Publication of this review is a little delayed. We received Helikon-Tex ® PCU last December, but there has not been an opportunity to test it in the battlefield. So after a very wintry Talwisota game, we publish our findings on the Helikon’o PCU.
PCU is in our company’s mandatory accoutrements list. It is a short and fairly liberal, but it is good. This year S8 men by combining a mandatory outfit unexpectedly found Helikon produced PCU. We recently received one set, so this article will look at it.
Buying a PCU from Helikon’o straight will cost you ~140 EU. Kit is sold separately, the pants – third generation, the jacket – second.
HELIKON has made the PCU in a certain way, even though it does not mean it is wrong.
The material seems to be hydrophobic. However, it is hard to keep such features of such products, because the material is thin and worn all the time in contact to the body. In rain clothes begins to sop first in areas where it is in contact with the body or with another robe (in this case – vest). In order to fully protect against rain, it must be made out of a rubbery material, but this way it will be impervious to air and moisture from the inside.
Therefore the biggest pluses of such products are the perfect protection from wind and fast drying.
It is clearly visible texture of this PCU material. If Chinese copies had practically no clearly visible texture, here you can see the vertical stripes. It does not appear that they provide any material elasticity, probably, it’s just such a material weaving or some kind of rip-stop.
The color of PCU is correct. I’ve seen more than one interpretation of this PCU and I’d say Helikon is quite close to the right shade. They chose to use the RG tone somewhat thinned with green color.
ATTENTION: I want to draw your attention to the product color in the pictures. I took pictures at a greater distance with mcro and therefore product color looks greener than it should be. I noticed this after I returned the PCU to its owner. The correct color is seen in the first pictures where the owner himself is wearing PCU.
The first thing about the product the fact that it is fiddly. Although the product is not as fiddy as Hard Shell, but the Chinese copies looks lighter.
Secondly, what caught my eye – mounting platform for distinguishing marks on the front of the jacket. Two more platforms (without covers) for the identification markings you will find on both sides of the chest.
PCU is designed to wear under vests (chestrig, plate armor, soft armor, etc.) and there is no mounting platform for distinguishing marks on the original model PCU in order to prevent these elements rubing to the vest. Also, since it is a Special Operations Forces (SOF) seven layer Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) system, and is typically used in tasks and SOF does not like degree labeling, so I think this Helikon’o interpretation is completely unnecessary.
I think Helikon hastened to improve it…
I did not like the seams of this PCU. In this manner Helikon has sewn clothing a few years ago – crooked seams, the completion of the nodes is messy and the thread is often left out. There are parts where it looks like there has been sewn on the seam and re-sewn… And velcros… punched with the left hand.
I thought that Helikon has forgotten the practice of sewing like this, but I am unpleasantly surprised when confronted with it again …
Although, despite the terrible appearance, its made to look rugged – in some places there are locks to reinforce the material.
None of the PCU zipper is properly protected from moisture. They only use textile, but it’s more protection from the wind then rain. Aware of this, the manufacturer installed the fold of material with velcro fastening on the main zipper of the jacket. This saves the situation, but this is not the right way it should be made. Over time the protective rubber starts to peel off from the zippers (during cold weather in particular) of Chinese copies.
There is two pockets on the chest. It is undone easily to the bottom. Its lining is made of cellular material. The only difference that I noticed is that the pockets are made quite high. One would guess that Helikon is targeting the newer armor models that are produced with higher profile. Otherwise it would be difficult to reach.
Zipper mechanism seems strong, although it does not appear exceptional. We give a plus to Helikon for having bothered to paint it in the right color. The main zipper of the jacket is double – it can be ubuckled from the bottom too.
The jacket can be fastened not only with zip, but with velcro and metal clip. This clip will help to reinforce the zipper.
The size of the hood can be reduced with two rubber cords.
Identical plastic clips can be found at the bottom of the jacket. In order not to lose this little element, they are attached to the jacket with textile ribbon. The plastic ring on the rubber cord will prevent this part of sliding off. Ten points!
The inner mesh lining of the jacket (in some parts) and pants looks good. This mesh is significantly higher quality than in Chinese copies.
Please note that the jacket has underarm zippers. This is very useful when warmed wearing a vest. It usually helps to unbutton two side pockets, but they are not always the rescue. It was a pleasant surprise for us, big plus.
