Is Your Body Armor Kit Ready For Hot Summer Months?
Body Armor for Hot Climates
While a full body armor kit can be great idea on paper, hot summer months can quickly change your plans. Having worn a fully outfitted plate carrier with body armor myself in 114 degrees, I can tell you that “essential” gear gets redefined and optimized fairly quick. That said, building your body armor kit and tactical gear setup around your environment/climate should be a major consideration. It doesn’t do you any good to be outfitted like a juggernaut, only to suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration. So what are your options? The easiest approach is to have multiple body armor kits so that way you can plan for rapid changes to different situations. But what if you don’t have the means to buy multiple plates carriers and sets of body armor? Carefully weighing the tactical gear you buy can help you make the most of a limited budget.
Choosing Between Comfort & Coverage
Buying the right tactical gear the first time can be a challenge, even for those people familiar with plate carriers and body armor. Having a piece of equipment that serves multiple purposes/functions is ideal, but not always the most realistic. Thankfully plate carriers have come a long way over the years. Take for example the cummerbund of a plate carrier. While a cummerbund can help with stabilizing the plate carrier during movement, it tends to be less ideal in 100+ degree temperatures as it prevents a fair amount of body heat ventilation. You could go the route of buying a backup plate carrier such as our Hydra lightweight carrier (also available in an XL version) or our Tactical Response Kit, both of which do not have a sewn-in cummerbund. The other option would be to buy a slightly more expensive plate carrier that offers more flexibility. For example, we offer multiple plate carriers that feature removeable cummerbunds: Achilles, Leonidas Legend, Leonidas Gen 1 and the Shellback Tactical Banshee plate carrier. This allows you to quickly reconfigure your kit by removing the cummerbund as necessity dictates. This can be a great option for Police, Sherriff, Border Patrol, Security Guards and other first responders that wear body armor for extended periods of time.
Sometimes a simple accessory can make a world of difference. Take for example the 221B Maxx Dri Vest 3.0, which was designed by a Police Officer to increase ventilation of body armor vests. The Maxx Dri Vest creates a space between your body and plate carrier or wraparound vest, thus allowing air to circulate. This helps keep body heat down while still allowing you to wear your vest or plate carrier nice and snug. Along those same lines, we also carry the 221B Phantom plate carrier which also utilizes a high ventilation construction to allow maximum breathability. Another option is to choose a high quality plate carrier such as our Leonidas Legend which features padded stand-offs on the inside of the carrier to allow air to circulate between the padding and your back.
Lightweight Body Armor Plates
When you buy body armor plates, you have an immediate opportunity to make your kit more bearable during the summer months. Lightweight body armor plates provide an immediate benefit by reducing the amount of energy that your body needs to generate during movement. This waste byproduct of generating energy is heat. By choosing lightweight body armor plates you can see a significant reduction in heat, thus reducing the chances for exhaustion or dehydration. At just 3.5 pound per plate, the Elaphros level III plate is our lightest rifle rated body armor and is NIJ Certified. Our Ares Level IV ceramic plate provides protection against armor piercing .30-06 M2AP while weighing in at just 6.1 lbs per plate. If you don’t need rifle rated protection, our level IIIA body armor provides a lot of lightweight options with most IIIA panels weighing about one pound or less while still protecting against rounds up to .44 MAG and .357 SIG.
Heat is a serious issue for many people when it comes to body armor, but don’t sweat it, we’ve got cool gear to keep you…cool. Thankfully there’s a number of ways to beat the heat when selecting your body armor, plate carrier and tactical gear. You can go the route of keeping multiple mission-specific body armor kits or you can try to make do with a versatile plate carrier that allows for maximum customization. Additionally, there are accessories and body armor plate options that will help increase ventilation and reduce the amount of weight on your shoulders. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’re happy to answer any body armor questions you might have.
Stay prepared. Stay protected.
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