MDT: Building Your Own Survival Smock

Start here.

Then go here.

Your variations in comments, please.

70 responses to “MDT: Building Your Own Survival Smock

  1. interesting, although I do prefer Joe Nobody’s approach for different reasons. It is outlined in his book “The TEOTWAWKI Tuxedo”.

    • 1st rule of camouflage is to blend in.
      Wear clothes that blend in with the general population. Don’t look like some crazed prepper militia dude. People will know to follow you home to your food and gun stash.
      Just sayin.

      • Camouflage depends on if you are in a town or in the bush… different locals different camouflage.

        Grey Ghost

    • Yeah, but you had to pay for his opinion on what works…….didn’t you? This was free.

  2. The Walkin' Dude

    Has anyone ID’d the coproach that ventilated the unarmed guy in his doorway in Kansas yet?

    • cops are like niggers.

      they are all brothers.

      just pick one and go at it.

      no great loss to society.

      • I have a few friends that are cops.

        They don’t hang out with cops.

        And all they do is bitch about Lawyers, MSM Reporters, and Politicians.

        We load our own ammo and clean weapons regularly.

        We even built a few other things bordering along 10 year mandatory Felony to 25 year minimum.

        Lighten Up Dickhead. Most of us are under 30 and just found out about all this a few years ago.

        • technodroid

          Then the first thing you should do is find better quality friends and stfu to the pigs.
          When it comes down to you or their “brothers”, you lose since they’ve chosen to support the empire by pinning that faggot badge daily and making excuses. All cops are bad cops as repeated here numerous times.

          All pigs are the enemy, get that through your fucking head and decide whose side you’re on, team liberty or team welfare oppressor swine.

          In a war you dont drink with the enemy mister traitor with an excuse. Time to grow the fuck up or your stupidity is going to get some liberty minded individuals imprisoned or killed. This isnt a game kid.

          • Hey dude. We live in Baltimore and were born into this.

            I didn’t know the Military was corrupt when I joined and my buddy didnt know the police were so fucked up when he joined.

            It’s a big world. Try to relax.

          • If his stupidity just wins himself or his friends or both ri-ejakashun or being employed to fertilize daisies at government expense, then it serves them right. After all, they are stoopid enuf to live in B’more.

  3. Are the embroidered patches and badges necessary?

    • Depends, If the wearer has earned them then it’s optional but if it’s just for show it’s probably unwise. Personally I prefer a total greyman approach

    • Yes. Morale is very important.

    • Sure…. They increase the bullet resistance by a factor of 4 LOL. Dumbass questions are why people like you are doomed. “Forrest”….”Trees”…..

      • Just back from the long range and I find this, my friend that theirs some funny shit. I appreciate your sense of humor JD.

        God Bless.

    • He earned the badges 1 the fun way the other from a two way shooting match. The patches are his call but the badges should be worn. The purpose of the badges and tabs besides looking cool and personal recognition also serve as a quick recognition leaders can use when making split second decisions you know the character and skills of a man by just a glance a great thing we borrowed from the WWII Wehrmacht.

      • He should also wear his combat patch on the right shoulder another earned privilege

        • I can just hear the howling if I did that. Someone got butthurt about the CIB and Jump Wings being on that smock before (the first time this post was put up), and asked the point of it. I advised those pics were taken right after a tactical class where the shoulder patch on the left sleeve can be earned. The point of displaying the CIB and jump wings stems back to showing 1. What I’m teaching you I’ve done for real, and 2. I’ve gone beyond the minimum (something I stress in training) when it comes to my training and units I’ve served with. I don’t wear my combat patch or rank because the CP is somewhat redundant and I am no longer a Staff Sergeant. All those patches are velcro and come off when not in a class if I’m wearing it on the srreet. Guess I need to stop wearing my BRCC patch too, huh? LOL

    • Considering the level of horseshit oft expressed here, I say Yes.

      A person might check into customizing a smock with a patch that fits: that of the Son Tay raiders. When the aircrafted landed on return and those people were confined while a good story could be put out back in DC, somebody went outside the wire to a tailor shop, to have a patch made that will live forever.

