by Kyle Gallinger, PCI #1280/EMSCI #277, Carleton University (ON) Department of Public Safety
Imagine ordering a uniform for everyone in your unit and having them all fit properly, even if they are 4’11” or 6’6”, 100 lbs or 300 lbs. Imagine also that same uniform being good-looking, functional and waterproof. It seems impossible, but after years of trying off-the-rack uniforms that just did not function well enough for Ottawa’s ever-changing climate, I was introduced to Cascade Wear Ltd.
Since 1992, Cascade Wear Ltd has been selling specialized Gore-Tex® Police/First Responder outerwear uniforms. The bicycle pants that we use are manufactured from Workwear grade, two-layer Gore-Tex® material, with a Taslan nylon face fabric. They have full length side zippers, two front cargo pockets with a hook and loop storm flap, and 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective pattern.
The jacket issued is the motor/traffic high visibility jacket (they also offer a bike jacket). It is comprised of two shell materials and a waterproof, moisture vapour permeable membrane that are laminated together. The jacket has a removable hood and side openings for access to equipment, and is printed with 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective designs. Lastly, the Bicycle G2 short with cargo pockets is manufactured from “Unique Plus” nylon fabric that eliminates the need for spandex. The uniforms come with a three year warranty against defects in workmanship and leakage.
Cascade Wear Ltd., clothing is manufactured in Canada, and in keeping with their sustainability policy, source their materials from North America to both ensure high quality and reduce the carbon footprint their uniforms generate.
Over the past three years, I have worn all of these items during our cycling season, which is from April to November or when less than 10 cm of snow is expected that day. They are the most professional-looking bike wear that I could find that meets the needs of our officers. The pants are well-fitting, and the only complaint I have ever heard is that there is no back pocket to keep your wallet; however, the shorts under the pants have pockets to spare. I have worn these uniforms on days when the wind and rain would not stop but they kept me warm and dry.
Ordering from Cascade does take more advanced planning than a lot of other uniforms because the items are made for you. Officers are sized using their handy form that explains what measurements are needed for the different parts of the uniform. The company then makes the clothing, including putting on the patches. This is especially handy to avoid having officers suffer the “ride up” factor while wearing shorts, or when purchasing for unusual proportions. This customization also makes it very easy to identify whose jacket is whose, as the person’s name is included on one of the labels inside the jacket.
The one complaint about Cascade Wear Ltd. is their website. While it does show their products and provide a lot of technical specifications, I don’t think it does their products justice. On the plus side, John Kidder, the Director of Sales and Marketing, is a pleasure to work with and is incredibly helpful while setting up your order.
Cascade Wear does not yet participate in the IPMBA Product Purchase Program.
Kyle is an IPMBA Police/EMS instructor and has been managing and/or on the bike unit at Carleton University since 2005. He is an equal opportunity cyclist, spending his time deciding if it is a road, hard-tail or all-mountain kind of day.
(c) 2014 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of IPMBA News.
Images courtesy Cascade Wear Ltd.