• Mike Frazer

Review : UF Pro Striker Boonie Hat (Gen 2)


Cost: £32.00 (UF Pro - 09/01/2022)


Why I bought this:

I have always been a fan of hats – they offer the ability to break up the outline of your head, can add a bit of camouflage and provide protection to the elements (be it sun, wind or rain).


In woodland / rural airsoft games, helmets can often be impractical with limited benefits. Baseball caps and beanies are good but ultimately a boonie hat is, in my opinion, one of the best options.


The other boonies I have previously used have been the classic “pork pie” style (short brim) and the Teesar Trilaminate (Waterproof) ones. I get hot when I am running around so I wanted something that was a bit more breathable and the UF Pro Striker has mesh panels to increase breathability.


Who are UF Pro? Based in Slovenia, they started as Uni&Forma in 1997 and building on years of experience then developed the UF Pro brand. Manufactured in Europe, the company focuses on building a quality brand - designing and making garments for military and law enforcement.


With the good reputation of the company, some other positive reviews on the internet and a reasonable price, I ordered two – one in the common MultiCam and one in SloCam (a sort of more green/woodland version of a MultiCam camouflage).

First impressions:

When the boonies arrived, they were packaged in individually branded UF Pro fabric bags. This was a nice touch as I believe that, whilst packaging generally gets disposed of, it adds to the quality initial feel of a product.



The boonies themselves are constructed in different materials depending on the camouflage but generally a blend of polyester/nylon and cotton. The top of the hat features two mesh panels – one at the front top and one at the rear on the side. Two closely spaced vegetation loops run around the whole diameter of the hat (just above the brim).


There are three velcro loop panels, one on the top and two smaller on the sides. The brim itself features ribbed stitching which feels soft but retains it’s shape. The front and back of the brim also include a flexible wire to allow you to mould the brim of the hat into any shape you prefer. There is a paracord retention cord for adjusting to your size and comfort of fit. Lastly, there is a mesh hidden admin panel in the top of the hat where you could keep a laminated map or other small flat objects.


An additional subtle feature is the mesh strip running around the inside of the hat, whilst not a main feature – I have noticed this aids the dissipation of sweat (and subsequently heat) from the head.


The hat feels to be made with quality materials and is light. It also easily compresses into a small ball which is great for storage when not in use.

Functionality:

The boonie works great as a boonie, and the vegetation loops allow for the easy addition of vegetation to help breakup the outline of the head.


Whilst the hat provides no protection against the rain, the mesh panels and brim provide protection from the sun and allows airflow to your head. The mesh works well although I have previously seen some other hats which are completely mesh on top which I assume would be more breathable.


The adjustment and size is good and fits snugly with the option to adjust as required.


The boonies come in Flecktarn, PenCott™ GreenZone, MultiCam®, Brown Grey and SloCam however it would have been nice to have one in a more traditional woodland (DPM / US Woodland) – however, UF Pro’s target market does not appear to include weekend warrior airsofters, so would likely focus on camouflage patterns suited to serving forces and their clientele.


Positives:

The hat feels soft and comfortable. The materials and stitching feel like good quality.


The boonie does exactly what you would expect with some additional functionality in the addition of the mesh pocket and velcro loop panels.


Can be compacted to put in a pouch or pocket as required.


The wire in the brim is great to maintain the shape of the boonie when placed on your head.

Negatives:

This product carries a higher price tag than you would expect for a typical boonie, however when you look at the presentation, the materials, functionality and quality – I don’t believe that the price tag is unreasonable.


Clearly, UF Pro know their market – however if I was pushed to come up with a criticism, I believe that it would be advantageous if it came in more camo patterns. It is currently available in the following: Flecktarn, PenCott™ GreenZone, MiltiCam®, Brown Grey and SloCam.



Summary:

In summary, the UF Pro Striker Boonie Hat (Gen 2) is a great boonie. Whilst there may be cheaper alternatives out there, the boonie is clearly thought through and made for professionals.

Scoring:

Functionality: 5/5

Value: 4/5

Quality: 5/5

MilSim Value: 5/5


Overall:


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