      KITD/FOHS. Works for me. Most everything a person comes across these days which is not of his own making, is blatant horseshit.

  4. If you are looking for the Flecktarn (my personal fav) version of this and dont want to order from Europe. Hessian Antique is based here in Atlanta. Vet owned business and they do a good job with orders and customer service

    Poke around on their site and you will see some other versions of the same garment. Defiantly more expensive as they are made by different companies than Mil-Tec.

    • My Flectarn version is my regular hunting smock. Great pattern.

      • NightBreaker

        Those boots you recommended last year, Wellco N-1B Air Force Snow/Extreme Cold Weather Mukluks Boots, last year were a life saver these last few days , your gear is very well thought out and practical .
        you can do a lot with that Kit in your smock. Most people don’t realize how heavy that “bug out bag” that they envision is going to be even with PT! there is no better way to learn than to read blogs like this and get out there to test your kit before you really need it . Mission dictates the gear (THE RIGHT GEAR) . I have a Vertex Combat Smock and a Dropzone tactical one also (now Defunct company) they work well for outdoor adventuring with a very similar Practical survival kit to JC’s . Solkoa makes a summa container that works very well to contain a small survival kit . I also Recommend the Center Line Systems canteen carrier , check out his web site he has a lot of unique stuff all made by a US Special Forces Veteran. Pricey but you get what you pay for.
        In all Learn from people like JC and evaluate it for your own use . don’t skip on survival gear, quality beats quantity my Randal model 18 never leaves my belt when in the field, learn from others mistakes it’s less painful that way.
        Never in the time of Human history has this much information been available to everyone and gear selection has never been better.
        Observe , Evaluate , Prevail.

    • +1. Also check out A Finnish company with shipping a flat $10, all types of European surplus although pass on the US surplus cause it’s more expensive kinda the opposite of our surplus situation.

      • I bought an actual British surplus smock, and the zipper is on the opposite side from American male. Not a huge deal, I can learn a new habit, but it was a surprise.

  5. Does it help shield wearer from thermal imaging? That would be a great bonus feature.

    • Nothing shields you from Thermal Imagining except placing a barrier between you and the optical sight. If the barrier is up against you(Or too close to you) it will show heat.

      For instance. A plate of glass(like a window) can block a thermal image, or a bunch of leaves.

      There is nothing you can wear that will not highlight you on screen.

      The only times you see people hiding effectively is when the Temperature is 85-100 degrees.

      Outside of that temperature range, you stick out like a glow stick in a dark room.

      In Iraq and Afganistan the Insurgents would suspend irregularly shaped tents about a foot or more above themselves to conceal their image.

  6. My “Survival Smock” AKA the Field Jacket.

    I just use a regular US Army BDU Field Jack that cost me about 25 bucks at a surplus store. It was practically brand new, but had no liner jacket.

    There are really only few things you need in a survival smock.

    -A quality hood

    -Camo, or neutral color (Unless used for Search and Rescue purposes)

    -Lots of deep, double stitched pockets, with big buttons (avoid Zippers and Velcro in snowy areas) AND it must have TWO INTERNAL BREAST POCKETS that can hold a standard US MIL 2 quart canteen each. This is so you can put you canteens or MRE’s inside your jacket to prevent them from freezing.


    Unless you like wearing Boot Icicles? FYI Frozen Boots do not thaw out. They will 9/10 times be frozen solid for most of the day. You can put your dirty, wet boots in that second “wet weather bag” you packed. Trust Me.

    – It must be long enough to cover your belt-line when your arms are extended far over your head. Hanging from a chin-up bar will let you know if something would make a good smock. This prevents the cold wind from breaking your clothing seal, and prevents dirt getting up your shirt and down your pants.

    -Water Resistance. When I march, or camp, I just let it just rain on me, but do note that I did empty the better half of some water repellent spray on my field gear and jacket. I am long past caring about what level of wet I am (As long as I am not completely soaked to the bone and the temp is near freezing)

    Within a few hours of most rains, I will be dry again if I am moving around and sure enough, I will probably get rained on again. There is very little you can do to prevent yourself and all of your gear from getting wet. The real trick is to prevent yourself and your gear from getting completely soaked. In fact, I prefer it to be 10-15 below freezing. Rather than 10-15 above freezing. Anyone who has spent time in the field knows this as a basic fact.