Cords on the zippers are sewn. This is a very practical. I have the copy where it is only tied on and I have already lost few.
On both sides of shoulders you will find two pockets with a zippers. It is quite big and it can be easily accessed while wearing a gloves. There is high quality velcro platform on each pocket. It seems that they are not only sewn but glued to the jacket too. These platforms has rounded corners, and is sewn at its edge. This will prevent the platform from damaging while changing the patches.
The material on the elbows is double. It is quite difficult to grasp. This has no effect on the construction of the jacket – this part is crease-free. The dual material begins at the elbow and goes as far as the wrist. This is double protection from moisture, which will benefit when crawling or shooting from prone position.
Cuffs is fastened with velcro straps. It could be a little wider I’d say…
This 98% nylon does all the dirty work – protects against the wind and harsh, when wet dries quickly. During Talwisota game guys were crawling under dense spruce and icy coppice. PCU was torn by branches and sharp icy snow edges, even during the game many thought this will fuck up the material of the clothing. But after all we were surprised to find that PCU has withstood these challenges very well.
Quite an interesting idea – but fulfillment poorly…
Please note that there is mounting loops for braces on the inner side of the pants.
There is wide and stretchy rubber on the back of the pants. It is unnecessary to tighten your pants very much since the rubber perfectly compensates for all movements.
This is a side opening of the waist. This part will help you easily put these pants on thermo clothing, to reach the lower trouser pockets or get cool after geting hot. This construction really helped me through the long night march in Pabrade. After geting hot I unbuckled it and felt comfortable during the rest of the mission.
The upper pockets of pants has mesh lining as well. The edges is strengthen with the sewn material folds.
The material on the knee is double. It’s really big double patch for better protection against moisture and abrasion. The edges of the patch has sewn pleats that helps the material to stretch and fold. PCU is very comfortable to wear with external knee pads. When knees gets wet after a long march the material dries in a few minutes.
Side pocket designed for quality – its capacious, with velcro, button and rubber cord fastening. I often miss such system on more cheaper pants …
It easily fits a small dog or a wife’s handbag :) I really liked that corners of the pocket cover is cut off – these corners are often curled, along with a pocket cover.
Bottom of the leg is reinforced with thick rubber material. Chinese and the original has it in black, and here – the proper shade of PCU. This patch is a continuous and seamless (in the middle) on the chinese version and the original. Helicon’s PCU version has its protective patch sewn on the material, but in Chinese copy and the original this is done vice versa (edges of the PCU material goes on the top of protective rubber). This way (when it goes under) water flowing from the surface of the pants does not get into seams… Helikon made it wrong.
Bottom of the pants is fasten with metal clips and zip. There is a velcro fastening on Chinese copy and the original version. It is inconvenient in the winter when velcro gets icy (sometimes it happens), but the velcro never rust and it can be replaced after it gets damaged… 5.11 Tactical solved this problem perfectly – combinet velcro and metal clips in one place.
Team mate has cought its pants in the bush during the game and this metal clip was riped out. There should be reduced posts in some ingenious ideas section…
As you can see, trouser legs has high fastening zippers on sides. These zips up to the knee. Very handy when you get hot, also easier to reach briefs pockets, or wading through water to tuck pants higher. These zippers is made from plastic and protected with textile covering.
There is a rubber sewn on the inner part of the leg, which gets good grip to shoe. It could be a little bit tighter, bearing in mind that there is only two metal clip fastening positions…
We will free you from the conclusions :)
The product is definitely a good, regardless of some improvements. Build quality is quite high. Materials are durable, high-quality, velcro should serve several seasons, and maybe longer. If bearded seams will not fall apart, this PCU will be very good and legal alternative to chinese copies and the original product.
The garment’s versatility is its biggest plus. Will it be a hot summer or cold winter, there is always an opportunity for you to put this clothing on. S8 men felt in loved with this PCU immediately – they wear it at missions and at free time.
It’s good that this product can be purchased easily and quickly. If you order from Helikon – you’ll get it in a couple of days.
If the manufacturer refuses certain decisions that are not really necessary, this could reduce the price of the product. For 140 EU is a little expensive, if you assess the quality-price ratio. I think the real price of the product should be based on the 100-120 EU.
Good luck brothers.