Words and pics: Rich Norman
I always envisaged that this would be a two part review. Part one would be a sterile, descriptive exercise. Part two would recount my experience with the Compact Assault Ghillie in use, focussing on robustness.
Then I got to thinking just how uninformative it would be if I said I’d ripped the ghillie, when most people are absolutely crystal clear prior to buying the item that it is not the most robust solution.
Instead, I think part two will focus more on how well the ghillie works in practice – if I can get suitable pics and opinions from observers.
Make no mistake, what Crye has served up here is like an ‘instant’ ghillie. If you compare the traditional viper hood to a three course meal, the Crye product is like a Pot Noodle. It’s not as tasty and nourishing, but it is highly portable and easy to prepare.
The Assault Ghillie packs down small and stows in its own ventilated, stretch ditty bag. Stowed in this way, the item is about the size of two tennis balls.
The ditty bag – impressive in itself – is MOLLE compatible and included in the package. I’m actually surprised Crye has gone to so much effort with an ancillary and it’s good to see.
There’s no threading of foliage or other upkeep. You simply deploy the ghillie – which is Multicam – and wear it. It’s that simple.
Its construction is also simple. It’s composed of a ripstop nylon, which feels like some kind of light softshell – but without palpable stretch.
The area which comes into contact with your body is lined with a fine polyester mesh, which allows some stand-off between whatever you’re wearing underneath and the ghillie’s outer shell – presumably for ventilation and to stop perspiration wetting it out.
It clearly works, as the ghillie feels light and airy when worn; the laser cut slits enabling massive airflow.
The laser cut slits are also the structures which disrupt your outline – disruption being the true mechanism of camouflage.
The slits are actually all regular in shape – which is deceptive, because the ghillie does a good job of conveying irregularity: breaking up the outlines of people and gear with physical ‘noise’.
It’s not going to be as effective as a full ghillie – especially not one built by an expert – but for a packable, highly mobile, breathable offering it’s pretty hard to beat.
The ghillie is composed of two components which I’ll call the half jacket and cape.
The half jacket, a bit like Crye’s insulated Halfjak, covers the shoulders and upper arms only. This is the part which is mesh lined. It can be donned and doffed like a jacket, while wearing full kit.
It fastens at the neck using two toggles (the same as those used in the JPC 2.0 e-doff system). Because the half jacket does not extend far past the biceps, there’s little chance of it getting tangled while manipulating a weapon, or with anything else your hands may be doing.
The half jacket’s hood can be worn up or down. It is large enough to subsume a helmet and is adjustable via a cord lock.
Interestingly, there’s a hook at the front of the half jacket which I am guessing helps stop it from riding up. Presumably the hook attaches to your PC. There’s also a branded hanging tape.
A removable cape fastens to the rear of half jacket, using buttons. The cape lacks the mesh lining of the half jacket.
I doubt I’ll get much use out of the cape, but it’s a double-layer item – the outer layer of which can be folded over the hood to form a veil, or cover binoculars.
Alternatively the cape can be detached and used to disguise static gear or a rifle.
Sizing is consistent with Crye’s other gear and the size chart is here.
For what Crye set out to do – provide a light, high speed, breathable, packable ghillie for assaulters – the Compact Assault Ghillie ticks all the boxes.