    15 degrees with a hard, steady wind is way more comfortable than 40 degrees soaking wet. If you have the right gear with you.

    Typically, I carry two woobies in the field and I ditched the field jacket(useful, but I got tired of taking it off constantly) years ago. In a Military Field Training Exercise, You would get yelled at for bundling up in a Woobie. In war, that field jacket is a POS that needs to be removed every time you move, which means all your other gear needs to come off(Helmet, vest, weapon…)

    The wobble is square, useful, non-binding, and durable. The jacket liner is just a jacket liner. Can you camouflage yourself and your gear with a jacket liner while staying warm and cutting the wind? No.

    Can you sew two field jacket liners together? Yes. But only people in Ranger School do that because you have to have US Mil Gear.

    You can sew two woobies together if you live in Montana.

    Just my two cents.

    That old school Army Blankie is wonderfully comfortable and the type of material used in its construction prevents needles and leaves from sticking to it. A fleece liner attracts dust and dirt in my experience. You can drape the blankie over your neck(like a scarf) and then zip up your field jacket around it. I personally prefer this method because it can be 15 degrees (like right now, go test this out) With the liner, the Field Jacket gets way too hot sometimes and the liner is only useful as a liner by day or a gross pillow at night. Other than that it just takes up space IMHO. You can also stuff the other woobie down your pants when you stop to move. You need to open your pants to do this, however, if you were moving out with a purpose you should be be a little sweaty. Opening up your pants and venting a little heat and some moisture isn’t gonna hurt you unless its -50 and you are soaking wet. You would also only do this if you were stopping for an extended period. This keeps your ass warm and off the cold hard ground, but your woobie off the dirt and snow(Extending its cleanliness) The Pant’s Woobie and Neck/Body Woobie can be quietly and quickly removed without taking off a single item of equipment and striping the camouflage clothing off your body.

    I recommend loose fitting, quality underwear(Boxers or larger briefs) in the winter, It makes peeing in cold weather easier and it keeps your woobie and pants sanitary (One Man’s Factual Opinion)

    ****I do recommend long sleeve clothing under your Field Jacket or Smock**** but you can easily use one of your other field tops(or Long Sleeve Shirts) as an added layer (Remember that Plate Carriers, or vests, are pretty warm and protects your core temp pretty well)

    *****I do not keep any gear or equipment in my field jacket*****
    -This includes ear muff, hats, gaiters… You name it. It’s on your body, or it gets stowed in your pack.

    It is uncomfortable on long movements, will probably get lost, pockets get tore off, and you know there is room in your pack somewhere. Also, your sweat will freeze to or destroy what is in there. Smokes, Matches, hats, gloves, food will all be wrecked.

    **** The Civilian Equivalent to a Field Jacket is the Peacoat***

    I keep a peacoat, watch cap, and gloves in my Car at all times during the winter. The Peacoat is a Wonderful jacket and will continue to be fashionable in the year 3,000 AD.

    • You have to get the liner! Great piece of kit, back in the day in garrison when no self respecting paratrooper would wear cold weather gear and winter bdus during the duty day, the field jacket liner was amazing and when it reached those extra cold days just add silks/polypro, while still wearing a starched summer uniform, and extra thick thorlos for your green jungle boots(point of pride in sniper section, CO authorized but lots of looks from 1sgs and smages

      • The doubled up Ranger Liner is a good idea. I get Tired of taking my kit on and off 10 times day.

        I do enjoy the new Waffle Gear and Ninja Silks.

      • When I was in the 82nd, we were only allowed to use gloves, gaiters, and hats.

        No Wet Weather Gear, No Silks, No Waffles, No Liners.

        I fucking hated my life for 4 months a year, but to be fair it’s only “cold” for the first three days if you stay outdoors.

        I used to sleep on the ground like an animal, cupping my balls for warmth and shivering for days.

    • Thank you for the info.

    • So, you skipped the articles entirely?

      The point was the smock is merely a sub for a bag or pouch, in that he’s stuffed the pockets with redundant redundancies of items to obtain or provide shelter, fire, water, food, etc.

