Being a Special Forces Sniper, avid hunter and general outdoor enthusiast, I can really appreciate the benefits of a well-made piece of clothing. Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors knows that high quality equipment can be the difference between a successful hunt and miserable failure. Preparation is key when you are out deep in the wilderness and going inside to warm up and dry out just isn’t an option. I believe that it was this perspective that the designers at Kryptek had in mind when developing the Dalibor II system.
Initial impression: At first glance the overall quality of the garments is obvious. The feel of the 80% Polyester/20% Spandex fabric blend has a very nice feeling on the skin. The Kryptek Highlander pattern is just awesome and stands apart from the rest of the crowd as being unique in the ever increasing realm of camouflage patterns.
Price: The set comes in at a very reasonable $379.98 for both the jacket and pants. This price looks even better when you consider what competing companies are charging for a comparable system (Sitka at $679.99).
Fit: I am six foot three and weigh 225 pounds. I have a 34-inch waist and my legs are built to carry extra weight over distance. Finding clothing that fits properly can be a real challenge so when I tried on the jacket and pants I was pleasantly surprised. The fit and cut that Kryptek offers in the Dalibor II is outstanding and obviously intended to cater to humans with an athletic build. The pants offer plenty of room for large thighs and butts which is a necessity for a comfortable fit and freedom of movement. The large long pants’ waist fits great to match my 34-inch hips but I still needed a belt to prevent minor sagging due to the elastic nature of the fabric. The gusseted crotch and inseam cut is perfect for maximizing mobility, especially while wearing a pack. The Dalibor II jacket was an extra-large and I found the fit really nice. Most importantly, the sleeves are plenty long with enough room for a couple of layers but not too bulky where they interfere with the release of a bow string. The jacket has good room for a large chest but is nice and trim around the armpit and abdomen which helps maintain an overall slim profile.
Performance: Over the course of the last 7 months I used the Dalibor II system on two high altitude Colorado big game hunts during the fall and early winter as well as weeks of intensive military training during the German Rhineland winter. I have put some miles on this system and I found that layering the Dalibor II system while in cold weather conditions is more of a necessity than a recommendation. It performs great as the outer layer garment it was designed to be as long as you understand it’s inherent limitations. The DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treatment must be renewed every 2-3 washes to maintain water resistant qualities. I found that the garment has a tendency to “wet out” very quickly if not treated on a regular basis. Although this garment is not a substitute for rain gear, it does provide the water resistant properties needed to make a transition to rain gear in the event of a sudden downpour and still come out dry on the flip side. The zippers in the arm pit perform very well to allow the user to cool off when warm and moving but lack the ability to stop the wind. These armpit zippers are not the same design as the zippers on the exterior of the system (closed and water resistant) which allows a lot of air to flow even when closed. The set weighs in at 1450g or 3.4 lbs making it fairly bulky weight wise if you are looking to pack the set on your back versus wearing it as your primary outer layer. The insulating qualities of the Dalibor II system are pretty good and I really like the hood for its added warmth and precipitation protection. I found that with a merino wool base layer and a long sleeve tee on top I was able to stay warm in temperatures ranging from 35-45`F with low winds and a moderate level of activity. If there is a wind over 8mph or you will be static for a while, then all bets are off if you don’t layer adequately as the jacket gets drafty in the armpits.
Durability: I found the durability of the Dalibor II to be excellent but there were a few minor problems. Most of the original string pulls on the zippers have been broken or lost due to either falling off while moving through brush or snapped when being pulled to close a zipper. The other problem that I experienced was a result of the nature of the fabric blend used to make the Dalibor II. The Polyester and Spandex blend is very susceptible to damage from high heat and will melt fairly easily. Exercise an abundant amount of caution around hot rifle suppressors or open flames. The garment resists tearing very well while passing through thick vegetation with spines and thorns. I had no problems with any of the sewn seams coming apart or ripping. All the Velcro points have held up perfectly and still hold firmly without the need to retighten over the course of a long hike. The wrist elastic has begun to show some age and is beginning to “ball up” from constant friction with my wrists. Otherwise, the overall durability of the Dalibor II was excellent and normal “wear and tear” was very limited.
Summary: I was overall very happy with how the Dalibor II system performed and it will be a “go to” for me in the future. I would absolutely recommend it to a friend. The system does have its limitations but that is true of every piece of equipment that we as hunters and operators have at our disposal. It is incumbent on the user to know and understand the capabilities of what’s in their pack and plan appropriately. Here at SOF Review, we love our kit, our guns and our freedoms to enjoy our hobbies. When you find a company like Kryptek that is not only an innovator in camouflage but a friend to the men and women of our great Armed Forces, you have to take a minute to see what great products they have and who a cool bunch of guys they are. Plus, we are already a bunch of good looking guys, but Kryptek makes us look damn sexy.
If you want your own Kryptek gear, go to http://www.kryptekstore.com.
If you want to try out your own Kryptek Dalibor II, go to http://www.kryptekstore.com/Dalibor-II-Set-Highlander–P326C21.aspx.