Max Grip Gloves Evolve
To Meet Marine Corps Needs
Max Grip Gloves have been selected
for the Marine Corps’ Flame
Resistant Organizational Gear
(FROG) program. Developed and
produced by CamelBak-Southwest
Motorsports, Petaluma, Calif., the
gloves provide durable flame protection to Marines in combat, with
finger and hand dexterity that
enables them to perform any task —
even handling the smallest objects.
is delivering 38,000 pairs of Max
Grip Gloves to meet immediate
Marine Corps needs. The company
also has an contract for 60,000
pairs modified to meet the
Marines’ requirements for a shell
to fit the Combat Utility Glove,
with delivery beginning in March.
The Max Grip Glove was developed
in 1998 as a more durable flight
glove for the Special Operations aviation community. In 2004, the glove
received Naval Air Systems Command’s approval for use as an alternative to the current standard-issue
flight glove for the Navy and Marine
Corps. In 2006, CamelBak adapted
the glove for the FROG program.
WHO’S IN CHARGE:
Martina Hutchinson, CamelBak vice
president of Protection Products,
was the founder and president of
Southwest Motorsports, which has
supplied all branches of the military
with form-fitting gloves since 1994.
In 2006, Southwest Motorsports was
acquired by CamelBak.
We used to have a racing engine business, and some Air Force
members saw the gloves we were using to work on the engines in
our shop. We went to the Air Force and asked them if the gloves were
something they really could use. They said, ‘Well, we could, but you’d
have to change this and that.’ That was in 1994.
We don’t actually develop products in our lab or at a drawing board; we
go out and meet with the customers. We climb through their helicopters
and take a look at what they’re touching, what they do with gloves on. The
more protection you build into a glove, you always lose a little dexterity.
We try to provide that perfect balance.
FRP2 gloves are the standard glove in the military, and are normally
issued to aviators. They were designed about 50 years ago to be used in the
cockpit. But a lot of people are using them for things they weren’t designed
for. They’ve taken them into sand, dirt, water, oil, and clearly they were
never meant to hold up to that.
Our design enables soldiers and Marines to have the feel of a bare finger, without cutting off the fingertip, like you see so many of them doing.
If you cut that off, you expose skin and you’re more vulnerable.
The Marine Corps noticed that a lot of Marines were purchasing their own
gear, and that they didn’t necessarily understand the level of protection needed
in today’s combat environment. That’s really what drove the Marine Corps in
2006 to initiate the FROG program. The intent was to issue the Marines an
ensemble they can wear, and our gloves were selected as a part of it.
Southwest Motorsports has name recognition with soldiers and Marines.
For a year or two we’ll keep the hyphenated name [CamelBak-