      You’re probably one of those guys who thinks firefighters’ turnout coats are just coats too, huh?

      In short, MDT has created an aircrew survival vest with hood and sleeves, and the contents are the point, not so much the garment per se.

      Pretty sure there’s a reason the host here links the source articles.
      Just saying.

      • Hey Aesop, I don’t like having my pockets full of crap and who walks around with a big ass spare jacket everywhere?

        I do bring my backpack everywhere.

        It also clearly said to share my ideas in the comment section.

        I don’t need another piece of gear when I already have my perfectly useful Army kit.

        • Actually, you were invited to share your variations on the approach, but that assumes you read the original post and knew the difference.

          And self-evidently, MDT walks around with a big ass spare jacket everywhere, which was the point.

          Until I blogged, I never understood teachers who quit because of the kids who ate the crayons and paste.

  7. I Like. All purpose, lightweight.

  8. SemperFi, 0321

    Good writeup.
    I have Brit issue DPM, desert DPM and MTP smocks, a US M65 field jacket liner works great, sewed in buttons and it works just like our old ones. The desert DPM smock was long enough that a US fishtail parka liner fits in without trimming the bottom off.
    I tried carrying survival gear in my pockets, but over the yrs kept leaving more and more of it home or in my pack, just got tired of the bulky heavy pockets. I now carry gloves, balaclava and firestarter kit.
    My basic firestarter kit I carry in all my coats and packs is a MRE zip lock baggie (hot beverage bag) with a double Esbit heat tablet pkg, a pkg of MRE matches, a disposable lighter and a roll or 2 of MRE toilet paper. Seal, fold flat, wrap with rubber band, put in jacket pocket. About a 3″x4″x1″ pack. Probably have over a dozen floating around, even hand them out to un-equipped friends.
    I keep the magnesium survival firestarter in the lids of my packs with a P-38 can opener on the chain.
    When the time comes to really need this, the pockets will be refilled as necessary, these smocks truly are an incredible piece of kit.
    But also remember, the original smock was the Knochensack, the Fallschirmjager “bone bag”. The Brits just improved it over the next 50 yrs. And the US somehow lost its way, since the M1943 and M65 field jackets, the US hasn’t produced one single decent jacket. I’d rather wear a Brit or Bundeswehr smock/field jacket.

    • Feel you. It gets old having stuff in your pockets chaffing your sides. It’s also uncomfortable if you go prone.

      I couldn’t imagine wrestling someone with all that stuff in your pockets.

  9. St.Maur1066

    Is it drone proof?

  10. It is soooo cold where The Island Warlord reigns that if he were to deign to visit us inbred surrenos he would become overheated and have to wear only his survival banana hammock, and we would all catch a tan from his radiance

    End bullshit. I have several of the Swiss parkas and this makes me wonder if I should try and wax them. I’ve read about doing that with a hairdryer to melt it in deep to the fibers. It would be heavier because of the fabric, but a hell of a lot cheaper, too.

    • Clear Coat Primer Spray for gear, or Silicon Spray.

      But I am not sure if it will increase your IR signature.

      It works just fine. Waxed gear works great for pack animal equipment. But Ill be honest with you, it’s probably not every comfortable.

      My uncle’s waxed gear must be 50 years old and works fine.

    • you’re all full of shit unless you actually were out today in -10 weather with full gear, snowshoes, and firing at targets with a PDW- like i was…

      my money says none of you were.

    • Works on leather boots, and yes, you apply it, then use a blow drier to soak it into the leather.

      No reason that wouldn’t work on poly-cotton to make it water-resistant, but the technical term for wax-impregnated fabric is “wick”, as in candle type.

      Probably not what you wanted.

      3M Scotch Guard gets one the same water-resistant goodness, but also with exactly the same flammability drawback.

      Rainproof layered over wool, polypro, and silk is probably a better workaround.

