Home Gear Camouflage Chuck Link's Vintage Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products Camouflage

Chuck Link’s Vintage Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products Camouflage

Chuck Link, of Paladin, Music City Hooters, Lightning Strike and KY / TN Stock Group, sent over these photos of some of his vintage Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products camouflage clothing items that are still in his collection.

Tags on inside of "Advisor Cut" Tiger Stripe jacket. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.
Tags on inside of “Advisor Cut” Tiger Stripe jacket. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

A couple years back Chuck sent a ton of his old paintball shirts and camos to me since he thought he wouldn’t be playing any more. But with the creation of KY / TN Stock Group by he and Robert Riemenschneider, Chuck has re kindled his love for paintball.

Front view of Chuck Links' Pursuit Products Realtree® pullover.
Front view of Chuck Links’ Pursuit Products Realtree® pullover.

Recently while digging around for wardrobes to wear in videos, I came across Chuck’s Lightning Strike Realtree Camouflage pullover and thought he might want it back.

Music City Hooters
Music City Hooters c.1990 at Masters. Chuck is pictures upper row right side a pair of Tiger Stripe jacket and pants and holding his Whipper Snapper mask with camo’d helmet combo.

Sure enough Chuck was excited by my offer and we talked a little about the camos that he and his various teams wore over the years. He also took a few more photos of camouflage clothing items he still owns, a few of which help offer insight on Vintage Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products made by Tim Schloss.

"Realtree®" logo incorporated into camouflage of pullover.
“Realtree®” logo incorporated into camouflage of Chuck’s pullover.

Chuck explained that the Realtree camo pullover he sent me was “actually a Pursuit Products jersey, [which was] Tim Schloss’ company after Tiger Stripe Products. Realtree camo became all the rage in the early to mid 90’s.” 
I’ve often wondered whether pullovers I’ve come across were genuine products from Tiger Stripe Products and Pursuit Products when they don’t have any branding on them and sure enough Chuck’s pull over lacked a Pursuit Products tag.

V Neck on genuine Pursuit Products Realtree pullover.
V Neck on genuine Pursuit Products’ Realtree pullover.

Chuck remembers receiving his set of Realtree camos from Pursuit Products, with a gift certificate he received as part of “the “Best Ref” award one year at the Splat-1 National Indoor Championships. I think it was like $150 to $200 worth of stuff. I got the jersey, pants, a carry bag (like a helmet bag), and a custom made Anorak parka, which I still have, unused/unworn.”

The Realtree camo pullovers were Lightning Strike’s first “official” team camouflage and Chuck thinks that the referee award was “probably 1994 or 96.”

Team Lightning Strike and Mid South Paintball Association (MSPA) patch on left shoulder of Realtree pullover.
Team Lightning Strike and Mid South Paintball Association (MSPA) patch on left shoulder of Realtree pullover.

Although Chuck wasn’t sure of the exact year, he remembers that the “All Americans won that year because they all came and shook my hand when I got the award from Randy [Baxter]. But According to Chuck, the “All American’s won several years on a row” so he wasn’t certain on the exact year he got the award.
“I was a head field ref the next year after ( head ref on one crew) so I wasn’t eligible for another award. They generally went to the regular refs in the trenches.

He recall that after the Splat 1 Indoor Championships he “ordered the Pursuit Products [Realtree camouflage pullover] jersey, pants, bag and anorak all at the same time. The tourney was always in February so probably ordered in March and I think it took a couple of months so maybe may I receivied in the order.”

Full front profile of Anorak all weather pull over.
Full front profile of Anorak all weather pull over. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

I hadn’t heard the term Anorak before, so Chuck clarified that Anorak was the term used for the typical hooded drawstring pullovers, with the velcro pouch on the front.
“Anorak is a type of garment [similar to a Pull Over]. The brand on this one is Pursuit Products but it only has a generic tag…I had it custom made by them….this item was not in their list of stuff they made.”

Full view of Anorak pullover with Tiger Stripe Camouflage pocket pulled out.
Full view of Anorak pullover with Tiger Stripe Camouflage pocket pulled out. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

Link was thinking that this Realtree anorak would work for using to play in bad weather but never ended up playing with it. He writes, “I had intended to use this when we had tourneys in wet weather but never did.”

Inner pocket of Anorak Parka with Tiger Stripe Lining.
Inner pocket of Anorak Parka with Tiger Stripe Lining. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

I asked if Pursuit Products added their logo to the pullover?
Link writes, “There are no other tags on it… BUT… it has a very telling Tim Schloss/TSP/PP feature…. the inside pouch pocket on the front.. the pocket itself on the inside is made from Tiger Stripe Products tiger camo.”

Inside tag on Anorak pull over. Pull over was made for Chuck by Tim Schloss' Pursuit Products. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.
Inside tag on Anorak pullover. This pullover was made for Chuck by Tim Schloss’ Pursuit Products. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

The Real Tree pants Chuck received used elastic cuffs at the bottom, “similar to renegades.”  Chuck mentions that he “wore the knees out” in the pants after a year or two. The realtree jersey he initially sent me remained in pretty decent shape, even after years of use though.

