yes.




Keep up the great work Kitanica, and we look forward to hearing more from you, testing more of your gear, and seeing the next innovations your team kicks out.

If you would like to purchase a Kitanica MARK-V Jacket for yourself or your team, email the Kitanica team at: chris@kitanica.net  <--Chris Cronin
or visit their website at:
http://www.kitanica.net/
or go directly to the MARK-V Jacket at:
http://www.kitanica.net/mark_v/

A Special THANK YOU goes out to Chris Cronin and Len R. for your kindness and generosity. God bless.

-Chief out.
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