      Build a man a fire, and you keep him warm for a night.
      Set a man afire, and you keep him warm for the rest of his life.
      ” – Terry Pratchett

  11. If you get wet anywhere east of the Mississippi river you will STAY wet until you can get indoors next to a stove and dry out. WOOL , WOOl, and windproof cotton over that. Rubber overshoes in temperate zones (fall/spring) Vapor barrier boots in the cold. Rain gear does more than keep off the rain. It breaks the wind. WIND WILL KILL YOU. Being wet and cold is a double wammy. Once you get cold and wet, warming up without a fire is all but imposable. “Dress for your environment”. What works in Kentucky will kill you in up state New York or New Mexico. Just because you read it on a websight does not make it true. MANY commenters are stupid . Full of shit. or agents of the government spreading disinformation. Common sense is your friend. Nature is dangerous. Your caveman ancestors knew that. If you want to know what will keep you alive in SHTF or TEOTWAWKI. PUT ON YOUR GEAR. GO OUTSIDE. IN BAD WEATHER. USE YOUR GEAR. If it works BUY MORE. If it don’t. BUY NEW GEAR. Rinse and repeat as needed. Just remember that gear that works REALLY well in upper Buttfuckastan may be useless to a guy in central Mississippi. Use what works for you. “testing proves that testing works” So if you got gear that fails at home , you can change, instead of freeze to death.

    • Got rained on in the Rockies, Dry twenty minutes later.

      Get rained on in Maryland… and you get rained on again two hours later.

    • Don’t be a total idiot, there are still loggers, foresters and surveyors that run the bush.

      Winter is the only time swamps can get cut, ask them what they wear, and you have a good idea of what works for high-activity wear.

      In the UP, it’s insulated Carhartt’s, pack boots, layers of silk/wool, and whatever is cheap and works.

      If you don’t want all the pockets filled on your jacket, a cruising vest has all the pockets you need, and can be worn under something big, luke a Gore-tex smock.

    • Wool is indeed magic stuff. Not to many storms up here that won’t get you wet damn quick. Oh and the edges of your boots you forgot to sno seal? They’ll be wet in an hour. When snow’s above your knees it’s guaranteed. Bumfuck town thrift shops, estate sales yard sales often feature quality wool at everyman prices. Real wool is now expensive as fuck(thank you feral reserve bunk) but worth it (see Filson which is overpriced but great shit). A 3 years ago I snow shoed up one of the Greens with a light pack (20) during single digit fun time in a pair of Filson wool pants. Then the wind started, then it started dumping half way up. I’d have been dead in most other gear.

      Appreciate everyone’s posts, esp the author of the original. As a movement we need a lot less dick measuring and more sharing of what works.

  12. I stopped using Army surplus in high school. If I had used any of this gear on back country climbing and mountaineering trips I’d have been dead 30 years ago. Moisture management is key and cotton or cotton blends absolutely suck. Merino wool, poly pro or polyester, breathable laminates with venting features, and a pack you can turn into a foot sack up to your waist are life savers. The weight you save on modern gear lets you carry more stove and people fuel to stay warm. Vagabonds who spend dozens of nights out hundreds of miles from a road wouldn’t be caught dead in surplus schlock.

    • SemperFi, 0321

      But most backpacking gear comes in horrendous colors, most of my stuff is all neon green (can be toned down with spray paint, vs bright purple, orange or yellow, etc)
      Lots of the new hunting gear is ultra light and camo, but with most of this gear, prices are so outrageous that you can’t bring yourself to buy it. ( Last yr I spent $590 on a Western Mountaineering 15′ down bag, and $410 for a Big Agnes 2P tent, very hard on a retired guy of low income, but I’m tired of cheap shit gear and too old to suffer like a 20 yr old Recon Marine)
      So surplus is still the most viable option for most folks, since they’re not headed out for a 10 day trip on the CD trail with a 30 lb pack.

      • SemperFi, 0321

        I spent those big hard earned bucks because my sleeping bag weighs 2 lbs 0 oz, my tent is 3 lbs 3 oz. Down parka weighs 1 lb.
        The zippers on the tent are so delicate it’s like peeling a model out of fine lingerie, a field Marine would destroy them in a day. This was all for lightweight backpacking at high altitude.
        I’ve got a ton of surplus gear, from my old intermediate sleeping bag to lighter Italian ones, and the 3 pc MOLLE setup which is far to heavy for me to backpack anywhere! And rucksacks out the wazoo.
        Everything has a purpose and you pay for it related to materials and weight.