Chuck Link's original three pocket cotton twill jacket, in Advisor Cut.
Chuck Link’s original three pocket cotton twill jacket, in Advisor Cut. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

Another set of camos that Chuck held onto was an original set of Tim Schloss’ Tiger Stripe Camouflage.
Chuck details this uniform:
“I also have an original set of Tiger Stripe Products TS camo… this is the original three pocket cotton twill jacket and pants with the exposed flat buttons…not the later light weight rip stop with covered buttons….which I also have though. The cotton twill “advisor” cut as they called it is pretty rare to find these days…Hella expensive if you do. This set is barely used because I liked the lightweight rip stop to play in a lot better.”

Chuck's match Tiger Stripe Pants and inside of the Jacket.
Chuck’s matched Tiger Stripe Pants and inside of the Jacket. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

I’m pretty new to most camo identification and clothing terms so I asked Chuck to inform me on what the advisor cut referred to. He writes:
“The Jacket is “advisor” cut since there are only two pockets on the front upper chest (no lower BDU pockets like in later models and one tiny pocket on the upper arm/shoulder on the left side.”
Chuck then further explains the origin of the advisor terminology:
“”Advisor” referred to the US Army “advisors” sent to Vietnam in the early ’60’s to advise the South Vietnamese army on tactics to fight the growing Viet Cong rebels. The US advisors were some of the first to wear the Tiger Stripe camo….most of it was made in Vietnam for them. Characteristics of the early camo were exposed thin flat front buttons (later versions of US camo have rounded thicker more robust buttons that were covered by an outer flap on the pockets and jacket front….same on the pants).”

Camo tapped up helmet next to the camo Tiger Stripe Veil. Chuck purchased the camo tape and veil from I and I sports.
Camo tapped up helmet next to the camo Tiger Stripe Veil. Chuck purchased the camo tape and veil from I and I sports. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

Thinking more about the camo’s and gear that Paladin, Music City Hooters, and Lightning Strike wore, Chuck recalls two of Schloss’ products that aren’t as well known today.
“TSP also made 2 non clothing items that I had and would love to find again…but highly doubt they are able to be found….they made a mesh sniper veil in their tiger pattern and they made cloth rolls of tape in their pattern… both great items to camo up you stuff. I remember buying the tape and veil from I and I Sports.

Camo'd out with Tigerstripe camo tape. Camo tape has held up surprisingly well over the years!
Camo’d out with Tigerstripe camo tape. Camo tape has held up surprisingly well over the years! Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

He continues, “I used the veil as a scarf when I first got it… it was big…..and the tape I used to camo up some home made pods, and to cover my homemade helmet that I used with my early [JT GSX, JT Whipper Snapper Goggles] and Vents. Later, I cut up the veil and covered the helmet with it over the tape. This really broke up the sillouette of you head in the woods”

Chuck modeling the side profile of his camo helmet with a set of Tiger Stripes in them.
Chuck modeling the side profile of his camo helmet with a set of Whipper Snapers / GSX goggles in them. Camo pattern on helmet is Real Tree. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

I hadn’t closely examined photos of this helmet of Chuck’s before so I asked him for a little more history on it. He sent over some of the photos we’ve posted in his past articles and sure enough the camo helmet is in nearly every photo!

Front view of the Whipper Snapper / GSX goggles in the camo helmet. Chuck is modeling them.
Front view of the Whipper Snapper / GSX goggles in the camo helmet. Chuck is modeling them. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

I asked if these were originally motorcycle masks and Chuck explains:
“This [helmet] started as a kids Grand Prix style plastic racing helmet. We cut the bottom front out and then flipped the clear visor up and tacked it to to top to create the visor. We drilled holes it it to create air flow and keep it from being too hot and then camo’d it. This was Al Winfrey’s idea, [Al was] the captain of Paladin. He was a fan of the Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and got the idea from that….if there had not already been a team of that name.. that is what he wanted to call the team.”

In the photos above, Chuck is modeling one of these two masks with the Real Tree veil glued to it. He writes:
“The realtree mesh covered version with an old JT mask that shows how we wore them….strap could go outside bur was more secure around you’re head with the helmet over. We wore Terry cloth head bands underneath to combat fogging”

Paladin at 1989 Line SI Masters
Paladin at the 1989 Line SI Masters.

Chuck writes that, “If you look back closely at the paladin team photos you will see us with them on.” He identifies himself wearing the helmet in the front row:
“[Photo is] from 89 Master’s [where we played 15 man] wearing the TSP covered helmet. [I’m the] only one in the photo with my mask on down in front lol!”

Inside of Chuck Link's Camo'd helmet.
Inside of Chuck Link’s Camo’d helmet. Photo courtesy Chuck Link.

A photo from Chuck shoing the Inside of the helmet and foam stripe glued to the top for comfort.

Chuck Link at Slick Fox Adventure.
Chuck Link, with Thompson barrel Sniper 1, pictured in the Daily News of Bowling Green Kentucky. Paper scan is from dates April 25th, 1993.

Chuck also mentions the photo above, where he is wearing “the helmet with TSP tape AND Veil covering it….with Vents goggles.”

Giant thanks to Chuck for the photos and details in this article!

Find more articles on Chuck Link’s paintball history at:
https://paintballhistory.com/tag/chuck-link/

And more articles on camouflage relating to paintball history at:
https://paintballhistory.com/tag/camo/

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