If you’ve spent anytime on our blog or Facebook page, you know I’m a huge fan of Russian gear. After a great experience with the Partizan – M camouflage suit, I felt it best to check out what else the Russians had to offer. This is when I stumbled on a truly classic uniform, the Russian Gorka. The word Gorka translates to Mountain and it is designed as an oversuit for use in mountainous terrain where wind and rain are a common factor. It is made of strong canvas material that is not only breathable but almost nearly windproof, basically the best of both worlds.
The Russian Gorka originally showed up in the early 80’s during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and was mainly used by specialist troops such as the VDV, Spetsnaz, mountain troops and others . Since then it has grown in popularity and now there are many variations of the original design.
Some designs have the “kangaroo pouch” on the jacket while others have the typical pockets you would expect on a military issue jacket. Newer variations include camouflage inserts instead of the dark green inserts you typically see on the standard Gorka -3 and 4 suits.
After some research on the different types of Russian Gorka uniforms, I chose to go with the Gorka-3. This design doesn’t have the kangaroo pocket on the jacket, instead it has the usual two pockets you would expect on a typical BDU jacket. I was tempted to purchase a version with camouflage inserts , but after some thought, I decided to go with the basic two tone green pattern. The reason being is that sometimes it’s nice not to wear full on camouflage. The green pattern provides a broader range of use in situations where I might not want to attract attention wearing camouflage, but I still want to blend in with my surroundings.
Now let’s move on and get into the details of this suit, starting with the jacket. As is true of most Russian military jackets, there is a hood included which provides excellent protection from the elements and serves to break up the shape of the human head. The jacket is a button up front, making repairs easy and quick if a button happens to come loose. There are two pockets at the bottom of the jacket, each one with an extra layer of fabric that folds under the flap, giving extra security for anything you have in that pocket.
Each sleeve has two rows of elastic webbing, one above the wrist and one at the wrist. This helps to keep the sleeve “locked” into place, keep you warm and dry. I simply pull the sleeve over my gloves and it stays in that position. The webbing was a great idea that I would love to see incorporated in other designs. The sleeves also have a pocket on the upper arm, securable with a velcro flap. I prefer to carry my compass on my left arm pocket and a survival kit in the other.
The trousers follow the same pattern as the jacket, incorporating two rows of elastic webbing, one row in the mid calf area and another row at the ankle. As was true of the jacket sleeves, this webbing keeps your pants securely fastened around your boot, preventing any dirt or debris from getting down inside. There is a very roomy pocket on each upper leg with an extra layer of fabric that folds in nicely with the pocket flap, keeping the contents secure. Two pockets on the back are designed in the same fashion. The trouser fly is button up like the each pocket, once again making repair easy and quick when necessary.
Each set of Russian Gorka trousers come with suspenders which are removable if you choose not to use them. I chose to leave them off since I have a heavy duty Spec Ops belt that has no issue keeping them secure around my waist. If I decided to incorporate a belt kit, then the suspenders would come in quite handy.
The Russian Gorka at first glance seemed to be a great fit for my survival gear, however there was no way to really know until I fully tested it, so I jumped at the chance for a two day trip to the back country. The area I explored was mountainous and extremely windy with a bit of snow, perfect conditions to test the Gorka. After two days in the field, the Gorka was still dry and had no issues keeping me warm during the day or night. Even during a bungled water crossing, the Gorka still stayed dry, much to my surprise since I went into the water up my knees for a brief moment. The heavy added fabric on the lower legs did an excellent job of keeping the water out.
Now you may ask why I term this as an all season BDU. Well the answer is simple, during spring or summer, I simply have to remove the layers I wear during the cold season. I expect the Gorka will function fine with just a base layer under it, therefore the classification as an all season uniform.
If this blog post and all the awesome photos of the Gorka have got you itching to get one yourself, just click on the link below, we have more than a few in stock at our website. I see the Gorka as an excellent choice for the bushcraft guy or the military type. The Gorka provides features to make anyone happy with a price point that beats any other comparable BDU on the market.