      • The most recent marine corps ruck is by acertex I know I fucked up the spelling but they are a well known civilian company and the surplus one I got from for $50 surpasses my german flecktarn ruck in almost every way granted the bundeswehr ruck is from the 90s but if I could get the usmc ruck in flecktarn instead of Marpat woodland I’d be all over it

    • Moisture management and getting rid of cotton is always a good idea.

      Military gear works well at what it’s intended for.
      99% of the civvy high-tech/low-drag ultralight shit would have been shredded to bits in one field ex to Ft. Bragg inside two weeks. Ask me how I know.

      Gear made for civvy hiking and climbing above 3Km altitude isn’t made to crawl in, dig in, maintain gear, operate heavy machinery, or ruck hard over shit terrain and heavy brush in, in most cases.

      As an extra negative bonus, most of the time they only sell it in faggoty day-glo bright colors that stick out like a costumed chorus girl in church.

      You gets what you pays for.

      The .Mil pays lowest bidder, and Hobo Joe takes whatever comes free, and likes it.

      If you’ve got $3K for a 2oz jacket that’ll keep you marginally warmer than a $100 surplus coat and liner and a $5 wool watch cap, and not much drier than a $30 poncho, go ahead on, it’s your money. Good luck fixing it when it rips, and I hope the ground cover is black & red, lemon yellow, or lime green where you’re going, instead of OD, brown, grey, or tan.

      If I’m crossing an avalanche slope, or sitting in a lifeboat waiting for rescue, a distress orange parka and lemon yellow pants sounds like a good idea.
      If I’m trying to hike from Point A to Point B unobtrusively, not so much.

  13. JD, good article. Keep up the good work,


  14. Virgil Caine

    you can find these smocks on Amazon. type MIL SPEC in the search box.
    all tools for the tool box. you can Chinese parliament all day about utility of this capability though there will be a time when it will be appropriate. Probably not in the early stages (as in now) though having one of these rolled up in the car in case you have an emergency.. whatever….wouldn’t hurt. and I like guys like MD. They hump a lot of shit…which I then…

  15. @ Praxis:And synthetics suck in the Appalachian briar thickets. They are full of holes on day three. POLYPRO melts, if it doesn’t fall apart first, Nylon just shreds and other than military cordura all the Nylon fabrics have the lifespan of butterflys Vs. the cove hardwood ecosystem. It works great if you have civilization nearby. But Nylon, Gortex and polypro all suck for long range survival where support/resupply is lacking. Climbers replace gear every season and rope and “beaners” more often than that if they “drop” often. If you are stuck in “TEOTWAWKI”, resupply is a luxury you just don’t have. I’ll take the old school gear that I KNOW will go the long haul of day in day out, use that can last months. Your stuff is made for a long weekend climbing half dome, or a one time climb above the death line. Not a year long combat tour, like the gear Dodge is advocating.

  16. I have an aircrew survival vest that is equiped with the absolute basics. Fire-starting materials, a couple heat packs, small thermal tent (mylar) with survival blanket. High calorie, low weight, low profile food tabs. Water treatment tabs. A good length of para-cord, because you can cut it, pull out the inner strings, and secure your emergency shelter. Also, get a couple “piddle-packs” from a small airport pilot’s store. Heavy-duty vinyl bag with a narrow neck, sometimes filled with dry, compressed sponges (which you can take out). Being in flight, can’t stop for a pee break, hence the use of the piddle-pack. Just don’t pee in these, use them as canteens. They’re usually good in pint or quart size. Fill other pockets with a small fixed-blade knife, a folding knife, first-aid stuff, just keep it as small as you can SURVIVE with. I can wear it under a sweater, windbreaker, or jacket. If you wear a larger outer coat, you can add more stuff to your other pockets in the coat/windbreaker/sweater as snivel gear. Low profile, low weight, highly customizable.

  17. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.

  18. Marlo Stanfield

    Burr! Re thinking Artic Operations from here in Hickory, NC. The normal jeans and big box store winter, last one season jacket doesn’t cut it in this came down from the Artic weather we have been having lately. Global warming my ass! 

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